NEIGHBORCARE NEWS #40 SEPTEMBER '08

"No service is too small when given mindfully, with good intention and an open heart."

Peter Diamond
Harborside, ME

WHY I DO THIS: I look at service as a way of life.  It makes working feel good..



DEAR NEIGHBORCARE FRIENDS: And then there is the story of Joggi the porcupine and Gamiel the raccoon. Joggi has no friends. Gamiel is wounded. No one responds to Gamiel when he calls out—no one but  Joggi. The tenderness Joggi extends to Gamiel, the gratefulness of Gamiel for Joggi caring for him day by day in simple ways, is a wonder to read. Joggi knows Gamiel’s strength will give out. He knows he will be alone again. Yet he stays with Gamiel. In a world that moves so fast, buzzes so loud, this deep and abiding steadfastness, this refusal to turn away from impending sorrow is—as with all poignancy—beauty for our times.

NEIGHBORCARE NEWS   Often when dear ones are ill the very help that carries them wearies them as well, due to logistics. Recently, one wise woman, abundantly supported, left lists and sign up notes on her door so she would not (during those times she especially needed rest) have to consult in person, regarding every detail. This worked out well for everyone.

A woman needing daily rides to Bangor for radiation treatments, over several weeks, is fortunate that one or two people scheduled her rides for her so that in the midst of her challenges she didn’t have to do that. WHICH REMINDS ME. We need drivers. We need drivers like folks crossing deserts need water. We need drivers more than we need tidiers, which we need more than. . .  

The healthcare gap is packed. Those who require us most often live beyond our immediate circle of friends and family They feel the gap expand exponentially in proportion to the increasing lack of healthcare coverage—and in proportion, sadly, to our own overwhelm. Even so, may we scramble to revamp priorities. May we gladly assume more than our share. May we ask ourselves what we can let go of—this question, even if we’re already letting go and helping . We help to the point of breaking up, ourselves.

In advance, thank you, thank you,  for not setting boundaries to protect yourself. Thank you for knowing you are powerful enough, in every situation—in every moment—to assess requests for your time and assistance. (This okay. This not okay. No boundaries required.) Thank you for knowing, in the sacred chamber of your heart, the only true sanctuary we have is how we care for one another, despite our lack of respite. (Awhile back a NEIGHBORCARE  friend was hobbled by a broken ankle. She told me: “Now I know what it means to feel helpless.)

At some time in our lives, each of us (and/or those we hold dear) likely will find ourselves isolated by place or circumstance from friends and family who always have been our angels. In that moment, it is a busy stranger who will choose whether or not to help us.  

None of us is safe in the way we deserve or long to be—none of us. Feeling the depth of someone else’s distress before we experience a similar circumstance—and then living and acting accordingly—is a saving grace. What a legacy for our children and grandchildren—for them to see us doing that. What a legacy for them to be doing that with us—to come to know in their bones we are each other. Say I am you said the poet Rumi.

While I’m at it . . . We need legal and medical advocates for people who have no family. Folks need help when they’re’ meeting with their doctors and when they’re in the hospital. We need folks to help people with billing and taxes. Imagine you’re in your eighties, trying (when already there’s so little time to ask questions) to sort out a claim or doctor’s diagnosis. Then imagine that even arranging your shopping list and sorting your medications are becoming increasingly difficult challenges. It isn’t only the elderly who feel these stresses. Whatever your age, think of a time you were very ill and trying to cope. What a boon to have a kind someone sit by you and help you work things through.

To offer rides/tidying/anything else: Brooksville/Harborside, call Jeanne Gaudette ---326-4735; Deer Isle/Stonington, call Anne Williams—367-5823. Everywhere else on the peninsula, call maggie davis---266-7673). Your help does great good.

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been a few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. – Viktor Frankl

REMINDER  Activist Alice Paul and her fervent supporters suffered horrifying physical abuse so that women would no longer be denied their right to vote. These days when elections are won and lost by a few ballots, voting rights of all of us continue to be assailed. Do vote! And if you plan to be out of town on election day, remember to request your absentee ballot.

Oh, lucky beyond most human beings is the refined and well-brought-up person who comes upon an utterly unfamiliar island flat in the middle of his fate line, and who is bold and crazy enough to defy the almost overwhelming chorus of complacency and inertia and other people’s ideas and to follow the single, fresh, living voice of his own destiny, which at the crucial moment speaks aloud to him and tells him to come on.”    – Katharine Butler Hathaway The Little Locksmith: A Memoir

FROM THE KITCHEN  For those who love pancakes but can’t handle the wheat and gluten, try either Namaste or Arrowhead Mills wheat and gluten free pancake mix. Yes, mixes, but what deliciousness!  I use two eggs, not one, add a tablespoon of melted coconut oil, and cinnamon. Then comes the almond milk (instead of water) and as much mix as suits me regarding consistency. Sometimes I add fruit. I let the mix sit a bit till it gets spongy. Instead of maple syrup, I pour on no-fat Kefir and add a dollop of St. Dalfour’s Black Raspberry jam.

IN CELEBRATION  Do see this video celebrating a father’s love. The four minutes and sixteen seconds you spend will thrill you—guaranteed. I think how my body feels when I watch. I know my uplift makes its way into the world, somehow, for good. Millions chose to see the video (before the copyright was pulled). Now thousands are watching again. The film depicts the deep love most yearn for.
 
FROM THE NOT-A-DOCTOR  Go here to read of the astounding protection and relief the herb/spice turmeric offers, everything from relief from rheumatoid arthritis to cardiovascular protection to Alzheimer prevention. The list goes on. Don’t miss this! (Add plenty of turmeric to your fall and winter soups.)

CARING IN REMEMBERED WAYS Think of it: a person in bed is a captive instrument, played by everyone who examines, who treats, who visits, who delivers. We cannot be careful enough how we enter the room of a person who's confined there. That person is vulnerable—like the princess feeling the pea, in the fairytale. Just because we cannot feel the pea or see it, doesn't mean it does not exist.

A person's level of energy might be lower than the fervor of goodwill we are feeling. What people can withstand when they are well may feel overwhelming to them if they are not well....

One person coming by may act too coolly. Another bursts in and talks too loudly or too much—this, when a pin, dropping, feels like a mortar blast. If we are agitated, agitation is what the person in our care will experience. Dark moods, too, are harmful.

Hot red can inflame a person already burning with fever; it can also lift a person out of tedium. Cool blue can sadden a person suffering from depression; it can also calm someone down. A dress brash with flowers can make a dizzy person dizzier; it also can be cheering. Strong perfume may smell like chemicals....

People may not be able to hear clearly every word we are saying, but this does not mean they are insensitive to all sounds. The lively conversation we enjoy with a friend may sound like nails on a blackboard to a person who can't escape from it. In contrast, a droning conversation can drag a person down. To some who are most vulnerable, the slight crackling of a paper bag sounds like an explosion. The drip from a faucet can cause distress; so can logs being dropped too loudly on the woodpile. Jangling jewelry might be felt as a storm of noise. A shrill laugh from even the nicest person can be jarring to those who live in a gossamer world. (from Caring in Remembered Ways)
 
HONORING THE VOICELESS What follows is a story of respect, ritual, healing and the power of water, shared by a NEIGHBORCARE friend. The story is testament that the simple act of feeding our pets can be a sacred act. It tells of a woman’s beloved sixteen-year-old cat, Lily, whose kidneys are failing. The cat refuses medication, water, as well as riding in the car to see the vet.

Each morning at dawn as is her custom, the woman prays at her meditation altar, offering eight tiny bowls of water. One twilight, after praying for guidance that morning (regarding what to do for Lily) but before, at dusk, emptying the bowls of water into her plant-watering pitcher, the phone rings, the woman answers it and, during the time she’s speaking to her caller, Lily respectfully approaches the tray and laps water from each bowl till all are empty.

Now, each day, the woman orchestrates the same ritual. In the morning, she sets the bowls of water out in front of the altar. In the evening, Lily laps the bowls dry. Lily is, by now, at least twenty-years-old.
 
TWO MEDITATIONS 1)The wild rugosa rose flourishes on our Maine coast. The sight and scent of this rose wakes in me a music I try to capture in words but never can be spoken of well enough, only known in the silence of the heart. In prayers, now, I bypass words completely, wrapping roses around who or what I picture in my mind that sorely needs healing. 2)Prophecy from elders all over the world reminds us it is our hearts that will save us in these strong times. Nothing else can protect us. What better practice then, than to meditate upon scenes that make our hearts leap. First we must notice these “courages,” these connections, these true carings and deep strivings toward good. Doing this, we make albums in our minds we can turn to anytime to fine tune ourselves and keep our hearts supple.
The heart does not suffer from the same restlessness as the mind. That is why, when we think with our hearts we find simplicity and clarity.  — Julian Barnard/Patterns of Life Force
 
LIVING QUESTIONS  You are late to catch a plane that will be flying you to an award dinner celebrating your life. On your drive to the airport your car, which you are driving, hits a squirrel (or a skunk, or a deer, or a dog), which lies hurt in the road, maybe dying. Do you stop, even if you know you’ll miss your plane? If you do stop, does it make a difference what you hit? In other words, would you stop for a hurt dog but not a hurt squirrel? Would it make a difference if someone were with you to see what’d you’d do? Would your stopping depend on whether or not you thought the animal was dying? If you didn’t stop, would you take the time to call for help?

 

A NEIGHBORCARE “MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK” POTLUCK took place in the home of Ann and Nat Barrows in Stonington on Tuesday, September 23rd. Several of us shared fine food and talk and addressed neighborcare  newsletters. We’ll continue to move the potluck to various peninsula locations.

Not necessarily the same people will be gathering each time.
PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU’D LIKE TO JOIN IN.
maggiesdavis@gmail.com (207) 266-7673

'The Spirit of Guidance has come out of nowhere, disturbed the air, then quickly disappeared...leaving the door to your heart slightly ajar. And before you know it, the moment in its ripeness has swallowed you whole...''
—source unknown



Blessings all around you—this fall and in every season,
maggie davis, for NEIGHBORCARE

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maggie davis
207.266.7673
PO Box 370, Blue Hill, ME 04614-0370
e-mail: maggiesdavis@gmail.com



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