The Power of We — a celebration of people working together to make a positive difference in the world, either for their own communities or for people they will never meet half way around the world. Blog Action Day brings together bloggers from different countries, interests and languages to blog about one important global topic on the same day.
For those of you who are taking care of a loved one who is ill, due to aging or illness, my post is written to encourage you to ask for support and build a community, a lifesaver to help hold you up until you can do it on your own again.
I’m asking you to believe in the power of we, that building a community around you will carry you in ways you cannot imagine. My blog post is a personal example of individuals creating a community of caring, not to make a significant social or economic change, but an emotional and perhaps spiritual change in life.
I was part of a virtual circle of support for someone who was gravely ill. Many of us suggested they use CaringBridge* to make it easier to provide updates to all of us – or that’s what we thought the benefit would be.
Witnessing the power of we (I am only quoting examples of what the two of us wrote, to protect privacy of others involved.):
- Moving On
“There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something, tomorrow.” ~Orison Sweet Marden
People posted according to many different healing and faith belief systems. We happily opened our minds to believe that all ideas were welcomed here.
This quote at right I posted when we weren’t sure if she would shine again. I believed the energy from all of us would help her break through those clouds to shine.
So is that healing for my friend, or faith and healing for me? Yes. Both.
Particularly early in one’s illness, it’s difficult to be grateful for anything. But with a community around you, even a virtual one to complement the one that is with you and nearby, you’ll be gently reminded of what you can be grateful for.
As one person would write about gratitude, the gratitude wave caught on and ebbed and flowed through the community, with many inspiring posts.
“On this day – the fourth of July when the country is celebrating, we, too, are celebrating the love you have for each other; the support surrounding each of you as you travel this difficult journey; the caring that is being sent your way to help you travel this road. Take one small step at a time – celebrate the positives- we are traveling with you in spirit -”
Imagine being on the receiving end of thousands of posts from your virtual community. Not ones to answer, but just to take in as support.
A singular focus.
Once the diagnosis was made, there were posts about similar experiences, suggestions, paths to follow, web site links to educate and so forth.
And education for all of us, about what was happening, what was true or not true. When a particular part of her body was not functioning the way it needed to, we were invited to focus our prayers, rays of hope, quotes, inspiration, good thoughts and healing powers that part of the body.
Asking for help, very specifically. The body had no option but to listen to the power of we!
Music is my oasis. So many song lyrics remind me of you all these days. Today’s are from Cris Williamson’s “Waterfall.” ” I’ve been dreaming in the sun; won’t you wake me up someone ; I need a little piece of mind. Wake me from this dream that I have dreamed so many times; I need a little piece of mind. Oh, I need a little piece of mind.”
Sometimes we don’t need advice. We need inspiration or soothing words. One creative person wrote poems. I posted quotes, music lyrics or just my own words to inspire, sometimes for the one who was ill; sometimes for the partner and caregiver.
New definitions of ‘what is.’ New reasons to laugh. New lovely traits. New things “we know.” New strength each day. New perspectives, new ways to get through the days, to share, and to be. A precious time.
One step at a time
An illness often goes on for weeks or months. Your community members may shift a bit. Some are best at being there during the initial crisis and then slow down. Others are afraid perhaps of the crisis, but show up after, when a steady stream of support is needed.
Cherish both because each will help you move on to the next day, or the next medical complication to wrestle with, or onto rehab or to home.
Moving on becomes a series of small steps, taken a day at a time, so the journey doesn’t feel quite as overwhelming and you keep up your energy.
Think phases, steps or chapters of time and you’ll feel less overwhelmed.
You are, together, a beautiful model of mindful care-giving and friendship, as you shift into your new roles. Congratulations to all of you on a significant step forward on your journey of hope and recovery. All my best for another good day today.
… the roller coaster metaphor – sometimes one has to take a step back to gain the momentum for the continued journey forward – like a sprinter who leans on the back foot just before running as quickly as possible to the finish line – - for you – the finish line is a return to a healthy form – keep running for the finish line – we are all pushing and routing for you and sending lots of love and positive energy so you can both finish the race victoriously -
The power of we: We could read it. We could feel it in the energy as we read other people’s posts. We could see it once we were able to visit our friend again.
And importantly, we have this with us in our hearts forever.
I imagine many of us, strangers before this, are still processing and embracing the impact of this experience. After your crisis is settled a bit, ask your friends and support system how they experienced all of it; you may be surprised at the good you did for others, even as you slogged through a difficult time.
And sometimes, that’s a gift on its own.
What lies behind us and what lies before us
are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Resource: *According to the CaringBridge website: “Think of us as an online space where you can connect, share and receive support – kind of like a personalized “caring” social network. Thanks to those who donate, we are available 24/7 to anyone, anywhere at no cost. We offer: CaringBridge Sites,Our personal, protected sites make it easy to post health updates during any type of health event. Family and friends visit the site to stay informed and leave supportive messages, and SupportPlanner. Our SupportPlanner is a calendar that helps family and friends coordinate care and organize helpful tasks, such as bringing a meal, taking care of pets and other needs.