EVEN WHEN IT CAN BE FOUND AND DEFINED IN THE DICTIONARY
doesn’t mean that it can ever be fully
u n d e r s t o o d
may be one of those words
Who Cares - What Matters
EVEN WHEN IT CAN BE FOUND AND DEFINED IN THE DICTIONARY
doesn’t mean that it can ever be fully
u n d e r s t o o d
may be one of those words
Lots of people don’t watch TV|
Lots of people do. . .
Lots of people don’t watch
THIS IS US
Lots of people DO. . .
Some 4.97 Million watched this past Tuesday night
THE NEXT TO THE LAST SHOW
that had lots of
m o m e n t s
as we watched the matriarch, Rebecca Pearson
literally actively die in front of us
and what lots of hospice folks
as a patient dies
and what they may be actually
as they slip from this world
to the Great Whatever
lies beyond a last breath here
and a first breath
T H E R E
Nearly twenty-eight years of being a hospice chaplain has put me beside a lot of death beds of where I have companioned the dying and their loved ones. I applaud the writers and the actors for pulling back the curtain and giving us a fairly realistic look at what THAT moment looks like. . .a moment each one or us will experience, without all of the lights, cameras, action settings but in a more real, intimate, personal way because all of the evidence-based data shares the irrefutable:
ONE OUT OF ONE OF US DIES
And here’s where This Is Us Season 6, Episode 17 from this past Tuesday picks up. After a long battle with Alzheimer’s, Rebecca (Mandy Moore) passed, and the way her family told her goodbye was beautiful. Viewers were taken inside Rebecca’s psyche (literally) as she approached death. For her, this manifested in the form of a moving train. Rebecca was young on the train, and the passengers were people in her life, past and present. Meanwhile, in real life, as Rebecca’s family said their final goodbyes, they appeared on the train. And the person leading her through this experience (a.k.a the conductor on the train) was William (Ron Cephas Jones).
At the end of the episode, after the family members have said their last words to Rebecca, she reaches the train’s caboose. “This is quite sad, isn’t it?” she asks William. “The end?”
To this, William gives a beautiful, stunning speech to Rebecca. These are the last words she hears before going into the caboose (before she passes away). Read them in full, below:
“The way I see it, if something makes you sad when it ends, it must have been pretty wonderful when it was happening. Truth be told, I always felt it a bit lazy to just think of the world as sad, because so much of it is. Because everything ends. Everything dies. But if you step back, if you step back and look at the whole picture, if you’re brave enough to allow yourself the gift of a really wide perspective, if you do that, you’ll see that the end is not sad, Rebecca. It’s just the start of the next incredibly beautiful thing.”
With this, Rebecca hugs William and goes into the caboose, where a bed is waiting for. She lies down, and next to her is Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), reuniting the couple after decades of separation.
William’s speech epitomizes that moment—and it epitomizes This Is Us in general. If the show has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is forever. Any sadness or loss we saw the Pearsons experience in the present was always followed by a flash-forward, where we saw them happy, thriving, and doing just fine. Each storyline has shown us that no chapter is forever—the good ones end, and so do the bad ones. Life keeps moving, and we move with it. It’s a comforting message for anyone experiencing a hard time. Chapters always, always come to a close. The great poet Robert Frost once said, “ALL I KNOW ABOUT LIFE CAN BE SUMMED UP IN THREE WORDS: IT GOES ON!
It’s something Chris Sullivan (Toby) told NBC Insider when talking about the legacy of This Is Us. “From the first episode, they show you tragedy and pain, but they also shoot you into the future and show you, ‘Oh, this family’s OK,'” he said. “We jump back and forth and see, ‘Oh my gosh, this father died in a fire.’ Then, we jump forward and see, ‘Oh, this family’s OK.’ Tragedy and joy are held in both hands…Everything cycles around.”
Yes, it does. The series finale of This Is Us airs Tuesday, May 24 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
Hey. . .it’s just TV, right. . .
YUP. Yeah, it is. . .until it isn’t
THIS IS US
ALL OF US
“If something makes you sad when it ends, it must have been pretty wonderful when it was happening”… and with that, one last car. The caboose.
This Is Us
(Now about THAT towel)
It’s hard to believe that the song
by Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead
is over 50 years old
and yet still causes
harder still to believe all of the
that still lie within you to
C A U S E
uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. . .
WAIT NO LONGER
In our over-stressed world, many health care providers, social workers, and caregivers are suffering from slow yet painful burnout. Many of the rest of us, working long hours and raising families, seem to be approaching burnout, too. Sometimes we may feel that we’re too exhausted to keep giving to others, even though giving is a primary source of happiness in our lives.
So how can we keep giving without burning out? We’re told that self-care is the answer: Give yourself a treat; you deserve it. Take some time for yourself. Say no.
Indeed, a research review found that psychologists in training who practice more self-care report feeling less distressed and stressed and more satisfied with life. The question is: What does self-care look like, and how much of it do we need?
As it turns out, the trick is to be other-focused and kind, but to balance that with taking care of yourself as well. Here are some practices to help you do that.
One particularly potent form of self-care involves transforming our relationship with ourselves—in particular, practicing self-compassion.
Self-compassion is treating yourself as you would a friend—with kindness rather than self-judgment—especially at times when you fail. Self-compassion is remembering that we all make mistakes, instead of beating ourselves up. And it means being mindful of emotions and thoughts without getting overly immersed in them. Self-compassion doesn’t mean being indulgent or letting yourself off the hook, but it also doesn’t mean being overly self-critical and harsh.
Elaine Beaumont at the University of Salford has conducted numerous studies looking at the impact of self-compassion on burnout and compassion fatigue. In a study of 100 student midwives—who routinely see both the miracle of new life and the tragedies that can accompany childbirth—Beaumont and her team found that midwives who had higher levels of self-compassion also showed less burnout and compassion fatigue symptoms. The opposite was true of midwives who were highly self-critical. She repeated this study with different caretaker professions and found similar results in nurses and students training to be counselors and psychotherapists.
In addition to being protected against burnout, people who are more self-compassionate tend to report feeling less stress and negative emotions. They’re also more optimistic and feel more happiness and other positive emotions, among other benefits.
To practice self-compassion, try some of the exercises that pioneering self-compassion researcher Kristin Neff has studied and written about in her book on self-compassion, such as writing a Self-Compassionate Letter, taking a Self-Compassion Break, or asking yourself: How Would I Treat a Friend?
Caring for ourselves also means seeking social connections, who can provide practical and emotional support to us when we’re struggling. A study of nurses found that belonging to a more cohesive group at work helps prevent burnout and compassion fatigue, reducing the effects of stress and trauma.
This should come as no surprise: Social connection, from birth to old age, is one of our greatest human needs. Social connection leads to lower rates of anxiety and depression, strengthens our immune system, and can even lengthen our life.
Researchers agree that social connection has less to do with the number of friends you have than with how connected you feel on the inside, subjectively. In other words, you don’t have to be a social butterfly to reap the benefits; just aim to cultivate an internal sense of belonging with those around you.
How? The tricky part is that stress is linked to self-focus; our stressed minds turn towards me, myself, and I—making us even more miserable and disconnected from others. Meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, and walks in nature, as well as curbing caffeine, can all help us calm down and feel ready to reach out to others. A study we conducted at Stanford showed that loving-kindness meditation can be a quick way to nurture a sense of connection. Better yet, try meditating with a partner!
It might seem counterintuitive that empathy—which includes attending to others’ struggles—would help us with our own, particularly for caregivers. But research in social workers shows that having more empathy can also prevent burnout. Brain-imaging research by Tania Singer suggests that compassion training can actually make you better at coping with other people’s suffering—helping you help others without paying the cost yourself.
One potential explanation for this finding is that, by developing feelings like compassion and empathy, we are protected from feeling distressed or overwhelmed in the face of suffering. When you truly connect with another person who is suffering, you can actually feel empowered and energized because you are inspired to uplift that person.
We’ve all had the experience of having a friend ask for help during a time of emergency. In these moments, we are usually capable of so much more than we imagined—we seem to find hidden reserves of energy. Afterward, we end up feeling much better than we did before.
Again, loving-kindness meditation is one way to start to cultivate empathy. When you speak with someone who is suffering, practicing active listening can help you provide comfort and support to them without having to solve their problems.
If we can figure out how to continue giving to others without suffering from burnout, we can expect to reap many benefits.
For example, volunteering can have a positive impact on health, with benefits for obesity, blood glucose, blood pressure, and longevity. Older volunteers can derive a great feeling of purpose and self-esteem from volunteering; research shows that it makes them feel happier, more connected to others, and more confident of their self-worth. The benefits of volunteering for well-being seem to be universal, holding across cultures as well as generations.
If you are shy or introverted or even have social anxiety, giving to others can actually still increase your happiness. Although giving tends to feel better when we connect with beneficiaries, for the truly shy or those who don’t have time, even kind acts conducted over the computer can increase well-being.
Self-compassion, social connection, and empathy are powerful forms of self-care—but that doesn’t mean that traditional self-care activities have no place in our lives. Keeping your spirits up with exercise, sleeping in, and making room for fun activities like movies or shopping are important. These pleasures give us short bursts of happiness that can help fuel us and keep us playful in life. To complement these more physical pleasures, giving and connecting with others in positive ways will bring us long-lasting feelings of joy that come from a life of purpose and meaning. The balance between the two is a ripe recipe for a happy, long, and fulfilling life.
YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO GO GET IT
(which is ultimate cure for BURN-OUT
WHAT’S THE FIRST THOUGHT THAT COMES TO YOUR MIND WHEN YOU THINK OF SPIDERS. . .
K I N D N E S S
. . .right?
I can’t remember but one or two times over the past 27 years of Hospice work and 42 years of being an ordained minister that I’ve actually had the opportunity to talk with a group of men. MEN DON’T HAVE MEETINGS OR GROUPS. Three or four times, tops; this past Tuesday was one of those times. It was a group of men who gathered for breakfast after voting to hear me talk about TAPPING INTO YOUR SPIRITUALITY
The group was attentive, engaged and conversational. They gave me a standing ovation with my ending quote from George Washington Carver, “HOW FAR YOU GO DEPENDS ON BEING GENTLE TO THE YOUNG, COMPASSIONATE TO THE ELDERLY, SYMPATHETIC OF THE STRIVING AND TOLERANT TO THE WEAK AND THE STRONG. . .BECAUSE ONE DAY, ONE DAY, YOU WILL HAVE BEEN EACH OF THESE.”
Paul came up to me after this as I was standing around having coffee with these guys as they began filtering out of the room. He introduced himself to me and asked if he could give me a gift.
He told me that I had to pick one for myself and for my wife and then two more to share with two other people of my choosing
He handed me his typed out paper and told me that the first paragraph was his MISSION STATEMENT.
His eyes were kind and reminded me of my dad’s, not so much the color, but the soft kindness that glistened from them. He spoke softly and annunciated each word as he read the SPIDER INSTRUCTION SHEET to me. He offered me his hand and didn’t shake it so much as held it firmly between us when he told me, “I’m old. I know I can’t change the world, but hopefully by being kind to one person at a time, I can change them, make them have a better day and they can go and do the same for some one else.” I told him how much I liked his marketing plan, especially how he carefully implemented it so personally.
Any time I talk to a group of people I usually tell them that I am not here for the group today, I AM HERE FOR JUST ONE PERSON (and then I literally pause for as long as it takes me to look into the face/eyes of each person) I JUST DON’T KNOW WHICH ONE And I don’t. Little did I know when I showed up for a Men’s Breakfast Group that I WAS THE ONE that day.
K I N D N E S S
Comes to us all in so many different ways and when it does it often not only changes us ever so slightly but inspires us to do the same.
KINDNESS SPIDERS. . . ?
Well. . .here’s hoping it’s one web we all get caught up in
and never become disentangled ever again
W H Y
just see the
WE in US
when it’s way past time for us to start consistently
B E I N G
The WE in US
JILL SUTTIE a freelance journalist for Greater Good Science Center pulls back the curtain to help us take a look at the good WE can do by being more about an US than a YOU or a mere ME. . .
As human beings, we tend to favor people we think are like us or have something in common with us—and we’re often wary of people who are different.
Evolution made us this way so that we could find allies against outside threats. The problem comes when this old instinct to prefer our “in-group” leads us to discriminate, dehumanize, or act violently toward others we perceive as “the other” or members of the “out-group.”
Surprisingly, it doesn’t take much for us to create or expand in-groups. Studies have shown that even minimal similarities—like wearing the same-colored shirt—can prime us to prefer members of our in-group in relation to out-group members.
What allows us to get past that tendency to be so easily biased for and against people? A new study suggests one step: focus on the need to cooperate.
In this study, researchers Antonia Misch of Ludwig Maximilian University and Yarrow Dunham of Yale University formed artificial in-groups and out-groups in American and German children by randomly assigning them to wear an orange- or green-colored scarf. Then, they asked the children to look at sets of photos featuring two children (each with a different scarf color) and to rate their likability and niceness. The difference in likability scores between members of the child’s in-group and out-group provided a measure of favoritism.
The children were then told they’d be playing a cooperative game with their group members via computer. But, while half of the children (in the control group) connected to their own group without problems, the other half experienced a bad connection—and were told they’d instead be playing with the group wearing the other color scarf.
Before any actual play took place, however, the researchers measured in-group favoritism again, using the same method. When they compared the results, they found that children who’d been told they’d be playing with the out-group showed reduced favoritism toward their own group and less bias against the other group than children in the control group.
“Just looking at the anticipation of cooperation triggers more positivity towards an out-group,” says Misch. “This could be a first, important step in helping people engage in more positive interactions.”
In another part of the study, Misch and Dunham repeated their experiment, but with a difference: They had the kids actually play the cooperative game together (or think they were playing together; in reality, they were playing alone). The researchers found that playing the game with others didn’t further reduce in-group favoritism, suggesting that anticipating cooperation may be as effective as actual cooperation in reducing bias.
This is important, says Misch, because while past research has found that cooperation between groups reduces prejudice and bias, her study is the first to show that simply anticipating cooperation can make a difference.
It’s striking to see this bias reduction happening in children rather than in adults, she adds. Perhaps if more teachers and parents kept this in mind, she says, they could help prevent prejudice from developing, by fostering more cooperation between diverse groups of children.
“Human group-mindedness is a characteristic that emerges early in life,” she says. “If we want to change intergroup relations and prejudice, we should start early.”
However, telling children that they should anticipate cooperating with others may not be enough to reduce deep-seated bias in all cases.
In one part of Misch’s study, children were separated into groups based on gender instead of using randomly colored scarves. Those who were told they’d be playing with kids in the opposite gender group didn’t show the same reductions in bias as children in prior experiments: They still preferred members of their own gender group.
To Misch, this is not too surprising, as gender bias is more firmly established than the kind of bias you see in groups like those created by scarf color. Stereotyped messages about boys and girls are passed down from parents, reinforced through culture, and perpetuated in media. Plus, gender is an important part of a child’s self-concept, which may cement it more firmly in their minds, she says.
Still, it’s possible that if differently-gendered children were encouraged to cooperate more from an early age, it could make a difference in reducing gender bias over time.
“Anticipating cooperation between some groups may help a little bit, even if it’s not going to be the only thing that’s needed,” she says.
Currently, Misch and her team are expanding their research to see if they can decrease bias based on race and ethnicity through anticipatory cooperation. She’s hopeful that having children—and adults—think about the necessity of working together across difference may lessen prejudice, not only helping us all get along better, but helping us to solve world problems that require a sense of commonality and shared purpose.
“If we can replicate the effect with this study, it would be great,” she says. “Maybe it will just take a change of attitude around cooperation to reduce prejudice some and help society.”
SO What, huh?
Maybe if these past couple of years has taught us nothing else
isn’t it that
THE WE IN US
brings us the
Best in us
does it. . .
No answer necessary
. . .the way you live
(we just don’t always act like it)
I have shared this video several times for various presentations I have given
I have shared this video on a Monday morning blog post before, too
I have to have its message KNOWN to me again and to be reminded just how much I need to HEAR WHAT ANOTHER HEAR’S. . .
“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each others’ eyes for an instant?” – Henry David Thoreau
Every day, every moment, is an opportunity to let go of what no longer serves us and let it die…
And to embrace what brings out the best in ourselves and others.
This video, “If We Could See Inside Each Others’ Hearts” is an opportunity to do that.
It is a profound look at life, in 4 minutes. This one will have you welling up with tears as the camera wanders and shows the inner lives of people around us as they do their daily tasks. Most of it is set in a hospital, where there is so much worry, sadness, some joy, bad news, good news, no news, anxiety, fear — just like our own lives. . .
We’ve all been there. We’ve all experienced at least one of these people’s lives, and that’s what brings the message of this video so close to home.
We ALL have our stories. Others have theirs. But we never really know, we don’t fully connect, because most of us walk around keeping most of our thoughts and feelings to ourselves.
S T I L L
If we could see inside other peoples’ hearts, this is what we’d see. . .
(c l o s e r)
T H I S
T H I S
at first look
and first looks aren’t always reliable
or completely understood
Strips of love messages
that dangle into unjumbled knots
as we look at them
through unfocused eyes that see clearly
but not always plainly
that shout with voiceless whispers
and convey what no other missive
Any communication of love
will leave an eye dampened
with a saltless tear
that neither drips or wipes away
leaving a stainless mark on the soul
most secretly until we meet
in a place that’ll never be described
with a last breath here
and the first breath in the beloved
T H E R E N E S S
that brings us all together
in an ahhhhhhhhhh
Beautiugly Shaggy Wreath
w a y
IT ALL BECOMES A BLUR SOMETIMES
. . .doesn’t it?
WE ARE RUNAWAY SENTENCES
not so much looking for an unimaginable
P E R I O D
so much as just a mere
that’ll give us just momentary pause and relieve us from
with not even a second to spare
a deep breath to take or reset
Y E S
there’s a antidote for HURRY SICKNESS
that’s never waiting to be invented
I M P L E M E N T E D
Many of us suffer from “hurry sickness,” the feeling that we’re perpetually behind. And NO, we don’t need to have the holidays to intensify our anxiety. We’d like to pause, take a moment for ourselves, but who has the time, might be the wrong question to ask. . .WHO DOESN’T HAVE THE TIME?
We might not recognize our habit because we believe we’re simply being efficient, multi-tasking. But here are some signs that we might need to slow down:
- We often speed, whether through traffic, conversations, or meals.
- We often rush through work tasks and household chores, to the point we sometimes have to redo them.
- We often perform time calculations to see whether we can fit in another task.
- We’re irritable when we encounter delays, hyperaware that we’re “wasting time.”
- We constantly try to find ways to “save time.”
- We have trouble focusing on one thing because we’re always running through our to-do lists.
- We have trouble investing time in truly listening to others.
We experience physical problems related to stress.
THE CURE FOR HURRY SICKNESS. . . ?
Well, why not just start today (OR HOW ABOUT NOW) by allowing ourselves a 15-minute nap, relaxing walk, or enjoyment of a book? JUST fifteen minutes of doing nothing we have to do.
(My thanks to Crystal Rapole)
Go ahead. .
P A U S E
needs a little time to
B L O O M. . .