In a Haze?

2011 January 5

Have you ever driven your car, miles on end, only to arrive at your destination not remembering how you got there? Have you ever turned several pages in a book only to realize that you have no idea what you just read? Have you found yourself so anticipating a looming doctor’s appointment that the moments, hours, and even days spent with a loved one pass before you without your full presence and attention?

Able to transcend the place and space of our caregiving moment, we can imagine worlds of possibilities far beyond our immediate present—luring ourselves far away from where we are, blinding us to the very person we love and care.

If you feel like you are caring in a haze, you are not alone. In fact, you are in good company.  Caregivers are particularly prone to the haze of abstraction because most of the time, our care is given in exhaustion, hours on end, where routine becomes the perfect breeding ground for thoughts that take us far away from the place our bodies occupy.

Keep in mind the following tips specifically tailored for helping keep your mind and body in the same place—out of the haze that turns moments of appreciation and connection into dark tints of perpetual forgetfulness:

  • When your body is at rest, your mind is most susceptible to leaving the moment and taking you far away from the person in front of you. Move your body and force your mind to adjust to the changing circumstances before you to recapture the presence of the present. This can be as simple as walking around the stairs, or getting up from your chair and stretching your body. Physical movement is the key to breaking through the hypnotizing thoughts that turn you away from your loved one and your immediate surroundings.

  • Focus on senses beyond sight. Abstract thoughts that take us away from the present thrive on our tendency to ignore our senses. What does the room you are in smell like? What does the wind against your cheek feel like? What does your loved one’s skin feel like against your touch?
  • Perfect temperatures are the perfect breeding grounds for abstract thoughts that take you away from where you are. Swallow up the moment you are in by taking a deep breath of air—outside air—air that is not perfectly conditioned to a perfect temperature. Simply stepping beyond the front door into the cold, frigid air or hot, humid, stagnating air will help remind you that you are in a season, in a particular moment of time with your loved one that can not ever be duplicated.
  • Write out on a piece of paper the very thoughts that are swirling in your head. Yes, I mean literally write out the thoughts that you are chasing. Abstract thought thrives on its ability to play a high-stake game of poker, time after time without fear, knowing it will never be called out. Only by calling out the very thoughts that are taking you away from the person across from you, will you allow yourself the freedom to literally put the thought away, in your desk, or a drawer, anywhere but in front of the person who needs your attention and is worthy of all of your senses.

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