Healing belongs to all of us.

Today, my dad messaged to tell me Marcee, his wife who has Alzheimer's is in the hospital with a serious infection... 
"If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing." ~Zimbabwean proverb
I've never felt like I could really carry a tune but have always enjoyed singing... the connection of singing hymns in church in unison, of chanting corporately, or even singing alone in my car to the radio... brings a feeling of joy.
In preparation for the Caregiver's retreat, I wanted to see what affect practicing the Kirtan Kriya "Sa Ta Na Ma" which is being researched by the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation as a way to improve memory in dementia patients, would have on me. Similar to meditation, the results have been calming, centering.
This past month, I recommitted to (radical) self care due to an idiopathic shoulder injury with changes in my sleep, diet, movement, cultivating true rest and dealing with emotional stuff. Today, instead of worrying about Marcee or busying myself with the urgency of work, I took a nap. I kind of shut down. 
There are times I feel numb about her situation, like I lost her years ago and other times, the freshness of the memories of her old self feels sharp, as I make my coffee the way she taught me to, of her laughter in the kitchen, or if I simply reflect for a moment how my dad must be feeling...
Some days, like today, I just want to crawl back in bed... other days, I feel so invincible that I breeze through, music playing, feet tapping.
After my rest, I took a minute to turn on a song I remember she loved, and then took a few deep breaths and did the chant. I felt calmer -- and more at ease and like I cheated the panic attacks that have been happening lately with ever more frequency.
Mostly, life is riding the unpredicable waves with as much grace as I can muster. We all have our daily rhythms and learning to mindfully synchronize the emotions with endeavor makes the fluctuations less drama-filled, more calm.
Moving toward my most healthy, content self is more than positive self talk or "aligning my chakras". It's a huge shift to put my self care first. Saying no to great projects, asking my kids to do more at home, and asking for more support from friends. 
It is a moment to moment practice where I am empowered to choose freedom from stress and pain, even when that pain is present, I can navigate my response to it with a little more clarity, a little more singing, a little more movement in my body.
With the retreat just a little more than a week away, I feel grateful that myself and more than 40 volunteers will be able to share some tools for self-care in honor of Marcee and my dad. 
Healing belongs to all of us.


To register or share about the Caregiver's of Alzheimer's Retreat, Click Here.


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