Caring for the Caregiver: Stay Supple

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Dr. Phyllis Quinlan
Dr. Phyllis Quinlan

Lessons Learned from the ancient book of wisdom; The Toa Te Ching: Verse Seventy-Eight

Nothing in the world is softer or weaker than water
Yet nothing is better at overcoming the hard and strong
This is because nothing can replace it

That the weak overcomes the strong
And the soft overcomes the hard
Everybody in the world knows
But cannot put into practice

Therefore sages say:
The one who accepts the humiliation of the state
Is called its master
The one who accepts the misfortune of the state
Becomes king of the world
The truth seems like the opposite

 Lao Tzu

 

Highlighting the characteristics of water was among the favorite analogies used by Lao Tzu to share his insights. I envision him sitting by a lake or river quietly meditating and gaining inspiration from the wonders of nature all around him. Water is such a paradox, nothing in the world is softer or weaker than water; yet nothing is better at overcoming the hard and strong.

This poetic description sounds like our human spirit, doesn’t it? We are so vulnerable to internal and external thoughts and opinions yet, when the going gets tough… So what is the lesson being shared in verse seventy eight? I believe it is to fully embrace our innate fluid nature.

When we are infants our bodies are composed of over seventy percent water. We are saturated with adaptability, resilience and the ability to flow in a different direction as we navigate obstacles. As we grow and age four very distinct things occur. Our bodies begin to wear out, slow down, cool off and dry up! Adult bodies are composed of only fifty percent water. Our internal well is literally running dry. Must this age specific dehydration process take its toll on our spirits too? You know the answer.

Life is meant to present us with the challenges and obstacles that will reflect where we need to do our personal (Soul’s) work.  This is an unsettling and frustrating process that triggers our darker side. Nothing will dry you up quicker than anger followed by all the other negative emotions that sap our benevolent natures. Most would advise to avoid the people, issues and events that would trigger those responses. I am going to suggest that you not deny any part of your nature but move closer to those emotions and vexations of the spirit.

Find the fortitude to sit quietly and reflect on those things and people that relentlessly drain you of your vital fluid self. Accept. Don’t deny. Please try to avoid justifying. Just float with who you are and make friends with yourself. Touch that essential goodness within and gently decide to shift course.

You can choose to envision your life as something to overcome or you can replenish your spirit by adjusting your perspective. Observe nature. Floods, fires and other natural disasters can scar and destroy. They are also essential for survival and providing opportunities for new growth. Impermanence is at the core of our existence. You can choose to lose vital life force raging against change and lamenting over the past or you can be a phoenix and rise up. Overcome. Find your equanimity and stay supple.

Respectfully submitted by:

Phyllis Quinlan, RN-Bc, PhD
www.mfwconsultants.com
mfwconsultants@gmail.com
718 661 498
http://www.linkedin.com/in/phyllisquinlan

http://www.facebook.com/PhyllisQuinlanCoaching

 

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Dr. Phyllis Quinlan

About Phyllis Quinlan, RN-Bc, PhD

Throughout her 30 plus year career, Phyllis has practiced in a variety of emergency, acute care, subacute care & LTC settings. She holds national certifications in Critical Care Nursing, Emergency Nursing and Continuing Education/Staff Development. She has held senior leadership positions in administration and education in a variety of healthcare venues in the Greater New York area & also practices as a Legal Nurse Consultant since 2004.

mfwconsultants@gmail.com | 718 661 4981

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