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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Are You Suffering from Compassion Fatigue?

 
 
 
'Bee on Clover' photography by Sean Royce
 
"How doth the little busy bee improve each shining hour, and gather honey all the day from every opening flower." Isaac Watts
 
Are You a Worker Bee Tirelessly Working for the Good of Others? 
 
  • Do you sometimes feel like just another unappreciated worker bee flying through your day accomplishing a lot that nobody notices?
  • Perhaps after a lifetime of meeting the needs of others to the exclusion of your own you're exhausted--and now you're on the edge of giving up everything to retire into solitude.
How doth the little busy bee improve each shining hour? Not to be overly dramatic, but she lives fast working for others and dies young.
 
Worker bees exist exclusively to support the colony. These selfless, industrious beings make the world a sweeter place for others through their dedication to supporting and nourishing the whole hive. While admirable, it's just not sustainable for long.
 
Like that honey bee, you may be a selfless being dedicated to the good of all who--up until recently--tirelessly put the care and needs of others before your own self-care and needs. 
 
While this makes you a honey of a human-being, without balancing your own self-care with the care of others, its simply not sustainable.
 
Failing to take care of you while always meeting the needs of others leads to compassion fatigue--a condition that caregivers of people and animals are highly susceptible to--demonstrating the classic signs of chronic stress or burnout.
 
 
"Studies confirm that caregivers play host to a high level of compassion fatigue. Day in, day out, workers struggle to function in caregiving environments that constantly present heart wrenching, emotional challenges. Affecting positive change in society, a mission so vital to those passionate about caring for others, is perceived as elusive, if not impossible. This painful reality, coupled with first-hand knowledge of society's flagrant disregard for the safety and well-being of the feeble and frail, takes its toll on everyone from full time employees to part time volunteers."
 According to Traumatologist Eric Gentry, "People who are attracted to caregiving often enter the field already compassion fatigued. A strong identification with helpless, suffering, or traumatized people or animals is possibly the motive."
 
Are You Suffering from Compassion Fatigue?
 
If you think you are suffering from compassion fatigue--you probably are--say the experts at the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project--and your path back to health begins with one small step--awareness--and continues through engaging in self-care activities.
 
What are common signs to look for?
 
  • Apathy
  • Isolation
  • Bottled up Emotions
  • Substance Abuse
  • Poor Self-Care
  • Chronic Physical Ailments--GI upset, reoccurring colds
  • Sad--no longer find activities pleasurable
 
Just Bee, painting by Lee Bryant, all rights reserved
 
 From Burnout to Balance and Uplifted Spirit
 
"Seeing only what is fair, sipping only what is sweet--leave the chaff, and take the wheat." Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'The Humble-Bee'
 
If you are a person who is drawn to caring for others--whether humans or animals--you will never short change others--but you will short change yourself. As you're told in airplanes, in the event of an emergency, put on your own oxygen mask first before you help someone else.
 
To put balance back into your life you must put yourself first--then regularly and frequently participate in activities with the sole purpose of uplifting, enhancing or entertaining you. These activities should NOT be for other's edification.
 
Sit quiet.
Bee idle. Bee Still.
Read a book.
Write in a Journal.
Paint.
Take Photographs.
Take a trip.
Sit by the beach.
Take a nap.
Take a walk.
Garden.
 
Set boundaries.
Say No.
Choose what you say YES to.
Ask for other's help.
 
Self-Assessments from the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project
 
Would you like to assess yourself to see where you are at this time? Below are links to three self assessments. If you feel you need help recovering from compassion fatigue, seek out a professional who can guide you.
 
 
 
 

"His labor is a chant, His idleness a tune; Oh, for a bee's experience of clovers and of noon!" Emily Dickinson


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 For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Every Dog will have his Day--and You will too!

A Dog having his Day


"Let Hercules himself do what he may, the cat will mew, and dog will have his day."
 [1600 Shakespeare Hamlet v. i. 286]

Life Got You Down?

Why the hangdog expression? What has you concerned about your future?

  • Have you recently graduated and are now worrying about getting a job?
  • Are you worried about keeping your job or wanting to quit a bad one?
  • Have you failed to get a job, or been rejected by a love interest?
  • Are you in a situation that isn't good for you that you need to get out of?

Every Dog will have his Day--and you will too!

Just look at Jack's dog out for a walk 'having his day'. This is a dog totally unconcerned about how the day will unfold. As he walks down the street with his tail and head held high, he knows 'Euerie dog hath his day' --and his day is today. Could this be you too?

Rest assured, like all the dogs and people who have come before you--you'll have your day. The dog-eared expression 'every dog has his day' has been around for over 450 years telling us to 'relax' you'll get your day; 'stop worrying' your time will come.

  • If you failed to get that job, or have been rejected by a love interest--never mind--your day is coming.
  • If you're currently in a bad job or relationship--just know your day of resolve for changing your circumstances is coming.
  • If your time to shine has yet to come--it's on its way.

Every Dog has her Day--And Your Heyday is Coming

Like 'every dog has its day', 'Heyday' is an expression that has been around since the 1600s and goes back to the use of 'hey' as an expression of great enthusiasm and happiness. 
 
Know your Heyday--or time of maximum power, prosperity, or popularity in which you experience your greatest vigor and success is coming.
 
SO HEY! Stay open to the possibilities that are before you--your day to shine, succeed, and be loved are just around the corner. Like Jack's dog walking down the street, keep your head high and high-tail it down the road today keeping a positive expectation for the bones coming your way.


Definition of Hangdog Expression: Sad, Dejected
First known use of the Expression: 1677

Meet the Artist

 Jack Rode, 3rd Grader
 
 
The Dog Tile Art Project for the Jackson County Animal Shelter

 
Debi Blair's 3rd grade class at Walker Elementary school in Ashland, Oregon painted tiles to create a bright, cheerful entrance to the dog kennels at the Jackson County Animal Shelter. Their creative and fun spirits come through in their art. Come on down to the Shelter to see what a difference their tile art makes.
 
 

Sign Up for Free E-mail updates

 
For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.
 
If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

 


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tale of Two Wolves


"Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character; and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals is not a good man." Arthur Schopenhauer

 An Old Cherokee Tale of Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside us.

"My son", he said, "the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego."

"The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:

"Which wolf wins?"

The grandfather simply replied, "The one you feed."

Which wolf will you feed today?
 

Meet the Artist


 Ashton Boyd, 3rd Grader
 
 
The Dog Tile Art Project for the Jackson County Animal Shelter

Debi Blair's 3rd grade class at Walker Elementary school in Ashland, Oregon painted tiles to create a bright, cheerful entrance to the dog kennels at the Jackson County Animal Shelter. Their creative and fun spirits come through in their art. Come on down to the Shelter to see what a difference their tile art makes.

Sign Up for Free E-mail updates

For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It's Fun to have Fun, But You have to Know How to Get Started



"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive." Gilda Radner
Its Fun to have Fun, But you have to Know How--to get Started

"Susan--I spend all my time working--or thinking about what I need to do--so I'm missing out on having fun. Your article on 'Having Fun' helped me--but I just don't know how to get started. Maybe you can give me a suggestion to help me start to play." Cynthia
Cynthia, If you want to be a 'Happy Dog' who knows how to play, as Dr Seuss said, 'Its fun to have fun but you have to know how'.

The most important trick I use with myself on an ongoing basis to divert my attention from the work to play is the 'one minute trick'. But when you need to totally jump start yourself into the play mode start with the rip and tear pleasure hunt.

The Rip and Tear Pleasure Hunt

The rip and tear pleasure hunt is a stress-free way to overcome the inertia to getting started having fun. It can help you discover a fun-filled life full of meaning and pleasure, without you making a major time or money commitment.

Here's how it works:

1. Collect Ideas. Without giving it too much thought, as you go through newspapers, magazines, adult education calendars, college catalogues, brochures--if something catches your eye--rip it out and put it in a Rip and Tear Pleasure Hunt folder.

2. When You Feel Like it, Take a Closer Look. When you get curious about what interests you, sit down with a cup of coffee or tea, open the folder and as quickly as you can separate the various 'interest items' into three piles: 'Very interesting', 'Somewhat interesting', and 'On second glance, I don't know why I chose this'.

3. Ask Yourself: If I were to choose one activity, which one would it  be? Take your 'Very Interesting' pile and look through it more carefully. Ask yourself: If I were to choose one activity, which one would it be? At this stage, don't worry whether you have the time, money or inclination to follow through.

4. Take One Small Step to Collect More Information. Not sure you have the time, money or energy to follow through with your most interesting item? Call for more information, ask others for their opinions, commit to attend one session of a 10-week course--take one small step to collect more information. Again, at this stage you are merely collecting more information, not committing your time, money and energy.

5. If You Like What You See--Follow Through. If the information you collect on your most interesting item sparks your interest--go for it.

6. Keep Collecting and Following Through. Keep adding to your Rip & Tear Pleasure Hunt. Your interests will change over time. By continuing to go through these steps, you will develop a stress-free way to discover a life full of joy, meaning and fun!

The One-Minute Trick

Here's where the one minute trick comes in--commit to taking the first step to participating in something fun--but you only have to stay one minute. If after one minute you decide its not for you, leave.

  • Go to the first pottery class and talk with the teacher.
  • Go to the gym, get out of your car and walk into the facility.
  • Go to the volunteer orientation to see if this is the right opportunity for you.
The hardest part is always overcoming inertia--taking the first step--even when its something you would enjoy doing! That is why the key is to keep the first step so small you bypass thinking about it and just do it--without worrying about following through further.


Start with a 5 minute Uplift in Your Spirit

To get yourself in the mood, take 5 minutes to watch and listen to an amazing clip taking you dancing around the world. I love this video. It makes me a happy dog every time I view it (which I do often).

Click on the link then find the link to '5 minutes to the joy of living' on the page. You can't watch this short video without feeling happy and a part of this world. Don't let the fun pass you by. Get involved in something meaningful to you.

http://lightartedliving.blogspot.com/2012/08/feeling-weary-had-enough-take-moment.html

 Meet the Artist

 Preston Powers, 3rd Grader



The Dog Tile Art Project for the Jackson County Animal Shelter 


Debi Blair's 3rd grade class at Walker Elementary school in Ashland, Oregon painted tiles to create a bright, cheerful entrance to the dog kennels at the Jackson County Animal Shelter. Their creative and fun spirits come through in their art. Come on down to the Shelter to see what a difference their tile art makes.
 
Sign Up for Free E-mail updates 

 
For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.
 
If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.



Sunday, June 9, 2013

All Work and No Play Makes You No Fun! (Just Ask Your Dog!)


"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." Edward Hoagland

It is Good to Play

One day when my son was four I had him at home with me as I was rushing to meet a deadline. Sean loved to play. So I pulled his Legos out for him to play with to distract him while I worked. But what he wanted most was to play with me.

Every 10 minutes or so he would come up to me and say, 'come play with me'. But there I was staring at my computer, sweating bullets, with a blank mind as I tried unsuccessfully to come up with a topic for my weekly article. I would smile at him and say, "just a little bit longer, Sean. Mommy has to work, and then I'll come play."

Finally, when he'd had enough of my putting him off he simply said, "Mommy, it is good to play."

How could I argue with that? I shut the computer off and played with him the rest of the day. And what do you know? The idea for an article that had so eluded me earlier simply popped into my head when I stopped working at it. It is good to play.

The Play Stance

Why as adults do we procrastinate on having fun? Dogs, like kids, know it is good to play. Who doesn't like watching dogs take the play stance shown in 8 year old Carlos Torres's painted tile above? With their tails wagging and rear-ends in the air, dogs bow down to others to invite play.

We could learn from these gurus of play, but too often we just work, work, work. We bow our heads and furrow our brows to invite work, not play.

Instead of responding to the invitations to play, we send our kids and dogs off with a pat on the head and get back to the work at hand. We simply do not know when to put the work down. It's not good for us...and it's not good for our bodies.




Every Body Needs to Play

'Every body needs to play" says 3rd grader Iris Mazariegos-Rodas. Children just intuitively know it does a body good to go out and take a romp. So why do we forget about the importance of play as we become adults?

It is good to have dogs and kids in our lives to remind us that everybody needs to play, smile, laugh and enjoy life. If you have one of these gurus of play in your life--pay attention! Accept their invitations to play. Our minds crave fun distractions. Why not give in to that craving and satisfy your need to play.

  • When was the last time you did something for the sheer fun of it?
  • Have you let work or work worries consume your life?
  • What invitations to play have you rejected?
  • What are 3 fun things you could do this week to let your inner dog or kid out?

 "You can say any fool thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says, My God, you're RIGHT! I NEVER would've thought of that!" Dave Barry

Meet the Artists


Iris Mazariegos-Rodas, 3rd Grader Walker Elementary 


The Dog Tile Art Project for the Jackson County Animal Shelter

Debi Blair's 3rd grade class at Walker Elementary school in Ashland, Oregon painted tiles to create a bright, cheerful entrance to the dog kennels at the Jackson County Animal Shelter. Their creative and fun spirits come through in their art. Come on down to the Shelter to see what a difference their tile art makes.

 Sign Up for Free E-mail updates

 For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Life IS Good



"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." Anatole France
 
  
Put a Paint Job on the World--Look through the Eyes of a Child

I had the pleasure of working with 27 3rd graders on a tile art project that now graces the entrance to the Jackson County Animal Shelter dog kennel. Each painted tile is more bright and cheerful than the last.

I've often been accused of putting a paint job on the world, and enjoying looking through rose-colored glasses--and I'm guilty as charged. So it should come as no great surprise that I enjoy looking into children's art to see the messages within. And the message I see is Life Is Good.

I love the sweet message of Emily Hatfield's painted tile above:
  • Life is simple and straightforward--don't complicate it.
  • Life is uncluttered and unencumbered--keep it simple.
  • Look for the simple pleasures (ahem...a tree to pee on).
  • The sun is always shining--bask in its warmth and enjoy your day.
 When it gets down to it, we are all just kids in big bodies. Don't let your dreams and visions become clouded by adult difficulties. Choose to return to a simpler time.

Life will bring troubles that complicate your life. Yet you can choose that child-like view that life is good and work to simplify and enjoy it--despite your difficulties.

Life IS Good. Enjoy it.

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog; they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog that comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and maybe I will become as generous and loving as they are." ~Unknown
 
Sign Up for Free E-mail updates

 For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

 If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

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