journal with notes
Humor,  Life Experiences

Life’s Realities and What We Can Do About Them

Isn’t it strange how things just show up and bring a smile, laughter, or a message?

Just recently I decided to clear my desk. I haven’t quite completed it yet as I have a habit of taking one pile of papers and making another pile. Crazy and lazy.

One time I moved the keyboard and found some Angel Cards that must have fallen out of the box. In case you don’t know about them, they have a word or two and a picture of a little angel. There were seven and contained the following topics:

  • TRANSFORMATION
  • HEALING
  • HUMOUR
  • FAITH
  • RELAXATION
  • DISCERNMENT
  • PRESENCE

I had no idea they were there. However, they made me think and hit a spot that challenges me in terms of today.

TRANSFORMATION

Certainly, we are in that situation where change has been constant. I hear people say they just want to get back to normal. What is normal?  I’ve never known, and I don’t think it will happen; whatever people conceive It to be. This virus has changed our way of thinking about what is of ultimate importance and what is not. I am learning that what I thought essential to my lifestyle, isn’t. It is like living with rationing as I did for six years and finding I really didn’t miss anything with regard to food or toilet paper! I remember tearing up newspapers into squares and hanging them in the toilet! So, we could read while we did what we did!!!

HEALING

This is the time to examine how we are existing. What are our attitudes? Are we sending out negativity and fear?  The answer is there is just too much negativity hitting the Universe. For example, just a few days ago, I spoke with the amazing Joe Weldon, who is my therapist and also commonly known as the therapist’s therapist. I told him I had found myself in the Oxford English Dictionary – a great honour of course. There I was – a TECHNOPHOBE!!! That was me without a doubt.

Before I have to get on Zoom, I am scared silly. I have faced death a lot in my life, but my fear of Zoom reached new heights, or was it depths. I told him I felt fear and he told me I didn’t. How about that. It wasn’t like him to dismiss an emotion. He said, it isn’t fear –you just don’t want to do it. I was so surprised. It hit the nail on the head. I don’t want to do it.

We have been working on my childhood for a long time and I was pretty convinced we were done with it. He told me to think about it. As a child I wasn’t allowed to express any emotions, or I was punished.  So, I never had a tantrum, never expressed anger and heaven forbid I would ever cry. The thought of saying “I don’t like it” was out of the question. So, when this “fear”’ occurred, what I wanted to say was I DON’T LIKE IT. Moreover, I never said it at all during my marriage and it was only in my forties I was able to say, NO.

I was due to go on Zoom the next day and after a brief conversation with Fran, my friend who has turned out to be my IT person, I had no challenge at all. It went smoothly and I was so relaxed that it amazed me. That kind of healing is remarkable, and it was all the result of being able to reach out to someone I trust 100% and say, I don’t like it.

HUMOUR

I know, you don’t spell it that way. I write English English and always have. Mostly I am tolerated, and I feel more at home! Humour is essential and connected to HEALING. Laughter releases the endorphins in the brain and brings healing. Humour and music are the two most underrated healing aspects of life. Truly, I don’t know what I would do without either of  them. As I sit here typing, music is playing in the background all the time.  I am honored to volunteer at Gilda’s Club in Warminster. Of course, we are back to Zoom now.

The title of the group is LAUGHING WHEN NOTHING SEEMS FUNNY AND WHEN IT IS. The men and women in this group are there for support yet they seem to support one another more than themselves. We have people who are in remission, in treatment, who are care sharers and those of us who have lost a beloved to cancer. We are a motley crew and what works so well is that these incredible people feel safe.

Sometimes it is apparent that a member is going through intense sadness or pain and we address that. However, the noise one hears mostly is laughter – laughing with life which is astounding as some of the members are in the last stages when there is nothing else that can be done. Truly, I get as much if not more from these people than they do from me. This is how I open the group when we have new members.

“Good morning, I am Dr. Yvonne Kaye and I created this group and its content. I am in charge……………………………” and that’s the joke of the day. I am not in charge of anything with these people. I plan something and it doesn’t happen. I am in control of absolutely nothing. The secret of its success is that laughter, love and compassion rule and all I can do is join in! Am I blessed or what?

FAITH

This is intensely personal.  From people believing in God to those who are agnostic or atheist, there is something greater than oneself. For those who have religion and it works for them, that is beautiful as long as it isn’t thrust down other people’s throats.   When I work with the recovering community, I ask them, “What takes your breath away?”

Some answers are children, nature, sunset, sunrise, my meeting, family, love – so many responses. I tell them, whatever takes your breath away is your Higher Power. It can change at any minute. They need to have something to believe in and when I first went into the programme all those years ago, the people in the room were my Higher Power.

We cannot dictate people on what they believe. As I explain FAITH, it is believing in something one can’t see. I tell them that every time the plane hit the runway in Shannon Airport in Ireland, it took my breath away. In these troubled times it is the people who still maintain their work to serve us in so many ways with humour and laughter, my heroes. I ask them about unconditional love. They question that until I ask how many have dogs. That’s it right there although I have to say my cats’ attitudes have changed too. They are right there when my rollercoaster is in the down position. They know. I am grateful.

RELAXATION

I am European/English/Irish. We know how to do nothing. A lot of Americans I know do not know how to do it. They tell me, “Oh yes, I can relax – for a short while and then the should’s arrive“. Don’t hit the messenger. I’m only repeating what I have been told.

They make tea or coffee, sit inside or outside for a while and then think, “This is a waste of time. I have so much to do.  I’ll just put some wash on and clear the kitchen for a bit. Then there’s catching up on work. I’ll just do those things and then I can relax.”

An on and on and on. So, what is the answer? It’s called being worthy of some relaxation. People do not give themselves the right to put some time aside just to take care of themselves. I know a lot of people get solace from doing something. Great. However, taking care of one’s emotional health requires some peace and serenity.

Here is what I suggest. Make a list of what has to be done that day and set   time aside for you, like half an hour. Do Yoga, relaxation and imagery. Listen to soothing music. Just 30 minutes out of a 24 hour day. It’s magic. It’s a gift to oneself.

DISCERNMENT

Someone introduced me to this word many years ago. There is much judgement in this life and people get confused with their feelings of not liking something a person is doing. Then they are accused of being judgmental. Judging is a good thing certainly if one is feeling overcome by the behavior of another person. You know if a person is toxic. Assuming is a different story.  You know the translation – make an Ass out of u and me. ASSUMING.

In order for me to learn the difference a friend told me about discernment. Of course, this led me to one of my favourite books, THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY.

Discernment means to perceive clearly with the mind or the senses.  Having or showing good judgement or insight. I see an aspect of being judgmental is gossip, which I dislike intensely. My book tells me the definition of gossip is idle talk and groundless rumor about a person or event. I hold gossip responsible for people going as far as removing themselves from life to the extreme tragedy. I believe gossip is criminal.

Discern – it’s healthy. Get the facts, ma’am, just the facts. (Men. They are just as prone to gossip as women!) These days with cyber bullying we have a challenge. It is important to address as it has resulted in deaths and is not to be taken lightly at all.

PRESENCE

What a beautiful word. To be present. To allow oneself to feel the presence of a beloved even though they no longer reside on this planet. I also use the word present as it seems that some people find it challenging to stay in the moment. Logically there isn’t another thing one can do about that.  The moment is the moment.

I have heard it said that one can do nothing about yesterday, nor tomorrow. We live in the present, which is why it is called a gift or a present. Rather lovely, I think. When someone is grieving, they want a connection with someone. This isn’t necessarily death. It can be someone who has left the area and today it is not being able to be with someone who is in hospital or in another state unable to return. Not being able to hug, to touch in any way, to hold or to kiss. At these times, lovely memories help, photos, letters, cards.

What can help someone who doesn’t have these things?

There are so many online connections to reputable agencies and support groups who are willing to listen and help. It isn’t always possible but being an animal person, if one can get a cat, dog, parakeet, mouse, rat anything that is living and affectionate helps.  The shelters need you. Being present and feeling a presence can be the same thing. I think of people in the military and their separation from those they love. It’s been going on forever it seems.

This time the enemy is the virus.  What does one do when faced with the enemy?

Follow directions. They are clear and simple. Wear a mask, put on gloves, use hand sanitizer and wash your hands. How hard it that?

People are arrogantly disregarding the safety of themselves and others. That attitude, “THIS WON’T HAPPEN TO ME” is insane. I heard someone say that God will take care of him. I replied that God is rather busy right now, so do the footwork.

Thank goodness, since from Sunday April 19th, no one will be allowed in stores without a mask. The police will have their work cut out!   

All that being said, it really is one day at a time. I’ve been thinking of how I can help those on the front line, like leaving gift cards for a supermarket on the doorsteps of First Responders. I know a lot of them and after nights of incredible challenges, they certainly don’t feel like cooking. So, gift cards for restaurants who will deliver will be appreciated.

Or getting their addresses and posting gifts. My mother was one of fourteen children, four of whom were tailors. I can’t sew a button on and would love to make masks so I am going to ask these people who make them if I can contribute by buying materials. Some hospitals accept them.  Unfortunately where my two granddaughters work they do not.

Two nurses wearing face masks.

I have asked people on Facebook how they think I can use my experiences professionally so I will be making videos with messages, maybe workshops. If you have any ideas, let me know.

Be well and conquer.       

   Photo by alexandra lammerink on Unsplash                   

2 Comments

  • Marilyn

    I am so honored to know you and want you to know how much you have helped me through your work with Gilda’s Club. I look forward to each scheduled meeting – even if I do have to wear a hat!!!

  • Charles

    Hi Dr. Yvonne Kaye, I used to listen to you oh, so many years ago from a radio station in Philadelphia, Pa. USA Just hearing your name and finding you have a web presence gives my heart joy. I always loved your advice and speech (accent) and you were absolutely wonderful to listen to. Oh, it occurred to me too, your laughter over the air… always told me that even through hardship and despair, life can be celebrated and enjoyed. And I always enjoyed your closing to your show, paraphrasing you’d say …
    “Goodnight and have any kind of day you like.”

Go ahead and talk to me.

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