Caregiver Gift-Getting

When you’re a careGIVER it’s natural to give, Give, GIVE. It feels uncomfortable to receive. Yet, the holidays are a time to receive in order to keep giving. Consider the pleasure you derive from giving. Share that opportunity with others who wish to give to you. Receive their gifts graciously.

Stranded on the side of the road

Gifts come in many forms. After opening presents and cashing-in gift certificates, accepting and even asking for help allows you the caregiver some time for self-care – the gift that ensures you’re strong enough to carry on. Your car can’t run a mile on fumes. Neither can you. Stop. Refuel. Don’t get stranded on the side of the road and become prey for turkey vultures.

Sometimes we need to let go to receive.

It seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? To receive we must give or let go.

Yet, it makes perfect sense when we change how we look at our world.

This past year, while going through all the legal machinations, a world-class roller-coaster ride of emotions, and even a bit of cocooning, I emerged as a single butterfly. In the process of divvying up forty-plus years of possessions, I agreed to give up my much-loved grand piano.

Built by Vose & Sons in 1915 during the anniversary year of the Armenian Genocide, Vose was later bought out by Aeolian, an Armenian piano company in the Boston area where a large population of Armenians live. Having played many pianos including Bösendorfers, I chose this piano for its bright tone and light touch. It took five months of self-talk to let it go to one who does not even play; well, except to hit the E note when tuning his guitar.

People have questioned my resolve, “Why are you letting it go?”

My answer revolves around space, “Where will I put it?”

I have written articles for STUFFology 101 about downsizing. In these articles, I half-seriously admit, “I’d like to own nothing more than possessions that fit in a backpack. But there’s this small problem, where will I put my grand piano?”

I have done remarkably well at downsizing. By square feet, I’m down to 15% of the living area I once occupied. That’s pretty impressive. As I write this, I smile. Even while traveling, I lean toward less. Fewer things means less to worry about.

I look forward to dealing with less in the near future – less space, fewer possessions, and less drama (unless it’s the NY Metropolitan Opera). Less means greater focus on authoring this new chapter in my life. Less means greater engagement with friends and family who have unconditionally welcomed me with open arms.

Miracle – Having survived letting go, I am receiving abundantly.

In a miraculous twist, I have not lost a piano. I have gained much more. I now have access to an electronic keyboard (something I’ve wanted since the 1980s when I programmed sound algorithms, which come with electronic pianos, today). I have been invited to play anytime on two semi-concert grand pianos. By letting go, I’ve been gifted with more than I asked for. And after joining a local piano group, I now have friends with whom I can play piano.

It’s hard to let go of what we’re used to – our routines, our relationships, and our stuff. When we truly let go, doors open with unexpected opportunities. If we are receptive, greater gifts await.

Who knows what else the future holds? I have a lot more work ahead as I write the pages of my life’s next chapter.

One life lesson I’ve learned as I’ve grown older – self-care is a message we send our bodies. When we choose to and do take care of ourselves, our bodies will take care of us. The older we get, the more we must heed this message.

Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha, writes, “… this revolutionary act of treating ourselves tenderly can begin to undo the aversive messages of a lifetime.” Click for more insightful life-awareness quotes from Tara Brach

I realize, these gifts would not emerge without first letting go.

As a caregiver what do you struggle to let go of in order to freely receive?

Share your journey of letting go, online. Make a public commitment to ensure you move closer to your goal.

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