This post originally appeared on Heal Your Life, a blog published by Hay House, the publisher of Help Me to Heal, which I co-wrote with the beloved Dr. Bernie Siegel in 2003. It is about the power of language to heal or harm.
A term I often use to describe an emotional state of being is trance. When we’re in a trance, we tend to see things in a particular way: delighted, calm, scary, hopeless, optimistic, edgy. Just as easy as it is to be in a grateful or peaceful trance, we can suddenly find ourselves in a worried or panicked one.
Stuff happened in Mount Airy, a neighborhood in Philadelphia, PA. It happened to Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow and his wife, Rabbi Phyllis Ocean Berman. Rabbi Arthur, a renowned social justice advocate and writer, was being treated for throat cancer. Due to his radiation treatment, he was unable to swallow his food. His family feared he’d die if he couldn’t get nourishment. He reluctantly agreed to use a feeding tube.
Yes, believe it or not, Loveland is the name of a suburban town on Cincinnati’s outskirts. On a balmy spring Sunday afternoon, in less time than a blink of an eye, the world changed for Cole Schlesner and his family. Their lives went from “perfect,” as his father Scott described it, to as scary as it can get.
Family caregivers too often suffer from two very common things: overwhelm and isolation. Or, to put it another way, exhaustion and loneliness. So often, the nature of illness and trauma not only disrupts our normal ways of living, but also disrupts our connections with people who care about us. Caregivers who reach out for support gain the benefits of lessening their burdens and of feeling the warmth provided by people who love them.
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