All posts by dbkerr

The place where I dump what is inside, outside.

Imagine

When this world hurts me, and I feel trapped by the machinations of others, or the actions of society, or the political fray our country and the world lies in, the words of John Lennon’s song “Imagine” brings comfort. For weeks now, I have had no words to share, I have felt empty inside. These words matter to this world and are so much more than my trivial mutterings.

  • Imagine there’s no heaven
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people living for today

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people living life in peace, you

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope some day you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope some day you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one
  • Writer/s: John Lennon, Yoko Ono 
    Publisher: Downtown Music Publishing
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Shadow Play

Words are vultures
come to gnaw the last
bit of meat from bone.
They strip away
all reason,
the seductive embrace
of imaginings.
Words are a shadow play
where the figures cast
are illusions, and the
substance of reality
is overshadowed.

Words are binders
in the glue.
holding tight one object
to another, locked
in contracts non-negotiable.
Tread carefully
when words are spoken,
your soul is up for sale
and will be gone
if freely given to . . .
words.

Dealing with Difficult cases

Being a caregiver can be both draining and uplifting. The people I work with are often fragile. They have damaged bodies and/ or minds. Some have broken psyches. Yet it is a precious thing when you know you have made a difference one day at a time.

Working with the family can be challenging. They have expectations and different perspectives than you. This creates confusion and frustration at times. As an example, yesterday was my last day on a difficult case. The man had PTSD from his time in Vietnam. He had also lived alone for many years and had developed some antisocial habits.

This man was noncomplant with his medications and virtually every other activity of daily living. He had mannerisms that were offensive. He repeatedly spoke about wanting to die. Depression was evident. He is a heavy smoker. His mind couldn’t get past his difficulty walking due to a stroke. Not only that but he had Obsessive Compulsive behaviors. He was reactionary to most situations. His mind would get caught in a loop, circling around his mobility problems, focusing on the negatives, unable to see solutions, only concerned with his leg and his inability to walk independently.

As a caregiver, this case demanded fortitude and endurance. His Power of Attorney loved this man but didn’t see some of his more offensive behaviors. The chain of information was sketchy. For instance, she was upset because she thought I was complaining about the fact that that he hadn’t taken his medications and thought it was me who complained. She was told it was my last day and was upset. She reacted to the continuing medication issue. I hadn’t raised the issue that day but the physical challenges of not taking his medications was evident.

She was also upset that I didn’t make food for him, bring it to work and go food shopping for him on my own time the way another aide did. Mainly she was upset I was leaving when the client was happy with me. She was also upset I charged mileage even though it was stated in the contract.

It is rare that I give up on a case. I tend to like the people I work with. But I am learning it is okay to occasionally be selective. I need to do what is necessary for myself. And I have learned my needs have to come first because at the end of the day, I need to feel I have been a force for good.

I am not a quitter as a rule. I was on one case for 3 1/2 years where the Alzheimer’s affected woman would become violent when she didn’t want to do something like taking a shower. I loved this woman and was with her until her death.

However, I have learned there are always other caregivers to take over. I am not the only person who is competent. And I am more effective if I am happy in the case. I am less likely to suffer burnout if I feel like I am making a positive change. I always give my best, but life is a lot easier when you want to be where you are. Knowing your limits is essential. It is something I had to learn the hard way.


Staying Motivated when stuck

Lately I have been going through a period of indecision and lack of creativity. It is truly annoying and frustrating. I have been filled with discontent with my writing. My perennial insecurity has weaved itself into the fabric of my days. I don’t know about you but when I go through this period of abject moroseness I loose hope for a writing future.

I have spent my life battling insecurity. In the past few years, I have grown into myself, accepted myself for the person I have become. There have been many days of contentment. It was been wonderful coming from a lifetime of self-hate.

The problem with contentment is, for me, it doesn’t necessarily translate into productivity. Then, switching into a time when self-assessment is not that favorable, it is stressful and unproductive. I worry about the blog, whether I have lost it, if I can really move into content writing for a living.

Now I am waiting for the tide to turn. I went away for a few days to recharge. Hopefully, that will help although this morning it doesn’t seem to have. So please hang in there. I’ll get better. I worry about consistency in to future, whether my moods will determine whether I can work or not, but I also know this too shall pass. Be patient, something I need to learn for myself.

Listening when you need to be heard

“You are a great listener” she said. It is true, I know the value of listening but not always for the pleasure to hear. Sometimes I listen as the words clog my throat, choking me, dragging me into an abyss my placid exterior belies. I want to be there for the other person, but my need to be there for myself goes unobserved. A straight jacket encloses me – tight, threatening, suffocating.

As a caregiver, I spend much of my days listening. People need to be heard, especially those who live lives of silence with no one to hear them. The elderly have so very much to share. They are wise in the ways of the world. I love hearing them share their histories, to match the history to the person speaking it is sometimes incongruous and always insightful.

But then there are times when the words impatiently wait their turn but my voice box doesn’t work well enough to share them. I go through long stretches of time when I can’t speak my feelings. It is frustrating and anxiety producing. My lungs concave, the words lie restless and smoldering.

Some words will continue to lie unobserved. They would threaten relationships and circumstances. It is lonely and disheartening. I may smile and nod my head in approval but within I am churning. I crawl into my bed and pet my cat in mute appeal.

Women – what a wonderful mix

There are no limits on the number of fabulous women in the world.  In doing the research on my book, I am coming across so many women I wish I could focus more completely on but who don’t fit the parameters in my subject area . . . women who have gone through, traumatic, tragic experiences have become great and are doing great things as a result.

It has three parts. A tragic event occurs.  The person overcomes it or moves through it.  And because of the event (s), achieves greatness and helps others in the process. The thing I am experiencing is there are so many fabulous women in this world, doing remarkable things to help others.  Many are enabled by their status in the world to help whether they be celebrities who can attach their name to bring focus on a situation, or are from privileged or “normal” families and have not experienced the trauma of the magnitude I am looking for. To those, I have much admiration and gratitude for their services.

But I am finding these women who have been subjected to tragedies that would flatten most of us and went ahead to achieve brilliance.  Normal people faced with extraordinary experiences.  Women who have started out with hard lives faced more trauma, and gave their lives to making a better world for women or humankind.  I am humbled.

I look at these women and think of my own life, wishing I could have that extra something to do the things I always wanted to accomplish and never had the where with all or courage to reach out and work toward attainment.  But I am one of the millions who strive to do their best through their days, having ups and downs but walking onward.  Having little accomplishments that build upon each other.

Reading and writing about these women energizes me, fuels me.  Each time I find a new one I am like a parched and weary traveler who has found an oasis.  I drink of their accomplishments, of the terrors they have faced, of their energy and ability to sustain where others can only marvel.

Not to take away from men, but women desperately need leaders of their own sex to spur them onward, give them hope.  There are still too few true female leaders out there for us to latch on. They have to be world-renowned.  They can be becoming.  They can be carving out that nitch that needs exposing.  We can have History books devoted to what Women have achieved – about how History has been changed or impacted by the actions of Women.  Or, dare I say it, History books that equally represent the actions of women and men.

Take, for instance, Shirley Johnson in Tallahassee, Florida.  She began being raped when she was eight years old. At ten she became pregnant. At seventeen, she was the mother of six, married in name only.  By the time she was 27, she had 9 children with two husbands.  The first husband was the church deacon who was one of those raping her, whom she was forced to marry at age eleven.  She had to drop out of school when baby number six came along.  She was shamed and ridiculed within her church, the pastor of which was one of her rapists.  Her mother publicly accused her of lying about her attackers.

At age 56, she has found her voice.  She is fighting hard to make Florida become the first state in the Union to pass a law outlawing marriage, for any reason, before the age of eighteen. She is a caregiver, something she knows well how to do.  Nothing of privilege, she is only now receiving support in her endeavors from organizations for bringing the bill forward through the legislature.  To me, she is great.

It doesn’t take much to make a stand in this world.  You need only have a voice and be willing to use it.  You can be a ripple in the pond, sending other ripples outward.  Or be the butterfly’s wings in the Sahara that creates a hurricane in the Americas.  You can be like Mairead Maguire, who stepped out of her house to join a protest passing by and became a Nobel Peace Prize recipient for her work bringing peace first to Ireland and then to other countries.

It only takes a step . . . .

The Teeming Hordes

They come…the teeming hordes. Four thousand in one day and so many more to follow. Still, the debates go on, politicians spout their rhetoric, systems overflow. The answers? There are many and so few at once.

They are people,the same as you and me. Caught in a world they didn’t create. Chasing dreams or fleeing misery. Trapped at an imaginary line…thou shalt not cross.

In my twenties in New Jersey, I saw one person follow another on he long road to California. They had to go to the Promised Land. Six months later they’d come crawling back home, defeated. They were migrants of a kind.

Now, because of that imaginary line and another language, they are held to a different standard. The World is a much different place than in my twenties. Its gotten larger and smaller in one fell swoop. As we face global crisis’ of prejudice, violence, dominance, and misaligned monies, we are at once all peoples and none of the above.

Our politicians don’t want to let more people in, particularly those who come with hands extended in mute appeal. There are many with fear in their anger, wanting to separate, to hold onto what they have, always grasping for more. Many more who wave the flag with the colors of egoism and dominance – who fear that letting others in will leave them with less, even as we have low unemployment rates.

Our nation once held so much promise. In a land of immigrants, we have become exclusionary. We have so much to give. Yes, there are those who want, who go hungry or lack shelter but these are systemic woes that are to be addressed in every society.

What we are facing is a shift in cultural diversity…a sea change. Another language is more and more dominant. In our diversity, we are more insecure.

But this is a country founded on immigrants.. It is ironic, therefore, that we are such Separatists. We are undergoing a crisis of expectations over what our country is and who is in it. But everywhere in the world, this shift is happening.

Wherever there is wealth in comparison to other countries, immigrants are seeking new homes. Wherever people don’t have a voice, or money, or security, there will be conflict. In our country, those immigrants have reasons just as just as immigrants have always had. In fact, in many cases, they are even more just.

We have to learn to move over a bit…to welcome others in. At the same time we need to assist the countries they are leaving and make them more habitable. It is not a wall that we need but acceptance and political action.

We need to stop looking at this country as a static place. We have entered more fluid times. Unless we address the systemic problems of our southern neighbors, we will continue to face this influx of illegal aliens (a phrase full of exclusions in itself). The world is smaller, we need to look at ours as one continent as well as separate countries.

Until such time, we can be assured of facing more of the problems we are facing now. We have entered a new world order. It is time we stepped up to rationally address it with kindness and consideration.

She is Me and I am her

This is a post from guest writer, Barbara Osborn. I like her way with words.

Somewhere in the deep dark recesses of my being lay a wonder of a woman.  Untouched by humans as it were.  She lives free, dancing and celebrating the glory of aliveness.  She celebrates seasons and planets and earth; the dance of the galaxies in their splendor and the shooting stars. She is neither this nor that.  She just is.  She feels skin, softness, hurt, pain; she fights the unseen forces that dart at her, piercing her soul.  She cannot live that way, she wants only her freedom to create and draw a world that would envelop her in all her complexities and never see them as being wrong.  She is free to explore and indulge; over indulge and nurture herself, others and the world.  She is free to bring peace and heal and lay herself down on all the arrows and cruelness of the world.  She covers them with her body, disintegrating them, pushing them into the ground to be swallowed by the earth, never to be seen again.  She rises with her power to meet the sun whose glory shines all around her.  No one holds her back.  The idea has never been conceived.  She does not know of such things.  She runs in blaze with no clothes to constrict, no arm, no opinion to entangle, she runs.  She remembers the moist grass, the mountains and the sea; their sirens calling, calling.  She does not think of war and all the planes and ships that lay waste at the bottom of all oceans.  She could never approve of such evil.  There is only kindness and peace that lie within and without.  She favors her mother, her daughter; the ones along the way.  She lifts them up, encourages and inspires.  She is the one we want to be, the one that we fly with over the expanse of the universe, never tiring, bringing light and goodness.  She is filled with light, luminous shining wherever she goes and there is no darkness.  May we live in her light, in her freedom and know she is still there, waiting to rejoice when we come home.  She is me and I am her.

tHE yAZIDI

The Yazidi people are finally moving back into their ancestral villages and towns. They are faced with the daunting task of rebuilding their lives. But the women will no longer have to sacrifice their bodies to the machinations of ISIS warriors. The men can reclaim their rightful place in their society. Children can go back to school.

Regrettably, whole generations have been decimated. Children have been killed, women sterilized and made sex slaves, men maimed, older people eliminated. They will have to piece together their psyches even as they rebuild the physical structures of their communities. And they will have to find new markets for their wares. Farmers will face hungry times as they replant and wait for the next harvest

Their numbers are depleted, but these people have a powerful spirit. They have been victimized over the centuries and have remained intact. Genocide is not a new state – they have felt its sting again and again. But…they are finally free to return to the places they love. They can begin to reweave the tapestry of their lives. It will not be easy but they have faced worse and they can again live life on their own terms.

Acts of Sin

Sin finally understood,

bowed under the weight

of pervasive

thoughts and acts –

not being as attentive

to the needs of others,

leaving them feeling

undervalued and not appreciated,

Acts of contrition

leading Acts of omission

 

Spinning wheels,

chasing dreams

of saving the church building,

earning money for good works,

instead of strengthening my faith,

always seeking to worship the Creator

through attention to the Physical

 

Sin pervades my life –

spending more than I make,

seeking the ways of this Earth,

attending the festering

of want and desire,

never satisfied with simplicity

and the spareness

of a pure life

 

Am I a Martha

always working,

attending to the minutia,

concerned with the physical

not the esoteric and  spiritual,

instead of being Mary

sitting at the Lord’s feet

drinking in his words?

 

My mind finally open to Sin

I can not evade it

it worms into my consciousness,

pervading my psyche,

filling me with shame,

my skin crawling with remorse

 

What will it take

to enter the Kingdom of God

on this lowly ground I walk?

Now that I know Sin,

understanding that Purity

will never be within reach,

how will I stretch beyond futility

to enter communion

with the Spirit?

Must I ever walk through my days

with this heavy, squirming heart

of remorse, ever failing

to see the Light?

Where is Hope

in this life weighed down

by Sin?