28 Simple Practices for Inspired Influencers, Part 3
Our #GivingTuesday Countdown Challenge
13 practices down. 15 to go.
Today, our focus is on Practices 14-20. As I said in Part 1 of this 4-blog series, we see GivingTuesday (December 3) as a chance to engage lots of different people in crucial conversations about care and support – not just those of us on the inside of the issue. This series of 28 simple practices is designed for each and every one of us, no matter how we show up as a care partner in daily life. If you’ve been following along, you know the drill… your job is to apply what you read here during the week and notice what comes up along the way.
If you haven’t already, please like our Facebook page, as these practices will be posted there each week too. This makes it so easy for you to share them far and wide – don’t hold back!
PRACTICE #14 (Monday, November 18): Be fully present. Our wild world is full of distractions. Technology lures us into a maze of multi-tasking. We have created a culture of short attention spans. But here’s the deal. Deeply satisfying care partnerships rest primarily on one thing… our ability to be fully present in any given moment. If you don’t already have a mindfulness practice, try this simple 5-minute exercise. Go outside, set a phone timer for 5 minutes. Now notice everything you see, hear, smell, and touch. Gather every sensory detail you possibly can about what’s right there in front of you. That’s a lot of data, right? Now imagine what you can pick up about another person without saying a word by doing the very same thing in their presence. Not only does this support your “good detective” skills (Practice#7), but it builds trust. People of all abilities can feel when you are fully present with them, and they can sense when you are not. Authentic care partnerships depend as much on the quality of our non-verbal interactions, as they do on the exchange of words. Being fully present also attunes us to what’s really happening and not to our assumptions, projections or judgments.
PRACTICE #15 (Tuesday, November 19): Get in touch with gratitude. Care partnership can have its ups and downs. When we feel like we’re in over our heads or we can’t shake the blues, lean into what feels abundant in your life. Consider starting a gratitude journal. When you wake each day, jot down at least 5 things you are grateful for in that moment. Notice how continuing this practice impacts you over time. The idea here is not to gloss over the very real feelings you are having, but rather to make space for the wholeness of your experience. All of these things are true in this moment. A Harvard Health publication highlights research that shows that gratitude reflection increases happiness and better health in general. So, here’s to giving thanks!
PRACTICE #16 (Wednesday, November 20): Prevent task-doing from taking over. You know what they say about too much of a good thing. Let’s face it, getting things done feels good. We get to check them off our list and drive on. As employees or family members, task-doing can be seductive, because tasks are something we can actually control. The shadow side of task-doing, though, is when it interferes with building relationships. When it comes to care that puts the person first, relationships are what it’s all about. So, notice when task-doing might be taking over. If tasks call, then find a way to do them together that also invites you to genuinely connect with each other. Like we say at The Eden Alternative: It’s not about adding to what you do. It’s about doing what you already do, differently.
PRACTICE #17 (Thursday, November 21): Create space for the unexpected. Think that a consistent routine is the bedrock of giving good care? Think again. Doing the same old thing day in and day out – no matter who you are or what abilities you live with – is fertile ground for boredom. Boredom withers the human spirit. It is the pain we feel when our lives lack spontaneity and variety. Some of the most memorable, deeply moving, and transformative times with my father happened when I made space for the unexpected. It is these times that helped me grow the most as his care partner and open to what he could teach me. How do you make space for unexpected?
PRACTICE #18 (Friday, November 22): Notice what brings meaning to daily life. As you move through your day, notice what feels meaningful to you… just you. What fills your cup? Jot it all down and take it in. Notice how this list might differ from someone else’s list that you know. Experiencing meaning is essential to human life. What’s meaningful to me may mean nothing to you… this is what makes us unique. Honoring and upholding what’s meaningful in our own lives and in the lives of others is a celebration of our personhood. Here’s the rub… care that’s based on a “one size fits all” approach destroys meaning for the people it touches. Focusing more on tasks than on relationships (Practice #16) also strips away meaning. As care partners to each other, we must take a stand for what’s meaningful to each of us and bring it to life on a daily basis.
PRACTICE #19 (Saturday, November 23): Distinguish BEING from DOING. Our culture values DOING over BEING. Ever notice that when people meet for the first time, one of the questions we hear most often is “What do you DO?” And yet… we are called human BEINGS. BEING is a vital part of what it means to be human. We find clarity and meaning in BEING. Learning to BE makes it possible to be present (Practice #14) to what’s happening around you, really see the person you are with (Practice #7), and notice what’s working right now that you can build on (Practices #11 and 12). Equally important, BEING helps us get in touch with ourselves. It helps us see when we are out of balance, or when our self-care needs attention. Reflect on the balance of BEING and DOING in your own life. Then, do the same for your care partnership. Begin to bring more attention to how this balance supports well-being in your relationship with yourself and with others.
PRACTICE #20 (Sunday, November 24): Identify and support simple pleasures. Is it that cup of joe in the morning? Is it walking along the beach? The morning walk with the dog? Dancing like nobody’s watching? You know what your simple pleasures are. They bring meaning to our days and joy to our lives. But what you may not know is that research reveals that engaging in your simple pleasures can actually boost your immune system. This goes for everyone on the care partner team. As a care partner to someone who cannot advocate for themselves or who may feel challenged to ask for what they need, it’s our job to help them identify, support, and protect their right to experience their own simple pleasures. Name your simple pleasures or help someone list theirs – challenge each other to experience a simple pleasure every day.
Donate today to our #GivingTuesday campaign or “Text to Give” by sending “Edenalt” to 44321.