“Each time we drop our masks and meet heart to heart… Each time we are able to remain open to suffering, despite our fear and defensiveness, we sense a love in us which becomes increasingly unconditional… Awakening from our sense of separateness is what we are called to do in all things.”- Ram Dass

The practice of caregiving is changing as our culture ages and evolves. An old paradigmatic understanding of this practice involves a unilateral, unidirectional expression of support offered from the caregiver to the subject. However, as one develops more sophistication about the energetic exchanges between people, it becomes apparent that much more is actually happening during the interchange. From my experience, it is impossible for two people to interact intimately and not have complex and often unconscious forces operating on the dyad. As the individuals become more sensitive to the subtleties, the caregiver may be in to notice either an infusion or depletion of the respective energy fields. It is the essential for the caregiver to explore these shifts in emotional and/or physical well-being if one is to be calm a more conscious care practitioner. It is only when these energetic shifts are perceived and acknowledged that the source of these effects can be understood. This is the process of self–reflection and Knowing Oneself. The better one knows one’s self, the more satisfying relating to others will be and the more effected the caregiving relationship.

I believe that an individual’s ability to render care effectively is directly related to his or her capacity for intimacy. This capacity is initially nurtured during infancy by the primary parental relationship. There is also a karmic imprint with which the soul is incarnated, but that is for a different discussion. Although the parents are central to influencing the initial imprinting once the soul is incarnated, there will be many subsequent surrogates throughout the course of one’s life who will contribute to this capacity. I believe that developing one’s capacity to love oneself and others is the work of most souls for the lifetime; the karma is the dharma.

In my personal experience, the identical imprints from my primary maternal relationship have recurred in every significant relationship where deep love has been present. In other words the unresolved issues from my primary relationship has been operant in every subsequent intimate interaction. As these patterns became more conscious, the healing of these issues was possible. This is why it is essential that one does their Shadow work if they are to evolve spiritually and have satisfying intimate relationships. As the unresolved issues become resolved, the amount of suffering the individual experiences significantly decreases.

My spiritual development involved both the physical body and the mind. Relatively early in life I chose the field of psychology as my life work, or what feels more accurate is psychology chose me. In my experience, many people choose psychology because it is they themselves who need healing and my situation was no different. As I have stated in previous blog entries, my relationship with my mother was complicated. Accordingly, every subsequent surrogate for healing this primal issue in my life reflected these complications, whether they were school teachers, coaches, therapists, husbands, or in my later years caregivers. Although my mother clearly cared about me, my relationship with her was neither warm nor nurturing. The resulting vulnerability required much psychological healing in order for wholeness to prevail. The subsequent surrogates provided a virtual tag team in order to assure future health and stability. A good deal of the unconscious material, the unresolved issues from childhood, surface with my husbands who provided much mirroring of my unexamined Shadow. It is important to note that this mirroring process is excruciating while the material remains unconscious. During my later years, caregivers would provide this mirroring in order for healing to occur. In such an intimate relationship, I cannot emphasize enough the need to become aware of unconscious dynamics in order to alleviate unnecessary suffering. Any assistance 1one can secure along the way can bring tremendous healing.

During his last year, I have attracted a circle of caregivers including five women and three men. We meet tri-weekly with a facilitator whose role is to mirror, reflect, and witness. She coined the phrase “care partnering.” As integral parts of the system we all give and receive healing consciously. Each individual is interested in his/her own healing and spiritual growth. It has become increasingly apparent to all in the members of the circle that we have come together to consciously co-create a new paradigm for caregiving. The care circle is a moving, growing organism that feels more like a hologram than a collection of individuals. With the collective intention for increasing awareness of our archaic wounds, the healing manifests and the group level as well as with each individual. There is a synergy that appears to be happening with this level of collective intention.

As baby boomers age, there will be more of a need for caregiving. It has been shown that keeping the elderly and/or disabled in their own homes is both economical and compassionate. It has been satisfying to witness the level of presence engendered by each member of our circle spread to other individuals in need of care in our community. I hope this can serve as a model for a new paradigm for offering care.

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