I am a lert, a dult, and a dept. Silly, silly. But recently, reading a book about mindfulness, or awareness, I remembered how, during periods of life and death stress throughout those shelter years, I used to find my way to a helpful meditative state with a mantra built on those words. Reminding myself that I was alive, alert, aware, adept, adult.
In my thirties, I worked at a battered women’s shelter. The program’s acronym was ALIVE. Alternatives to Living in Violent Environments. Awkward full title, for the sake of the initials. During the four years that I worked there, I got into some fun word games with words beginning with A. I did have a silly lover at the time, and lots of word-learning people (kids) in my life, so this worked. We played at creating new nouns.
You know, repeating those five words still makes me feel calmer, more mindful, and in control of my life.
These days I do yoga, or sit in Quaker silence. I walk the dog.
Then I go to my clients and my co-workers, keeping my alive alert aware adept adult self as engaged as I can. Mindfulness is not always easy. Some clients are complicated. Some communications feel less than fully adult. Sometimes my best is not good enough for a particular case, and other members of our work team have to step up. I have to accept that I’m not adept at everything, not strong enough for everything. My specialties are people with dementia, cleaning, errands. I’m excellent at providing companionship, less skilled at lifting people, using bedpans, and other nursing assistant duties. But, I will step up, try anything, be a team player, and then take the bench when I need to. This is being an adult.
Caregiving schedules can be erratic and in the past couple weeks I’ve gotten up too early way too often. My night owl bio-rhythms are set in stone by this point in life. My most precious dreams arrive between six and nine in the morning. I’m explaining, not complaining, because I know the calendar will tip another direction soon (tomorrow.) But, listen! Here’s one more happy silly word to add to my definitions for myself. I intend to enjoy it immensely. I am a sleep.
I am remembering now, with my full mind, the children (Hi, dearest Miya, Erik, Megan, Sarah, Jenny, Michelle!) and what fun we had with the words and surely being a sleep must conjure the joke of being a sheep, and what kind of animal are you? I was “Aunt Turtle” then. The children called me on this if I ever tried to get them to stop dawdling. I was supposed to be slow, if I was a turtle. Now I am a lice. A silly bug! I miss us and all those goofy years.
Thanks, anyone reading, for giving me a reason to do this playful thinking and the time travel of memories. Now, really, I am a sleep.
two blog update notes:
1-My writing schedule has posting on this blog as a weekly event and I am sticking to it, even if it requires silliness. 2- Someone told me Bobby the missing man with Alzheimer’s was found. This should help the world, or at least me and Bobby’s family, sleep better!