§ We came to this world to LIVE OUT LOUD.
5 Lessons I Learned From Taking Care of My Father
As I sit on the plane from Orlando to Bogota, Colombia after spending a very intense week in Florida, I’m exhausted. There were many ups and downs as my dad slowly began to recover from his stroke and open heart surgery. My mom and I celebrated every improvement and worried over every downturn and the intensity has taken a toll.
I’m also very, very happy that I was able to spend this time with my parents. I re-learned so many old lessons which I would love to share with you:
1. Attitude and mindset is everything. There were some really tough moments this past week but as I found myself looking at challenges as opportunities for learning and growth, the entire experience shifted. I could see the beauty and the moments of grace in all that was happening around me, even when it wasn’t very pretty.
2. Self-care is fundamental and comes first. My mom and I set up a routine. She got up early and went straight to the hospital. I, on the other hand, hate getting up early. I made sure I slept my 8 hours, then got up, meditated, worked out, coached a couple of clients and made it to the hospital by noon to relieve my mom. I stayed at the hospital until 7 or 8 pm most evenings but having taken care of myself first, I was able to have energy and a positive outlook even in the hardest moments.
3. There is no better investment in yourself and your life than personal growth. My parents and I have been through a lot together. And truth be told, there were many years when I was young when I just wanted to get away from them (and they from me, probably.) But we stuck with it and always put family first no matter how challenging it all got. I did tons of personal growth work until forgiveness replaced blame and love replaced anger. The resulting inner peace is priceless!
4. Work is best when it’s a passion and a vocation. I actually learned this one from my beloved grandmother many years ago. For her, being a cardiologist was a calling. It took me many years to find my vocation but I can now honestly say that I love my work and I feel better about myself and the world when I’m doing it. It’s my way to connect to what’s important in life. I took some time to coach a few clients this past week and this time nourished and inspired me. It gave me the strength to attend to my dad in his most difficult moments. What more can I ask for?
5. It’s so important to have passions and a sense of purpose in life. My dad’s passionate about his friends, community, boating and fishing. And it was these passions that got him through the hardest moments. My dad could barely move his left side after the stroke. However, thinking about how he wanted to get on his boat again and go fishing made him work extra hard to try and squeeze his exercise ball and what do you know… After a few days, he is able to walk and lift his left arm from the shoulder down. Huge progress! That’s the power of having a passion.
I take these lessons to heart and share them with you in the hope that they spark something in you. What have life’s tough moments taught you?
I would also love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment below.