A Buddhist Grief Observed

A Buddhist Grief Observed by Guy Newland is a thought provoking, valuable book which I just finished reading and highly recommend.

I picked this little book up to scan it for a series of caregiver talks that I have been giving, more specifically to focus on end of life care, and I found that I got deeply immersed in it. The wide breadth of the author’s knowledge about Buddhism combined with his down to earth, conversational manner makes for a surprisingly profound read. It is the kind of  book that can be opened at any point, but there is a story, a progression, which reaches a definite dramatic conclusion. This happens when the author gives his first talk about grief after his wife has passed away. The book goes on to give practical advice about being with loss and helping those who are grieving, shows how to avoid common pitfalls, and shares the worldview of one who is bereaved but willing to share his knowledge and experience for the benefit of others. It is a treasure, not to be missed.

The eulogy is beautifully written, the resources and notes are invaluable – each could serve as the basis for a years research work. I thank the author for sharing them with us.

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St. Raphael – Patron Saint of Medical Workers

At Caregiver Revolution we advocate including spirituality into  your work. Whatever spiritual tradition you believe in, go for it! It will give  you strength and  conviction. Of course you respect other’s beliefs and realize that your practice is your practice and mine is mine…or I may have none at all. Honor the dignity of every being, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, that is the highest spiritual work!

St. Raphael is one of the seven Archangels who stand before the throne of the Lord, and one of the only three mentioned by name in the Bible. He appears, by name, only in the Book of Tobit. Raphael’s name means “God heals.” This identity came about because of the biblical story that claims he “healed” the earth when it was defiled by the sins of the fallen angels in the apocryphal book of Enoch.

straphaelthearchangelAlthough only the archangels Gabriel and Michael are mentioned by name in the New Testament, the Gospel of John speaks of the pool at Bethesda, where many ill people rested, awaiting the moving of the water. “An angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under” John 5:1-4. Because of the healing powers often linked to Raphael, the angel spoken of is generally associated with St. Raphael, the Archangel.

St. Raphael is the patron saint of travelers, the blind, bodily ills, happy meetings, nurses, physicians and medical workers. He is often pictured holding a staff and either holding or standing on a fish. His feast day is celebrated on September 29, along with St. Michael and St. Gabriel. Thank you Catholic.org

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Every Healthcare Provider is a Caregiver!


deathbed 2Every clinician is a caregiver. Our book, Caregiver Revolution is for family caregivers and professionals. With our new clinical education initiative you will see how our tips, tools and techniques are applicable to the clinical environment.

Take for instance “matching the mood of a room.” Any experienced nurse will tell you that she instinctively does this. When she walks into a room she is never overly aggressive or loud because the important thing is to relate to the patient, the situation, and the patient will indicate how to do that. Of course we all love patients who like to joke around or families who are having fun, but generally, when entering a room in most cases we are quiet and respectful of the patient’s space. 

You have to keep patient care as your beacon, your North Star. It is the most important thing. You will get to your documentation. Patient care is your number one goal and that will keep you in line with your original reasons for going into this profession. You wanted to help people, right?

Try some simple mindfulness techniques when on the job. If you can take a deep breath as you enter a room, repeat an affirmation, or try to bring all of your focus on a small task it will help you to be more present with your patient, more focused on his or her situation and less distracted by yours. I guarantee that your patient will sense this and appreciate it. 

keeping a journal for caregiversThese are just three small ways that the tips provided in Caregiver Revolution are applicable to conditions in any health care environment. We will post many more of these simple practical suggestions, oriented to the clinical environment. Meanwhile see our caregiver tips link above and please leave feedback – we value your input on this!

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Empowering Seniors: Upcoming Caregiver Conference

Caregiver Revolution will have an exhibitor table and I’m pleased to say that I will be giving the closing speech “Caregiver Revolution: Taking Better Care of Yourself and Others at the End of Life” at the JFS Caregiver Conference October 28th, 2016. This is a great conference, the largest one of its kind in Ulster County. I hope that you can attend!


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Every Day A Holy Day by Barbara Haynes


everyday a holy dayLooking forward to receiving what looks like a wonderful, useful book. I will post a review very soon, but  for now visit the Every Day A Holy Day facebook page!

Every Day A Holy Day is an excellent manual for the use of serious spiritual seekers who understand the importance of “being there” as a gateway to spiritual maturity and to the integration of spiritual experience in ordinary life.

Rather than add special activities into our life under the banner of spiritual practices, this book demonstrates how to effortlessly fold spirituality into life. It offers 121 exercises that can be done effortlessly and without beingnoticed anywhere, anytime.

Every Day a Holy Day is not about having a peak experience, although these exercises can be a catalyst for this. Rather, it points us to a way to live our lives, to be one with our environment and the people with whom we relate. The book offers a lifetime of keys in the guise of exercises, experiments and practices to keep unlocking the doors and deepening our relationship to our heart’s desire.

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What Will Happen Today?

Last night just before the Group Orb Run, I pulled a book off the shelf, opened it up and this is what it said. While it is ringing in my head I thought I should share it:

Familiarization is the strength that comes to us when we take the teachings to heart, becoming familiar with them by using them over and over. When we wake up in the morning and start our bodhichitta training anew, what will we use as material? Just our usual day in all its variations – pleasant, unpleasant, or simply mundane.

book signing partyWhat will happen to us today is completely unknown, as unknown as what will happen at death. Whatever happens, our commitment is to use it to awaken our heart. As one of the slogans says: “All activities should be done with one intention.” That intention is to realize our connection with all beings.

And so, that is  one thing that could be happening today, and I  hope that is is a very good day for you!

The Places that Scare You – Pema Chodron, page 84

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