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Tapping the Wellspring of Time and
by Dr. Marie DiCowden
Being a caregiver makes demands on
your body, mind and spirit. Failure to take care of
ourselves results in a failure to be able to care of
Caregivers commonly explain that there never seems to be
enough time. Ironically, though, the more we take time
to take care of ourselves, the more time we will have
for what we need to do for ourselves and for others. If
you don't believe it, let me suggest you consider an
experiment. Try to consistently apply the things talked
about in this article for two or three months and see
what happens. At worst, nothing will change. At best,
you may find everything changes, and life can be filled
Over the last 20 years, extensive research, at Harvard
and other prestigious universities, has shown that only
20 minutes of daily meditation has dramatic effects on
physical health. Meditation has been shown to lower
blood pressure, cholesterol, and the occurrence of heart
disease, while it improves the immune system, and
enhances physical response to chronic diseases such as
diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
Learning how to meditate on a periodic basis throughout
the day is most effective. Five or ten minutes here or
there--or even one-minute "monastic moments"--can be the
most effective way to handle stresses and time
limitations. The key is to learn how to turn the mind
off and tap into the wellspring of limitless time and
1.Find a space where you will be free for a few moments
from distraction. It may need to be when other people in
your home are asleep or out of the house. Make an
agreement with yourself that you will try to meditate
for a specific amount of time, at first usually for no
longer than 10 minutes.
2.Sit in a comfortable spot. It is better to sit up than
lie down. While sleep is good for you, it is not the
same as meditation.
3.Now, simply notice your breath. Don't try to control
it or think about it. Just notice it. Are you breathing?
Is it shallow? Is it fast? Is it punctuated with heavy
sighs? That's right. . . whatever it is. . . just let
4.If thoughts come into your mind don't try to stop
them, just let them go. See your thoughts as you might
look into the sky and see clouds passing. They come and
they go. Thoughts come and go the same way--it is only
for a few moments.
5.Stay focused on the breath going in and out of your
body. Just breathe. In these few moments, all you need
to focus on is your breath.
Do this 5-10 minutes a day. Eventually you will be able
to expand to longer periods of time. You may choose to
meditate for 10 minutes in the early part of the day and
10 minutes before you go to bed, or in the afternoon.
There is never a wrong or bad time to meditate.
It sounds very simple and like such small thing. But it
is the first step in a lifelong process that will have a
profound impact on your ability to care for yourself and
others. Meditation does take practice, and there is
never a wrong way to do it. As you become more
experienced, it gets easier and easier to find that
exhilarating and peace-filled silence.