Tag Archives: health

An offering of Hope on Wednesday

I was reading through some blogs last evening and came across a reference to “Reasonable Hope,” a concept from the work of Kaethe Weingarten. Google helped me learn some more about Kaethe and provided some links to this concept she has developed and which piqued my curiosity.

I followed this link and read about this organisation which had begun to explore and work with these aspects of “reasonable hope”

Reasonable hope can help us build a bridge to creating more authentic hope in our lives even in the midst of challenging circumstances, uncertainty and even despair.
Weingarten identified five characteristics of reasonable hope, which we are understanding and interpreting in the following ways:

Relational. Hope happens between things and in relationships. It is held, shared, communicated, birthed. It shifts and moves, waxes and wanes, as we interact with ourselves, each other and our environment. It can be likened to the African concept of “Ubuntu,” which Archbishop Desmond Tutu described as “being enveloped in the community of other human beings, in being caught up in the bundle of life.” Hope is like this, caught up in bundles of shared experience.

Is something to be practiced. Hope is a verb more than a noun. Rather than an internal feeling we have or we don’t, hope is a quality we can actively cultivate through the choices we make. Hope is an ongoing process, something we practice in the here and now—not something we passively wish for in the future—that makes us more “hope” prone.

Sees the future as open, uncertain, influenceable. An uncertain future creates space for change, growth and transformation. It opens the door to possibilities beyond our current expectations. Hope is a process where “the soul turns toward a light which it does not yet perceive, a light yet to be born,” as is eloquently described by the French philosopher Gabriel Marcel.

Seeks goals and pathways. Reasonable hope is both practical and fluid. It looks for what goals can be accomplished now (and identifies ways to get there) and adjusts as new possibilities and pathways become available.

Accommodates doubt, contradictions and despair. When understood as a dynamic, moment-to-moment practice, hope can be messy and spacious. It can hold the whole of our lives with all of its losses, joys, setbacks and surprises. Instead of closing our eyes and making a wish, we can open our eyes wider and turn toward a light that may not yet be born.

Reasonable hope is only one of many ways we can bring hope into seemingly hopeless situations. A bridge from what is true now to a place where we can dream and hope again.

Hope has been a word on my lips so often lately that this expansion has proved to be both comforting and illuminating to me. Sharing ways to become more “hope prone” is such a positive gift to us all.

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Paws and Pause

There has been a pause in my blogging in the past wee while. In part it has been due to the owner of these paws.
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Jazz, our cat, is almost 15 years old and in the past 3 months ageing has suddenly impacted on him. We knew earlier this year that he has arthritis in his lower spine which means he can no longer spring nimbly and strongly using his back legs.
Then in August his pain levels increased and it was discovered that he had slipped a disc in his back in a different area of his spine. With advice and treatment from the vet that has healed up. However we then noticed he was limping on his front leg/s. X rays show that he has quite severe degeneration in his front elbows and their elbows take a fair percentage of a cat’s weight as they move about.

So Jazz is sore and stiff and now an indoor cat on various medications to support him and keep him as comfy as we can. He has always been a very sociable and lively cat. Not one to sleep contentedly in the garden. Neighbours often reported his visits and some of the neighbours lived a fair distance away. I think Jazz has worn out, not rusted out, as the saying goes.
Increasing the care of a cat requires increased observation, clock watching to time pain relief, tempting an appetite now borne of suspicion about what else might be added in to the food, encouraging more water consumption during hot days in a hot house and of course lots of extra patting and attention.

Jazz does send his Christmas Greetings however having settled for some of today in this Christmas hamper box:-)
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At the same time I have been hobbling with a sore left knee. I too have some degenerative changes and up until late November there was a mysterious “loose body” that appeared on images of the joint. After several unpleasant locking incidents this year I agreed to an arthroscopy. The “loose body” was deftly plucked out and I am pleased to report that my knee is feeling much freer and lighter.

My challenge now is to get my knee moving fully again after all the hobbling about. The joint has become stiff and reluctant to straighten and bend fully. So exercises are a big part of my daily routine now. Holding on to the kitchen bench is a great place for knee exercises and I am on increasingly friendly terms with my physiotherapist. As well I am walking further each day as I rebuild my fitness, stamina and remind my brain to walk normally again.

A waiting time

Tuesday was one of those surreal days when the usual routines are put on hold and breathing needs to be remembered. A family member required some surgery on a limb after a sports injury.

Tight time keeping was the focus of the day’s beginnings to ensure all instructions were followed and check-in was completed.

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Time then ballooned out into waiting, waiting, waiting. The clock was watched and minds wondered about the call to the operating theatre and when that would come.

That point of hugs, whispered words and a long ride away down a long corridor came. For the support crew time again slowed as calculations were made and fears were encouraged to quieten.

A walk in the hospital grounds had some appeal to help reduce the feeling of simply hanging around,
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to search out some light and colour,
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and to try sitting patiently in nature.
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Shadows threatened to seep in again
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but here were reminders of just how many hands were reaching out to help
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and fingers skilled at repairing and healing were working for the best.
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Relief flooded us all with the patient’s return and with a positive report.
Perspectives cleared with focus returning to a more outward view.
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Salt of the earth

The phrase “salt of the earth” is often used to describe a person who is of great worth and reliability.

But a year or so ago I was told about Himalayan Pink Salt which is very nutritious and reputedly very good for stabilizing blood pressure. Low blood pressure can be an issue here in the family so I went on the hunt to find the mysterious salt that is dug out of the foothills of the Himalayas in Pakistan.

I eventually located a bag from a health food shop in a suburb 20 minutes away. The price was nominal and the packaging told me that “Himalayan Crystal Salt was originally noticed by Alexander the Great, when his horses and men, weary and dying after many battles and journeys, instinctively began ingesting the salt. Almost immediately they revived and famously, Alexander bartered much of his gold for salt.”

I now buy the salt from our local Pauatahanui Rural Trading Post. The owner there told me that local horse owners swear by this salt and the horses love their salt licks made from this natural earth salt.

The second package tells me that it is a “natural source of over 84 minerals and trace elements including iodine and selenium.” Apparently it has a “unique crystalline structure that makes it easy for the body to absorb.”

Fortunately we were not in a depleted state when we began to use this salt for cooking and sprinkling on our food so any improvements in our health have been more difficult to observe but New Zealand soils are very low in selenium and with iodine present in a kind form for our bodies to absorb it seems a good thing to keep using.

Enjoy the moment, cease the rush

I am having an “at home” day today with a list of chores to attend to. It is so easy to let my busy “monkey mind” take control and push me along to “get on” with things.

But then a useful check to all this happened as I was having a cup of coffee and answering emails. Jazz, our cat, came inside and promptly claimed my knee. It would have been easy to move him on as my mind was reminding me of the next chore but I chose to sit quietly with him and to enjoy his purring and relaxation on my knee.
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Research shows that patting a cat reduces blood pressure and has other wonderfully calming effects on we “busy” humans. I decided all that was worth capturing and maybe cats get great benefits from human love and attention. Who knows?

In true cat style he suddenly decided to move onto a chair next to me. He groomed a little and then curled up to sleep.

But moments had been enjoyed and the “rush” slowed

Stress management tips for Friday

Here are a few tips to reduce stress that I have found in a pile of resources today. They seem worth sharing and even having a laugh over perhaps:

 States of chronic alertness result in the storage of unused adrenalin, sugar, lactate, urine and hormones
 Have a good laugh or cry
 Recall your successes, they can help you through your defeats
 Loosen your jaw, let it sag
 Let your shoulders drop
 Relax your hair and scalp
 Uncurl your fingers and toes
 Let your stomach hang out!
 Slow down your breathing. Fill your stomach with breath as if it was a frog’s.
 Set time aside each day to do something slowly and just for yourself
 Say “No” to a demand on your time.
 Take some time out for you over the coming weekend

Monday catch up

So what has been going on in my ordinary world? The past two weeks have certainly offered some very extraordinary times as well as the ordinary and mundane.
 From the evening of Sunday 14th August until Tuesday 16th August we experienced 3 dramatic snowfalls. Snow fell in our garden overnight in 1995 but it is extreme weather that brings it this close to sea level. This event was at the high end of extreme and the snow lay in patches on the local hills a week later.
 Once the snow clouds had moved on, the rain clouds arrived on the back of freezing gale force winds and it rained almost incessantly for four days. We were very thankful for the heater that powered on through numerous power surges.

 In the midst of this our cat who has had indifferent health for over a year now needed to have a fleet of tests. The final ones required x-rays and ultrasound to be taken. The skilful vet was able to aspirate a fluid filled cyst on the side of the cat’s pancreas and we crossed our fingers that this would perk him up. This cat should be named “Trooper” because that is what he is. He has more than used up 9 lives and has pulled through many different ailments and injuries. It is a joy to see him looking so much better.
 For now the cat is looking chipper, feeling comfortable, eating well and reminding me constantly of how strong the life force can be. Here he is in healthier times enjoying the new carpet and a gentle breeze wafting up the hallway.

 We had booked a short holiday from 22nd August, returning 26th August. The weather shone upon us every day with intense blue skies, sunshine and warmth.
 We stayed for two nights in a cottage just out of Masterton and really enjoyed walking around Henley Lake and the next day visiting the stunning Pukaha, Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre.
 On Wednesday we traveled through the northern part of the Wairarapa and on to Hastings where we stayed in another cottage on a lifestyle block. This part of the trip saw us visit my elderly father-in-law and enjoy a meal out with him and other local family.
 We headed home on Friday, having to make a detour back to Pahiatua to get across the high hills to the western side of our island. The detour was caused by a massive slip in the Manawatu Gorge, shutting the road we would normally travel. The slip was a result of the snow and heavy rain that our island had experienced the previous week, coupled with very unstable rock and soil in that steep sided gorge.
 Unfortunately we have all returned home with a virus causing two of the three of us a reasonably high degree of misery. Our weekend was a very quiet one to help enable us to heal up.
 Evidence of spring was everywhere on our holiday. Most visible were the numbers of lambs in fields, daffodils in clusters and clumps and blossom on trees. The photo below is ornamental plum blossom in Havelock North, Hawkes Bay. By the time we returned spring was showing its face more strongly in our garden too.