I've come across a book that has absolutely nothing to do with caregiving. However, the first chapter made me weep. The little girl the author describes was me, the caregiver to be.
Written by Annette Colby, Ph.D., Your Highest Potential is a book about living your dreams, no matter how many detours you encounter in life. I truly believe my caregiving years were meant to be. I spent two decades caring for seven elders. It was just there to do and I did it. I also have a son with health issues, and that has meant ongoing caregiving.
However, as life would have it, those twenty years helped me fulfill my dream of writing a book. I hope to write more. Have I yet reached my highest potential? I hope not. I intend to keep growing. To give myself credit, I was open to what I could learn, and that helped me as my dreams continued to unfold, even as my life was controlled by caregiving.
Caregivers, this is for you. Colby's book reminds the reader that we all are made up of mind, body and spirit. All elements need to be cared for. Highest Potential could be dismissed as pop culture psychology. It does play into current thought that you are what you think.
However, I believe that theory isn't so new. It's just that, because of today's fast communication, it's become a sort of buzz term. That can be lethal to a good idea. Do I agree with every word of Colby's philosophy? Not totally. We are all unique, and will have our own approach to life and spirituality. But Colby gives the reader a lot to think about. Don't dismiss this book because you may not agree with every word.
Most of us have heard, "You are what you eat." There's some truth to this, when it comes to body care. So why, when you consider your mind and spirit, would you not become what you dwell on?
Colby says, "What you are is what you share. Depressed people share depression...Excited people share excitement..."
How does this work into caregiving? When you think, "This isn't what I would have chosen. I always dreamed I would..." Okay, you fill in the blank.
I will admit that I read Colby's book when I needed to read something that wasn't about brain chemistry, Alzheimer's, dementia or death. I needed to remind myself that I am still alive and, while I'm a caregiver, I'm also living my life - or should be. Caregiver support and senior issues have become a career for me. I love it. I was born to do it. This book helped me realize that I am living my dream. Dreams are organic. Mine's a bit different than I envisioned a few decades ago, but I remain open to each new possibility.
And that's what caregiver's need to do. Be open to help and respite. Be open to letting someone else take over the caregiving for a little while, while you do the tiniest thing for yourself. That tiny thing may be one small step toward a lifelong dream. Or it may be reading an encouraging, inspiring book like Your Highest Potential, so you can remember how important it is to get in touch with your soul. This book was a mini-vacation for me. It may be just what your body, mind and spirit need. This one is for you!
Your Highest Potential is available in select bookstores and online.
Published On: August 25, 2008