“What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No not just for some but for everyone.”
(1965 popular song –lyrics by Hal David and music composed by Burt Bacharach)
This is Dana Rubin-Winkelman, the social worker. I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.
In this week’s “Touch Points” email I want to talk about Shalom, which means peace in Hebrew. As our world, our communities and homes begin to open up slowly, and “bounce back,” most of us are having all kinds of feelings. This is a normal, and together, we will find the strength, patience and compassion to move forward. Although we cannot change aspects of this pandemic, we do have control in how we respond. So, today, we will discuss simple ways we can add “shalom” into our home and into the world. By intentionally choosing how we react, we will heal our souls and begin repairing the world- “Tikkun Olam.” As always, for those of you caring for someone with memory loss, I have peppered ideas throughout this email to support you and to enhance your day.
CHOOSING SHALOM/PEACE- MOVING TOWARD LOVE AND KINDNESS:
- Let’s Start at Home- Creating “Shalom Bayit”- Shalom Bayit translates to peace in the home. Usually, this refers to a peaceful relationship between partners in a home. However, today, I am using it a little more liberally. Even when you are with the right partner, staying at home for an extended time is not easy. So, creating shalom bayit needs daily work. Of course, there are many things we can do, but today, I will focus on communication. An easy way to show the person in your home you care, respect and love them is by listening. I know you are thinking to yourself, “Okay Dana, that is so obvious! I do that already.” I know it sounds simple, but in actuality, it’s not! The kind of listening I am referring to is giving your loved one your complete attention (phone away and no other distractions- which is a difficult proposition in my home! Oy vey), providing good eye contact, and (most importantly!) allowing the person to speak without interruption. You will be amazed, if you are patient and listen in this attentive way; the interaction will be relaxed and joyful. After all, we all want to be heard and understood. This is also true for people caring for someone with memory loss. Being patient, calm and looking at the person when he/she speaks will enable you to think about the feelings behind the words. This is also a way to treat your loved one with dignity and respect.
However, some people are unable to have peace in their home. If you, or someone you know is in an unhealthy relationship or feels unsafe, please call The Sojouner Hotline: 414-933-2722 or the US Domestic National Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE. Help is available.
- Let the little things go– My very wise Mom, Arlene, always said, “Dana, pick your battles.” Well, again, she was right. Everyone makes mistakes and none of us are perfect. So, let’s try to be a little gentler. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong in the house, or finding a better way to do something, appreciate how things are. For those of you caring for someone with memory loss, please remember- things do not have to be perfect. Your loved one may be forgetting how to complete a task, but inviting him/her to help (even in a small way) will provide a positive outcome. You may need to break down the activities into smaller steps.
- Novel ideas to try outside of your home:
- Proactively ask friends or family what you can do to help. Or, surprise them with a homemade meal dropped at their door (while social distancing) This could make a huge difference and ease their day (especially for those providing caregiving).
- If you have the funds, consider donating to a local food bank to help people that are food insecure.
- Check on your neighbour or family that may need support call. Let them know you are available to listen or to help.
- When you walk by someone, please say hello and smile. Open your heart and share your happiness.
- If you order takeout food, remember to tip.
- Support our local business by buying gift cards.
- Change your perspective- Be a “glass half full person, rather than a glass half empty person.” In other words, look at a situation, reframe the how you interpret it, and adapt a new perspective. This will make you happier. For example, instead of being sad that I am at home this week, I am grateful for the extra time to nourish my soul and be available to my family. The time has given me an opportunity to read, get sucked into completing 500 piece puzzle with my family (holy cow that’s a lot of pieces!), and to try new recipes. This week I am also looking forward to sharing a favorite movie with my daughter, Shoshi.
- Check out the Jewish Museum Milwaukee– Museum Moment– “Eva Zaret and Her Scroll” is an incredible story. After WWII Eva kicked around rocks in the Carpathian Mountains and found a scroll. This became her means of talking to G-d. As life goes on, she filled her life with study as a way of absorbing her anger. After you watch this, think about what techniques have you used to let go of your anger and move toward peace? https://youtu.be/Lg7YJ4B6dxE
I would love to hear how you are moving toward love and kindness. Together, we will get through this. I welcome your thoughts and emails: DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org
Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,