Epic Evolution

8 Love Ninja Moves To Practice While Caregiving

8 Love Ninja Moves To Practice While Caregiving

Bringing Halloween to the Hospital


This fall, I was a chaperone for my Mom on a trip and then a caregiver after her accident.

Clearly, the universe was offering me an opportunity to find my fetish for caregiving…

So here is what i focused on… in case you are in a similar role:

❤ 8 Love Ninja Moves To Practice While Caregiving ❤

1) Think of caregiving as an art.  Infuse it with love and creativity whenever possible!

2) Aim to be gracious with even the most unlikely tasks.  (Even when you gotta wear surgical gloves)

3) Be sensitive to their hopes and fears – this will help you remain kind and patient while attending to their requests.

4) Serve humbly, without fanfare.

5) Focus on your role and refrain from being disappointed in others.

6) Be gentle with yourself in terms of expectations – you can’t do everything and martyrdom is overrated.

7) Balance the caregiving with sufficient self-care.  Whenever possible, replenish your batteries with healthy food, fun, exercise and rest.

8) Bring some playfulness and humor.  It’s amazing medicine for everyone.

And remember…

8 Love Ninja Moves To Practice While Caregiving

When someone is in pain and feeling a loss of independence, it’s a very difficult time for them.

They are often also struggling with sleep, food, elimination, mobility and privacy while receiving lots of needles, tests and heavy medications.

Amidst their suffering, they may be curt or short-tempered.  Normal niceties and politeness may fall by the wayside.

At the very least, their sensitivities and emotions may be more charged than usual. In the span of one day, they may experience many highs and lows.

So take a deep breath and let your empathy cushion everything.

They are on a rough ride so try your best not to take anything personally.

If you can swing it, have some fun with your caregiving role and bring all of yourself to it.

While you are being of service to your loved one, it can also be a magical time for self-discovery.

Waves of love,
xox little woo

P.S. If you have caregiving stories or tips to share – it would be greatly appreciated in the comments are below!

Moms Are Forever

Friday December 20, 2013

This fall, my mom asked me to accompany her on a bus tour to Yunnan China, a place she’d wanted to visit for years.

Though a bus tour in China did not interest me, supporting her dream was a higher purpose.

So I put my work studies on hiatus to go as Mom’s sherpa and chaperone.

Moms Are Forever

Alas, the tour turned out to be a sales gimmick.  After only one day of sightseeing, they dragged us to sales presentations ranging from spirulina, silk duvets, miracle underwear to high-end teas and jade jewellery.  The days were long with so many hours sitting on a bus or in a sales room.

But…

Mom was having a great time connecting with the other tourists and I got to witness her social side – including a sense of humor that flowed easily in her own language and culture.

It’s good to see our parents in multiple dimensions – to know them as full human beings.  When you understand your parents better, epiphanies abound.

I also heard stories of her past struggles which revealed a specific family wound that I’d inherited.

This ghost had shown up in my life a few times but I didn’t know where it’d come from.  Now I see that it had haunted my mom too – even though she never spoke about it while I was growing up.

Some epigenetic studies are showing that traumas, fears and behaviours can be passed onto future generations through DNA.

While contemplating the complexities of her hopes and fears, I felt ever more accepting of her exigencies and ways.

Even though I’ve been my mom’s confidante for many years now, every new understanding awakens more patience and peace.

So despite the tour being a bust, the inner trip offered many precious insights.

Moms Are Forever

Mom and I in Yunnan, China


And then, it all turned out to be priceless training for the shock that came next…

Shortly after our return from China, my phone rang and the call display showed Mom’s cell phone number.

me:  Mom?

Caller:  This is BC Ambulance Service… Is this Little Woo?

me:  (gulp)  Yes! What’s happened??

Caller:  Your mom was hit by a car while walking across the street.

me:  (oh god!)  What???

This is the moment when your heart drops into your stomach. Time stops and shock prepares to hold you in its embrace depending on the news you’ll hear next.

Caller:  But we think she’ll be alright… We’re taking her directly to Vancouver General Hospital.

I immediately jumped into a cab and so began the next phase of our Mother-Daughter time…

Mom ended up at the hospital for 5 weeks with fractures on her pelvis, lower vertebrae and ankle.

Moms Are Forever

The accident scene


She and another elder pedestrian were crossing the street on a walk light but the driver didn’t see them in his haste  (The other woman sustained some injuries too)  In this image of the accident scene on Clark Drive and East 3rd – the car outline shows where the car struck them on the crosswalk and the X’s mark where Mom and the other woman landed.

With both of our normal lives on hiatus – a marathon of healing and caregiving ensued.

Mom faced the challenges of hospitalization, extreme pain, loss of independence and feelings of helplessness.

I experienced the exertion of full-time caregiving, the roller coaster of her suffering and some distressing family dynamics.

But the cosmic workshop I’d received while traveling with Mom had been perfect preparation…

Those epiphanies paved the way for me to serve more devotedly as a caregiver.

What a rite of passage it is to switch roles and become caregivers for our parents – they who carried us into this world!

It’s humbling to recognize the labour of love that is motherhood.

And it’s also humbling to honor that bond as a daughter.

Moms are forever.

Even though they will not live forever, they will forever be Mom.

What about you?

How have you bonded with your Mom over the years?  What has helped your relationship strengthen? 

Please post in the comments area below if you have stories or thoughts to share!!

Waves of Love,
xox little woo

Update:  Mom is recovering at home now. Her fractures have healed but surrounding tissues need more time to recover. Her doctor estimates it will take 6 months to regain her basic mobility and a year to know the full prognosis.

Moms Are Forever

Follow Your Fetish: September in Provence!

September 2013

Suddenly this month, a dear friend invited me to spend time at his beautiful place in the south of France during my writing/study sabbatical!

I decided to follow “his” fetish and experience this region through his eyes and his enthusiasm.

Upon arrival, I saw that he’d gifted me the perfect retreat space:  a private “hermittage” suite!

It was a beautiful 2-week period of idyllic solitude in the countryside of southern France…

The strange thing was, it was pretty much exactly how I’d imagined it!

Quaint stone walls, farmhouses and cobblestone paths, orchards and vineyards, hidden cafes and little countryside churches…

But experiencing it was way more delicious – as you’ll see by our meals in myvideo diary…

The Magical Sabbatical Part 3: Test Drive A New Life

In part one of this series, I shared 10 delicious kinds of Sabbaticals.

No matter what type of sabbatical you are seeking, it is a time to honor an important endeavour that may be difficult to accomplish amidst your normal schedule or way of living.  e.g. healing time, travel time etc.

But here is another key reason to embark on one:

It’s a chance to explore a different way of living and see if it is suitable for you.

In other words, you get to test drive a new life before you commit!

Let’s say you already know that you are ready for a big change.  However, you don’t know exactly what you want to do or where you want to go.

Taking a sabbatical to experience the activities of your preferred life and livelihood is a powerful way to see whether you are ready to invest in this full-time.

Sometimes, we have fantasies or ideas that are merely intellectual or conceptual.  We really don’t know if they will fly or if we will be served by them until we try them out!

Thus, the recurring desire to take a break or a major time out can actually be a deeper call to change your life’s trajectory.

Once your consciousness is aware that something is not feeling right, you have an opportunity to stop the daily grind and take stock of your life.

If you don’t stop to listen, your heart must find more drastic ways to speak to you.

The Part-time Sabbatical

If you really can’t take time off completely, you can begin by taking a partial sabbatical.

Step 1:  Decide what you must maintain, for now.  (like your job)

Step 2:  Decide what you can stop temporarily. (like your social activities or volunteer work)

Step 3:  Devote that freed up time towards the new activity or towards experiments.  This becomes your dedicated “sabbatical time” each day or each week.

If you don’t honor that time, it will disappear and get filled up by other things that are less important to you.

The Magical Sabbatical Part 3:  Test Drive A New Life

Performing at the Portside Room in1997


One of my first sabbaticals was a part-time sabbatical.

In 1997, I had been laid off from my film industry job and was receiving employment insurance.

Each afternoon, I prepared resumes and looked for work.  But the evenings were dedicated towards singing and songwriting.

I chose to stop doing my usual evening activities in order to focus purely on music for that year of my life.

It was a part-time creative sabbatical which helped me experience the lifestyle and mindset of a songwriter. I discovered that while I did enjoy it, I also saw that it wasn’t my greatest passion.  This was an important distinction that would later help me find my true calling in life.


I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

I’ll be checking it everyday this week so please post below if

1)  You have a question or comment for me The Magical Sabbatical Part 3:  Test Drive A New Life

2)  You want to share your 3-step plan to your part-time sabbatical (maintain, stop, devote)

3)  You want to share a story of a part-time sabbatical you’ve done in the past

Next time:  I’ll look at “Combo Sabbaticals” and share a video diary of my combo sabbaticals!

The Magical Sabbatical Part 2: All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy

The Magical Sabbatical Part 2:  All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

This proverb gets a very dark twist in the 1980 Kubrick film “The Shining”.

But seriously, have you ever gone a wee bit mental when you didn’t have time to play, explore and dream?

Or maybe you’ve gotten the auto-pilot blues after doing the same rote tasks and living the same way for a long time?

Thankfully, we have words like “ennui” and “malaise” borrowed from the poetic French language to describe a mood that often precedes breakdown or mid-life crisis.

Those feeling are signposts – foreshadowing a life of exhaustion, illness or despair if we proceed along the same course.

This is when you might realize that you need a major change in your life.

And depending on your situation, this is when taking a sabbatical to examine your options could be life-changing.

However, many people ignore all those signals and decide to keep on truckin’ – business as usual.

Here are 5 common reasons why most people don’t take the needed time to “enlighten up”:

The Magical Sabbatical Part 2:  All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy
#1  MONEY

Many people think that they don’t have the financial means to fund a sabbatical.

However, there are multiple ways to make it happen when the mind is committed.

Remember: If money is always the reason why you cannot take the time, then money is always going to be the reason.

The release: At some point, your dream has to become more convincing than this argument.  When you really want something, you can access some very creative options and ideas. There are so many ways one can take a sabbatical.

Your ability to attract opportunities and/or sufficient resources is amplified greatly by your determination and intention.

The Magical Sabbatical Part 2:  All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy

image by by janus syndicate

#2  TIME

You can be cash-rich but time-poor.

Scarcity has found a sneaky way in!  Even if you have money in your pockets, you might have limited time in your mind or your schedule.

But just like money, time is a currency.  Even if a windfall of time arrives, you can spend it all and have nothing left to show for it in the end.

The release: Time can be carved out.  It can be set aside if your resolve is strong enough.

Time can be created out of thin air when it becomes non-negotiable.

The Magical Sabbatical Part 2:  All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy

digital art by merkchen

#3  DUTY

This is where the martyr in you causes you to get stuck in a perpetual chain of commitments, obligations and tasks.

Maybe you feel that you cannot take a sabbatical because of your family, friends and colleagues needs or expectations.

Or maybe you have an internalized sense of guilt that pulls the strings on your life choices?

If beliefs around duty constantly cause you to ignore your own well-being, you might sacrifice more than your joie-de-vivre.  Remember, the basic definition of a martyr is: someone who gets killed for their “beliefs”.

The release:  The way out is to realize that you have a duty to your own joy, to your vitality and to your heart. Don’t become a faint shadow of yourself because of the limitations others place on you!

Be bold and set yourself free. When you live your truth, it is actually better for everyone in the long run (even if some people doth protest and accuse you of being “selfish”).

Your bursting joy is a better gift to this world than your contained suffering.

The Magical Sabbatical Part 2:  All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy#4  AMBITION

This is where the relentless pursuit of career or worldly goals prevents you from taking a needed break.

Instead of stopping to smell the roses, you might be trampling them as you race to the top!

However, without ever pausing to check out the view, you might doggedly climb the ladder of success only to find that you’ve been barking up the wrong tree.

The release: Taking a break is actually a powerful executive action.  It helps you take stock of the bigger picture, evaluate your priorities and review your direction. It also enriches your life because it allows you a chance to develop and enjoy other sides of yourself.

And if your A-type personality really needs a goal, your sabbatical could involve acquiring a new skill or building another project.

On the other hand, experiencing a quiet retreat or leisurely sabbatical can be the perfect complement for someone with so much drive.

It’s smart to stop in order to recharge your batteries; a full charge means you’ll be even more productive later!

The Magical Sabbatical Part 2:  All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy

Image by Caras Ionut

#5  RELATIONSHIP

If the idea of enjoying a sabbatical without your mate or bestfriend takes the wind out of your sails, you will likely wait for them.

As you wait and wait for your beloved to find the time, money, freedom or willingness to go, another year goes by.  (Or decade)

Time flies when you’re waiting for someone else…

The release:  Consider embarking on your sabbatical anyway. If it involves travel or lifestyle changes for a period of time, the time will fly and before you know it, you’ll be back in each other’s arms.

If this is a recurring kind of break, maybe they can join you for a short time or maybe you can just enjoy your own private retreat.

Having periodic space from each other can strengthen a relationship.

However, if you really cannot find a mutually agreeable solution and this keeps coming up, then maybe, it’s time to find someone else who can share your  ideal lifestyle.

There is no time like the present to begin honoring your dreams.

A 6th REASON:

The Magical Sabbatical Part 2:  All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy

image by TheWhiteLight

While there are other colorful reasons why we don’t take time off, here is one more reason why the sabbatical is not yet widespread in North America:

Our prevailing ideology does not propagate “time off”.

With the work ethic staunchly embedded in our psyches, most of us feel guilty or lazy for not contributing to the household, to the workforce or to the community if we take significant time off.

Some Interesting Facts:  

The Magical Sabbatical Part 2:  All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy

AISPIX by Image Source / Shutterstock

When you’re an employed adult in Canada, you can expect 2 weeks paid vacation each year plus an average of  8 statutory holidays.

(British Columbia and Saskatchewan are tied at the top for 10 stats and Nova Scotia gets only 5.)

When you’re a low-wage worker in the USA, you may be part of the 51% that don’t get any paid vacation while high-wage workers are 90% likely to receive 2 weeks of time off.

However, when you look more closely, you might be shocked to discover that the United States is the only industrialized economy that does not legally require employers to offer ANY paid vacation time!   As a result, 1 out of every 4 Americans work without any paid time off.

The Magical Sabbatical Part 2:  All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy

From No‐Vacation Nation Policy Brief

In comparison, the report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington DC confirms that the average paid vacation time in Europe is about 4 weeks plus an additional average of 10 statutory holidays!

The Irony of Time Off

Not surprisingly, many employers are now finally realizing that it significantly boosts productivity and creativity when employees have enough time off!

In the laboratory of my own life, I would concur.  Every time I returned from a sabbatical or a vacation, I had more energy to focus, to work and to give.

The Magical Sabbatical Part 2:  All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy

Conrad Schmidt

My friend Conrad Schmidt is the iconic leader of the Work Less Party (BC) and an activist who advocates a reduction of the industrial work week.

In his book “Workers of the World RELAX: The Simple Economics of Less Industrial Work”, he explains the social and environmental benefits a world where we “consume less, produce less, work less, pollute less and live more”.

In an interview with Briarpatch magazine, Schmidt says:

“When you have a society where people are empowered and have more time to think, more time to read, more time to communicate with their neighbours, you create a more empowered society that is better able to challenge social injustice like the income gap”.

And while some say it’s a “first-world luxury” to work less – the people of developing economies are not all working crazy hours and not all people in industrialized economies are taking time off.

It is a more complex equation of cultural conditioning, spiritual/religious beliefs, political and economic agendas which create societies that either value or devalue leisure time.

When I was in Bali for 6 weeks in 2008, I saw a very different pace of life.  People of diverse economic means seemed to have lots of time each day to sit, to mingle, to eat and to engage in spiritual practices.

They seemed to enjoy a generally more regenerative lifestyle and their work days appeared more spacious.

Maybe if we learned how to live this way, we wouldn’t need vacations or sabbaticals?

Introducing The ‘New and Improved’ Red Pill!

IThe Magical Sabbatical Part 2:  All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boyn the classic scene from the film “The Matrix”, the hero-in-training Neo is given the option to take the red pill or the blue pill.

The red pill would cause him to “awaken” in the real world which is harsh but contains the truth.

The blue pill would cause him to stay “asleep” in the false world which is comfortable but a lie.

However, in the great movie of life, many of us feel we WERE given a red pill!

We’ve been warned about the harsh realities – that’s why we often work ourselves down to the bone (and suffer guilt when we don’t).

Thankfully, there is a collective awakening happening and increasing numbers of people are taking the new and improved red pill!

It contains the truth that sages and mystics have espoused for millennia:

This is a gorgeous universe full of wonder

You are not here to just work and produce.

You are here to fully experience your world.

…and the entire cosmos beckons you to stop and smell the sacred flower of life.

(Please stay tuned for part 3 of this series…)

The Magical Sabbatical: 10 Types & Why You Might Need One

part 1

Most people recognize the importance of taking vacations, staycations and even weekends to rejuvenate and recharge.

But have you ever taken a “Sabbatical”?

The practice is less common because it remains mainly in the domain of academics and professionals who have the luxury to take time off to pursue research or project development.

According to Wikipedia, a sabbatical is “any extended absence in the career of an individual in order to achieve something”.

The word comes from the word “sabbath” which means to cease or take a break.  (Hey, even “God” took a day off after creating the universe).

Here are 10 types of sabbaticals and the reasons why you might need one or a combo:

1.  Creative SabbaticalThe Magical Sabbatical: 10 Types & Why You Might Need One
You’re yearning to explore some art form and invigorate your creative juices but never seem to have enough time and space for this.

More pressing things keep taking precedent so your creativity takes the back seat – everytime.

Ah, to have 20 to 30 hours each week + studio space + no interruption. Sigh.
love

2.  Career SabbaticalThe Magical Sabbatical: 10 Types & Why You Might Need One
You’re drained from your job and desperately want to research, investigate and experiment with other career options.

However, you’re so busy with your current work or you’re so tired when you come home that you just don’t have the time or energy.

So you stay stuck.  In that job. For a long, long time.  Sigh.
love
The Magical Sabbatical: 10 Types & Why You Might Need One 3.  Nature Sabbatical
You’ve been living in the city and ache to reconnect with Nature.

But you need more than a weekend camping trip – you want a solid chunk of time to soak it all in.

You’d be SO happy to live in a tree on a mountain top for a few months.  Sigh.
love
love

4.  R & R SabbaticalThe Magical Sabbatical: 10 Types & Why You Might Need One
You’ve worked very hard most of your life and fantasize about taking time off to rest and recharge.  The need is greater than just taking a weekend or a week to chill out and catch up on some sleep.

You want a MAJOR break from schedules and tasks. Doing absolutely “nothing”for a few months or more sounds orgasmic to you.  Sigh.
love

The Magical Sabbatical: 10 Types & Why You Might Need One 5.  Hermit Sabbatical
Maybe you feel overwhelmed by the rigors of modern life or communal living.  Maybe you want some extended quiet time.

Maybe you’ve got communication fatigue from texts, calls, emails, facebook, twitter and that new profile you started.  Maybe you just feel like being alone for a while.

Whatever the reason, the idea of being far FAR away from social rituals and people for many months is damn appealing.  Sigh.

The Magical Sabbatical: 10 Types & Why You Might Need One 6.  Travel or Adventure Sabbatical:
You’ve longed to see more of the world or go on some big adventures.

A two-week vacation won’t do the trick. That’s WAY too short for the stuff you have in mind.

You hunger for the freedom to flow wherever the current takes you.  The idea of having an open-ended ticket thrills you. Sigh.
love

7.  Project SabbaticalThe Magical Sabbatical: 10 Types & Why You Might Need One
You want to build something new in your life and need to devote a lot of focused energy to this project.

If you don’t take time off,  it will probably take you a decade to complete or it might even stay on the To-Do list for eternity.

You feel somewhat obsessive (in a good way) about this project so it’s driving you nuts to constantly deviate your attention from it.  Sigh.
love

8.  Healing SabbaticalThe Magical Sabbatical: 10 Types & Why You Might Need One
Your health (mental, emotional or physical) is suffering and needs some tender loving care.  You know it will take you significant time to research, heal and reconfigure.

Having a few sick days or even a few weeks off is not going to cut it this time.  Your healing process needs to be a full-time endeavour.

Your body has spoken and now it’s yelling.  Sigh.
love

The Magical Sabbatical: 10 Types & Why You Might Need One 9.  Study Sabbatical
You want to study something or develop a specific skill that requires full immersion.

You need to dive in completely to get into it.

Doing it recreationally, part-time or after work when you’re tired is not conducive to your learning process.

You are so ready to geek out.  But… Sigh.
love

 The Magical Sabbatical: 10 Types & Why You Might Need One 10. Love Sabbatical
You and your partner (or bestfriend) wish to give your relationship a period of deep attention, intention and expansion.

Maybe you both want to celebrate your love.  Maybe it’s because you miss each other. Maybe you have some things to work out.

You need some dedicated time (away from normal habits and routine) for mutual understanding and bonding in order to really see and cherish each other on a new level.  Sigh.

Of course, when you review these 10 types of sabbatical, it might look like the impossibly balanced life of a holistic superstar.

While it is possible to integrate some of each aspect into your daily, weekly, monthly or annual lifestyle, it might be more productive to invest in longer periods of input (digesting and recharging) and output (producing and creating).

In fact, some phases and pursuits in life require a state of sustained immersion.  Multi-tasking could be too distracting or interruptive.

Thus, instead of sighing from fatigue, frustration or wishful thinking, I highly recommend giving yourself the gift of a dedicated sabbatical.

Whether it starts as 1 month, 3 months or a year, a sabbatical is possible once you can fully commit to the idea and take action towards your vision.

As the infamous Latin phrase says:  Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero

Translation =  Pluck the day, trusting as little as possible in the future.

Waves of love,
xox little woo

The Magical Sabbatical (Part 2) coming soon!

“All Work & No Play Make Jack A Dull Boy”

~ I’ll give a tour of my own sabbaticals + look at the consequences of NOT taking the time off

Happy dreaming!

Preparing For Burning Man: FREE Guides & Packing Lists

As You Prepare for Burning Man…

Preparing For Burning Man: FREE Guides & Packing Lists
Here Are 4 FREE Guides and
3 Packing Lists You Can Download and Print!

These are geared towards the “somewhat minimalist happy camper”.

I’m sharing  the basic approaches and setup that I’ve used.

(Definitely, there are people who are way MORE minimalist or way MORE comprehensive.)

These lists will be most suitable for newbies and for those who want to be comfortable without investing a huge amount of time or money into their setup.

It’s my gift to you so feel free to share this page with your Burner friends…

Much much love!
xox little woo

Please like this post and share widely! 

Download: 32 Tips For That Week In The Desert
Download: Costume Guide: 9 Things To Inspire Your Creativity
Download: 13 Simple Foods For Burning Man
Download: Guide To Health and Happiness on the Playa

Download: Little Woo’s Burning Man Packing List
Download: LittleWoo’s Tickle Trunk Packing List
Download: LittleWoo’s Burning Man Grocery List

Bonus: Fish’s Burning Man Packing List
                (shared with Fish’ generous permission)

NOTE:  These articles are educational and informational resources for Burners. I make no guarantees about the information and recommendations provided herein. Following any info or suggestions provided here is at your own risk.

Preparing For Burning Man: FREE Guides & Packing ListsPreparing For Burning Man Articles by Little Woo are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Written in 2009.  Most recent update: August 2013  with love from littlewoo.org

Follow Your Fetish: Bugs!

All kinds of magical insects at the Victoria Bug Zoo…

If you love bugs, you’ll love this unique opportunity to hold exotic ones in the palm of your hand!

And if you have a case of the Creepy Crawlies, you might consider visiting this amazing zoo just to soak in the calm positive vibe of the guides there!