My mom, at age 87, has been struggling to transform herself into a caretaker for my 91-year-old dad. Though she has often said how much she loves her home, she announced a few months ago that she wanted to move into assisted living.
Surprised by her request, my brother and I asked her what she hoped to gain by moving into assisted living. She couldn’t exactly say. She still wanted quiet mornings without nurses coming in and out. She said she could do the laundry and prepare meals by herself, and most of the legal, medical and financial tasks are handled by my brother and I. On top of that, she admittedly doesn't care much for the company of other women, nor does she much enjoy joining group activities — the kind of thing one frequently sees in elderly care housing.
My brother and I, believing she might be happier at home, began researching, interviewing and doing background checks on home healthcare applicants. We came up with a list of very qualified home helpers: now a team of people could be at her home within minutes of a phone call.
We started by replacing the housekeeper, bringing in a faster one that could come twice a month instead of once. After one cleaning, Mom didn’t want us to call anyone else. She said she didn't need any other helpers right now, but that she knows she can call one off the list if she does. Once she discovered that assistance was available to her, she became clear about how to fulfill her needs very simply. Problem solved, it seems. And she's thrilled that she can stay in the home that she so dearly loves.
I, too, sometimes allow fears to cloud my vision. I, too, sometimes think it will take something big for things to be better, but can’t say exactly what. I, too, can inadvertently block simple answers from manifesting by imagining problems more complex than they are.
When I put into consistent practice the gift Prem Rawat gave me years ago, I feel answers filling me up — not in words, but in feeling. In the same way that a full glass can hold no more water, this fullness leaves no room for vague dissatisfaction, fears, and imagined complexities. With renewed clarity, challenging issues diminish and simple resolutions appear.
Illustration by Sara Shaffer.