Our teachers.

Probably the most important thing that people living with dementia teach us is to be in the moment. While we spend hours and hours on meditation and mindfulness courses, they have perfected the art of Being. Just Being…
What is the most difficult thing for most of us at the moment in this COVID-19 pandemic? Do Be still, in the moment. I have practised the art of Being in the moment for the better part of my 54 years in this lifetime. Yet, I fail miserably. The internal dialogue churns away like a stuck record, if I am not hungry, I need a cup of tea, or I check my phone – scrolling between facebook and instagram and whatsapp and linkedin and back to facebook. Yes this is an extraordinary time, yet what better time for us to become quiet? Yet, we flit around like the butterflies in a garden full of tempting colours.
Is this perhaps why so many people find it so hard to Be with someone living with dementia? Is this why we always want to reminisce with them and forever try our best to make them remember things from their past? I see this with my mother, who is so content to Be in the moment with her dog, her television programs, her garden, looking over the sea. She has no need to think back all the time, nor to worry about the future. She has perfected the art – thanks to her memory loss – of Being in the moment. And it makes her so happy to not have to stress about anything outside of the now. She delights in our phone calls, in the weather, in what is happening in the soapies on tv, in the meals they have and the new growth in her garden. Is this not the ultimate state of bliss that so many of us yearn for?
In this peculiar time that we are now facing, perhaps we will begin to see the gift that people living with dementia is offering us. The gift of Being in the now. And perhaps we will take more time to Be with those living with dementia, not get frustrated with the fact that they cannot remember the past, or have no interest in the future. Perhaps we can learn from them about being Present, truly Being with them without any distraction. It will stand us in good stead to learn this…
Rayne Stroebel MSc (Dementia Studies)
+27 82 455 5300 rayne@mindsmatter.co.za <mailto:rayne@mindsmatter.co.za> www.mindsmatter.co.za <www.mindsmatter.co.za/>

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