The Heart of Caregiving, A Guide to Joyful Caring

Introduction to the Dual Six Principles of Care

You have two hands. One hand to help yourself, and the second hand is to help others. ~Unknown

When we place our hands together, we balance the outward flow of energy, giving care to others with the inner flow energy, of self-care.

Keeping our hands close to our heart and mind, we balance the energies of our thoughts and spirit, while protecting our bodies.

We can provide safer, more consistently loving care, at the same time. I invite you to be with each chapter to learn and practice the gems of self-care, along with the caregiving tips.

Nursing, especially my hospice experience, has taught me that being before doing helps me to have more of what I want in my life.

BEing, Before DOing, Helps me to HAVE more of what I want in life.

When we treat ourselves with respect, as a caregiver, we all benefit from optimum care.

This is the “How To” of forming a secure and rewarding caregiver-client attachment. I developed a caregiving strategy that bridges the best of analytic and relational psychology with the every-day physical needs of clients and families in practice.

The art of caregiving reaches deeper than good communications theory, into the nitty-gritty of emotional release, safety and connection.

Six dual Principles of self-care and caregiving:


DISCIP-line and the meaning of your Right Hand

The principles that guide the discipline of nursing are held in the right hand. The bottom line thinking to provide this discipline, consistently, may be spelled out to help remember them. These bottom line principles of DISCIPline may be applied to any situation and may be easily remembered. The last four letters of discipline rest upon the right wrist and the “DISCIP” in the palm and on each digit of the right hand represent the six principles of caregiving; dignity, independence, safety, communication, infection control, and privacy.

See the photo of right hand and the video link below or go to author’s website.

Dignity is held in the palm of the right hand. Respect is the center of all caregiving.

Independence is represented with a thumbs-up for what you are able to do for yourself.

The pointer finger represents safety, just like when your teacher or mama may have shaken that finger in your face; it was a way to caution you and keep you safe.

The middle finger represents a very specific communication in some cultures. In this instance, it stands for and represents all communication.

The ring finger represents infection control. I experienced, firsthand, many a hangnail that turned into painful infections.

Last and not least, the pinky finger represents the need to provide a little privacy.

Peace and the meaning of your Left Hand

Your left palm holds peace and being FIT.

The left pointer finger represents gifting your time, attention, energy, thinking and being FREE of clutter, physical and mental.

The middle finger represents FAMILY, in the center of the left hand.

The ring finger holds the key to our FINANCES.

The pinkie finger holds and represents the FUTURE.

By taking tiny steps daily we can reach our bigger goals more easily.

In my experience, a positive mental attitude will bring success every time. Freedom from fear is very liberating and possible. Being present to the reality of the moment helps to shift away from the monkey mind of distress. Being in the moment, allows us to be able to take action and separates us from the paralysis of the negative thinking. Negative thinking examples are what-if and if-only.

An open mind on all subjects and toward all people is worth striving for. This self-discipline of openness will allow us to grow the wisdom of understanding people, while being engaged in the labor of love, caregiving.

Often we need to take time to reflect, realize and remember the strengths we have to offer. The willingness to share these blessings with others will best guide our actions and build our faith. This faith will grow our hope of future achievement and provide financial security.

Your caregiving can grow only as much as you do.

If you want to change your results, you need to change your thinking and actions. According to T. Harv Eker, our thoughts lead to feelings, feelings lead to action, action leads to results.


Results equal Health, Wealth and Weight

We live in a world of cause and effect, which is tempered by what we have seen, heard and experienced.

Emotions almost always win over logical thoughts and actions. With awareness, understanding, and choice we can choose, as many times as it takes to successfully change behavior.

If your motivation for caregiving comes from fear, anger or needing to prove yourself, your caregiving will not bring you happiness.

Are you ready to choose a new model of caring?

Try the following exercises. Remember a challenging caregiving incident, and write it down. Do you see how you have a choice now? Release and create new caring experiences.

There are no happy victims.

Complaining brings more to complain about.

Practice optimism.

With your hand on your heart, say out loud, with positive energy and zest, these statements:

I create my own level of happiness.

I focus on being responsible for my own happiness. I am an excellent caregiver.

I focus on opportunities versus obstacles.

I admire other successful caregivers.

What is your willingness to change?

Are you willing to grow bigger than your problems?

Be prepared to be an excellent receiver and you will become an excellent giver.

Do not limit your love.

Focus on the results. You can provide excellent care to others AND care well for yourself.

Thoughts are seeds.

Actions connect the inner thoughts to the outer results.

Caregiving becomes easier when you are willing to do what is hard.

When you are uncomfortable, you are growing.

¨Four positive T. Harv Eker quotes to post as reminders:

“How you do anything is how you do everything.”

“Where attention goes, energy flows and results show.”

“You can choose to think in ways that will support your happiness and success, instead of ways that don’t.”

“Training and managing your own mind is the most important skill you could ever own, in terms of both happiness and success.”

The heart of caregiving is a combination of optimum self-care and the important discipline of nursing. The discipline of nursing includes caring in a loving and professional way.

To harness our healthy caring we can provide consistent, effective care to our loved ones. We benefit, greatly, by discovering the balance and focus of providing optimum self-care.

Are You Ready To Grow?

We need to treat ourselves with dignity by providing for our own health, before we are able to provide care with dignity for our loved ones. To be well balanced and focused in life, self-care needs to be balanced with caregiving. Both self-care and caregiving, with awareness, need to be practiced consistently.

To give optimum care to our loved ones, all six dual principles of self-care and caregiving need to be practiced, regularly. The more you practice, the more skilled you become.

Each chapter includes dual principles of self-care and the mirror actions for caregiving.

Chapter 1 focuses on the first dual principle of being FIT for our own self-care and caregiving with DIGNITY. By focusing on our own mind, spirit and body needs we are more aware and able to assist the mind, spirit and body needs of the person we are caring for.

Having a system in place for this optimum self-care will save many a headache and heartache.

See the Tips at the end of each chapter for a proven success system. What works for one caregiver may not work for another. What works at one time in our lives may not work in another time.

Chapter 1 will begin to share the secrets of successful self-care and caregiving. To be FIT we need to balance all three parts of ourselves; body, spirit and mind. Our body, spirit and mind each need three things; fuel, exercise and rest. When our thinking is correct our success and happiness are nearby.

When we are in balance, our focus and caring are more easily maintained.

Start Your Day (or end your day)

Two thumbs up for remembering to have fun and spend 15 minutes writing, or enough time to fill three pages, and answer the following questions:

What Am I Grateful For?

What Do I Appreciate About Myself?

What Do I Appreciate, About My Life?

What is my Focus for Today?

How May I Remain Balanced?

How Can I Be of Service?

Left Hand: You, truly, hold peace in the palm of your hand exercise.

Whenever you are stressed, simply breath-in peace, with your left hand over your heart and breath out stress. Repeat this several times and you will find a moment of peace that you can return to at any time or place. Close your eyes, if this helps you to focus inside for a moment. Remember to make choices that feed your spirit.


Our caregiving spirits may be fueled by special quiet or creative time. Often this refueling time is represented by creative space and meditative time. Meditative time can be simply breathing in and out with attentive presence. For some caregivers this refueling is being in nature and for other caregivers, it is daydreaming. Expression of our spirit through the art of making things with our hands can be very fulfilling. Reading something inspirational; like a story, a poem, a quote, or other inspirational guide, provides exercise for the spirit.

Inspiration may come from listening to music, watching a video or movie, praying, giving to others and simply being in community.

Sometimes, simply being aware of another person’s perspective can be uplifting. Resting our spirit by letting go, to a greater source, is healthy. In other words, acceptance can be a balm for the heart and soul. Spirit may be refilled in many ways; meditation, yoga, song, prayer, poetry, and nature are just a few examples.

In my own experience, our right hand brings us closer to our Godliness by serving others. Our left hand gives us strength to face each day, by grounding us with our own needs met.

Below are the words to Debbie Friedmont’s song, called The Angel’s Blessing. These words represent some of the ideas from The Heart of Caregiving.

“May our right hand bring us closer to our Godliness. May our left hand give us strength to face each day. And before us may our visions light our paths ahead. And behind us may well-being heal our way. All around us is Schechinah. May Michael be at my right hand, Gabriel at my left. Before me Uriel, behind me Raphael and above my head the divine Presence.”

Schechinah is the Hebrew meaning for the presence of God or ‘she who dwells within’. Angel Michael is known as the commander of God’s army, a person of authority; someone who can think and do. Gabriel is God’s messenger & has a horn for judgment day. Gabriel is at my left to assess if I am balanced and focused with my self-care. Uriel carries a light in his palm or flaming sword to light the way, representing our awareness. Raphael carries a trumpet and represents healing.

“I have had the honor of working with Sonia at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital. She is the utmost professional, very compassionate and respectful of all patients and their families, as well as her coworkers. My husband and I had the blessing of her assistance during my mother-in-law’s illness and passing – we could not have survived without Sonia’s help. Sonia has always responded enthusiastically to my calls for volunteers to work in the community. Evaluations from those

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