Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Letting Go Words...

Letting go is not easy, but nature demands it...Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht

The nests are busy this time of year. Young children are heading off to their first school experience, while the newly graduated seniors are packing for their first college experience. Others are moving into their first apartment & beginning a new job. So.....the nests are empying & my office is filling up with the problems of those left behind.

Many of us couldn't wait for the day when the kids would leave. Perhaps, like me, they put their perceived creative lives on hold, placing family first. I met a woman yesterday who can't find time in her day to wash her face.....forget taking a relaxing bath. While I'm always stunned by confessions such as these, I truly shouldn't be. I'm still young enough to remember many of the ways in the past that I ignored my Self, but yet never saying no to anyone about anything they may have wanted from me.....a true push-over, if there ever was one.

Another interesting phenomenon is the number of patients who make appointments to manage their weight or to stop smoking, after their children have left for school or left the nest completely. It's like there is no time available to pay attention to one's Self when the children are around.

These individuals, mainly women by the way, tend to have yo-yo weight or stress-related problems. Their pattern is to wait until there is less pressure from demanding family members & then give themselves an ounce of permission to quickly attend to whatever they have been ignoring, perhaps for years. Hurry-up is the name of the game. "Let's get this corrected now, because I won't have any time once we get into the holidays."

For me, as a health care professional & as well as someone who has been there as a mother, daughter, wife, colleague, etc.....these are scary patterns with a potential for danger. They need to be corraled, taken apart & then put back together in a healthier way. So, just as we let go of our children, we can take this opportunity to let go of our old sick patterns of caring for our Self.

We don't seem to forget that we are parents or employees or even the boss, but for some reason we do have a tendency to forget that we are individuals that need personal attention....& on a daily basis. Besides having physiological needs, we have emotional & creative needs. These need to be provided to ourselves, by ourselves.

While this may sound like a lot of jibberish, trust me on this one. In my profession I get to see the outcomes that happen when these things are missing. You can see them too, if you look. Pay attention to how many drug advertisements are on television or in magazines. Notice what they are for. Most are prescribed for stress-related diseases, or for losing weight, sleep disorder, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, GERD, lack of energy, depression or anxiety disorder.

Back to the nests for a moment. When nests empty, there is often an increase in relationship problems between those that are left, especially if all children have flown away. Conversations are often stilted, or halt all together. Husbands & wives may run for cover. Who is this man? Who is this woman? Where are the things you had in common so long ago? Where did they go? Do I still love this person, or is he/she just a convenience you've gotten used to?

Perhaps for the first time you notice that all you ever talked about were your children & their activities. With these things gone, depression often enters. It's not uncommon for alcohol usage to increase or eating disorders to surface. Perhaps the children were the buffer to relationship problems that were ignored over the years. Empty nest often means additional expenses & new worries. Plenty of things to think about here....

It's good to know that we are not alone for these problems are universal. I suggest that my patients take this time to learn about who they are & what they want for themselves. This is a good time of life to re-build old dreams. Just about anything is possible. Take the problems out from where they have been hiding & put them up on the table where you can see them clearly. Don't be afraid.....they won't bite you. Take your time as you observe them carefully.

Notice what works & what doesn't work. Bring in forgiveness & compassion. Use images for these. Pretend that you are in a workshop & have all sorts of tools available. Go ahead & fix what needs fixing. These are interactive self-hypnotic suggestions & your own mind will work it's magic, once you take the initiative.


I focus on the many areas of my life where letting go will be beneficial. I'm getting good at this... Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht

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