riding bitch

The life of a writer and survivor of loss.


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Dealing With Loneliness

I read several other widow’s blogs, and one of the main themes I see is Loneliness. It’s not just something widows or widowers battle. But I do think it’s especially challenging for someone who has lost their life partner to grow accustomed to being alone again. Loneliness is one of the most painful aspects of being a widow.

One widow recently wrote: “I don’t know what to do when it’s just me.” Then she listed all the things people usually suggest, and why they don’t work for her, like watching TV, crafting, coffee with friends, working out, cleaning. I suggested reading a good book, but she’s finding it difficult to find a genre that transports her, which I understand. 

Her post made me think of how I’ve dealt with my loneliness over the past few years. I’ve experienced many days of sleeping or watching TV all day, and many more nights of crying myself to sleep, due to loneliness and missing Kaz. There is no substitute for his presence.

I can’t decide if I feel less lonely now, or if I’ve grown so used to being alone that it’s become normal (and therefore less painful). It’s not that I don’t remember what it feels like to live with Kaz on a daily basis, but I do feel a growing distance from that reality. Part of that is time. Also, I no longer live in the same apartment, city, state, coast as we did.

Of course, we all know that you can’t run from grief — the loneliness comes with you wherever you go. When I did the road trip, the loneliness hit me really hard because I was witnessing incredible beauty and had no one to share it with. Now that I live in a rural area, life is even more solitary than it was in Los Angeles.

But so far, I’m maintaining. I recently listed ten ways to maintain as a writer, but some of these apply to battling loneliness as well.

Here are a few more…

Keep communicating with your loved one.

One of the things that helped me the most after Kaz died was writing him letters, and talking to him out loud. It made me feel his presence even though he wasn’t physically there. I don’t write to him as often, but I do talk to him. And it still helps.

Meet new people.

I’m not talking about dating, but meeting new people with common interests in a non-pressured environment. Meetup.com is one way to meet people in your area who share similar interests. There is a group for everything under the sun. Or you can start a new group and see who joins up. There are Facebook groups for just about everything too. When I adopted Ruby, I joined a Meetup group for people who like to hike with their dogs off-leash. I’m still friends with a couple I met from the first hike.

Take a class, or learn a new hobby.

I took a weekly Caribbean dance class ($15/class) in the first year after Kaz died. It was one of the most difficult but rewarding experiences of my life. Eventually, I’d like to take a photography class, along with a cooking class, and, believe it or not, a gun shooting class. The good thing about classes is that there’s usually at least one other person who feels just as nervous as you do. I also started taking photos and joined Instagram to share them. At first, I only posted photographs of Ruby, but now I post photos of life in general. I like taking photos because it’s another way to express myself other than filmmaking and writing.

Other ideas that are free or cheap…

Visit friends and/or family. If you can’t afford to travel, set up a Skype appointment.

Volunteer to help others in need. If you don’t want to deal with people, you could volunteer with animals.

Go to a concert. Check the local paper for listings. There’s music in every area, often free. 

Go to a museum. Many museums have a free or discounted day/night.

Join a local choir or singing group. 

Join (or start) a book club. 

Join a grief support group.

Travel somewhere you’ve never been before.

Ask others to visit you, and show them around your area.

Even if you do only one of these activities, once a week or once a month, it might help. It will definitely get you out of the house and meeting new people.

If you don’t want to meet new people yet, you can do things at home like listen to Saturday matinée opera broadcasts Live From the Met, or (if you don’t like opera) listen to a podcast. Podcasts are like television shows for the radio, and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of them out there. Serial is an excellent, true murder-mystery story, and it’s FREE. All you need is a phone or computer with internet connection.

I have also recently become obsessed with the Turner Classic Movie channel, which only plays classic movies. If you’re going to stay at home and watch TV, I highly recommend TCM.

You can also do yoga at home. There’s no shortage of free YouTube videos to guide you.

If you want to try meditation, you can check out the meditation app HeadSpace, which is free for beginners.

I’m not suggesting that any of these activities will  take your or my loneliness away completely. They won’t. But they might ease it for a bit. Or lead to a few minutes/hours that you might enjoy. Or to meeting new people, maybe even making new friends. You never know.

If you have any other suggestions for dealing with loneliness, please share them below.

Wishing you peace and light, always.

– Niva

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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What’s New

It’s been a while. I won’t use the excuse that I’ve been busy because you’re all busy too and keep blogging. I will say that I took a freelance writing seminar in late March that sort of rocked my world, in a good way. In no particular order, these are some changes I’ve made in the past six weeks since the seminar (and last blog post):

New Routine

I now wake up at 6:00 or 5:30 a.m. and write until 7:00 a.m, every week day. I don’t always write, sometimes I just stare at the computer and think about writing. But things I definitely do NOT do are: 1) check my email or get on the internet, 2) clean the apartment, 3) pay bills or do anything administrative, 4) wash the dishes, 5) check my phone. This time in the morning is my sacred hour, when everyone, including the dog, is asleep and quiet. I love it.

Another change is that I no longer sleep with the phone (and alarm clock) next to my bed. The phone sleeps in the kitchen, so when the alarm goes off at dawn, I have to get out of bed to turn it off. There have been a few mornings when I’ve stumbled back to bed. But after staring at the ceiling for a few minutes, I got up to write.

Besides more/better writing time, I naturally wake up earlier now, even on days off. I’m more punctual to work. I feel more satisfied with my day because, even if I get nothing else creative done, at least I’ve had this hour. I watch less television and go out less during the week. On more than one occasion I’ve used “I have to be in bed by a certain hour” as a reason to decline evening invitations.

New Diet

At the writing seminar, I was asked to choose “a personal experiment I’d like to try for 30 to 365 days.” I chose not drinking, not spending money, and not over-eating. The day after the seminar, I quit drinking alcohol.

I honestly didn’t know if I could do it. I’d been drinking either a few beers or half a bottle of wine almost every night.  I’m not exagerating when I say that not having alcohol in the house used to make me antsy. The thought of not drinking really scared me, and the first week was tough. Tougher still are social engagements like going out to dinner or a party. The thought of going to brunch this weekend and not having a mimosa makes me sad. I miss drinking socially more than anything. On the other hand, I like being more present and less groggy.  I think it’s made waking up early a little easier. Originally, I’d given myself a 30 day limit. It’s been 37 days now. I’m not saying I’ll never drink again, but for now, I’m going to keep refraining.

As an experiment, I also decided to cut out sugar, and more recently wheat, dairy and caffeine. Again, very scary (especially caffeine). I’m now eating mostly protein, vegetables, fruits and nuts and drinking water or tea, occasionally a non-alcoholic beer. Like alcohol, I thought I couldn’t live without caffeine, but the weird thing is I actually feel more awake and energetic. I’m also less moody. I’ve heard people say these things before, but when you start feeling them yourself, it’s a bit of a revelation.

Oh, one last benefit of not drinking alcohol: it saves money.

New Social Media 

Not as important as routine and diet, but still relevant – I’ve started to be more active on Twitter (@nivaladiva) and less active on Facebook. Twitter was a challenge to figure out (I’m still figuring it out), but what I’ve learned so far is that engagement is key, as is providing information and not being afraid to voice your opinions about things that matter to you. You can learn a lot from the news feeds and other people, including job opportunities. I know people who have landed jobs that they learned about on Twitter. It’s not all about following celebrities.

New Toy

I bought a Suzuki s40 Boulevard motorcycle. More on that in another post.

New Work

No, I haven’t quit my job (yet), but I am revving up the freelance writing. Just this week I sent out my very first pitches to two publications. Working on the next set of pitches now. Feels both scary and exciting to put myself out there, but I’m determined to forge a writing career in more markets than just film & television.

New Travel

I took a few days off from work around Easter to visit family in the Bay area. Good practice for road tripping with Ruby at a later date. One thing about traveling with a dog, you end up spending a lot more time outdoors.

Not sure what this is, but looks like a huge "N" to me (Crissy Field, San Francisco)

Not sure what this is, but looks like a huge “N” to me (San Francisco, CA)

Ruby meeting the Golden Gate Bridge (Crissy Field)

Ruby meeting the Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, CA)

Meadow in Redwood Regional Park (Oakland)

Meadow in Redwood Regional Park (Oakland, CA)

Redwoods in Redwood Regional Park

Redwoods in Redwood Regional Park (Oakland, CA)

Bench in Cesar Chavez Park (Berkeley, CA)

Bench in Cesar Chavez Park (Berkeley, CA)

Close-up of bench

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. Life is a daring adventure or nothing.”             – Helen Keller

Ruby and her sunset (101 Freeway rest stop)

Ruby and her sunset (101 Freeway rest stop)

 

 What’s new with you?

 

 

 


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The Joy of Hiking With a Dog

Lately, the activity that brings me the most joy is hiking with my dog Ruby. During the week we spend so much time cooped up in the car/office/daycare/apartment, that on the weekends we both crave the freedom of being outside. The goal is to eventually hike every other day, but for the moment, we are weekend warriors. We do a regular Sunday morning hike with a friend, and, on Saturdays, we venture out just the two of us.

Our Sunday hike happens to be in the middle of a city park, but other trails are farther away. We only hike off-leash trails like Runyon Canyon and Westridge  Canyonback Wilderness Park.

Runyon Canyon, LA

Runyon Canyon, LA

I have many friends who won’t let their dog off the leash except in an enclosed area like a yard or dog park, the fear being that the dog will run off – either after another animal (like a squirrel), into a nearby road, or just run off out of curiosity and end up lost. People also worry about their dogs reacting to other dogs and people. All valid concerns. 

If you want to hike with your dog off-leash, your dog MUST:

– be friendly with other dogs and people

– be obedient (i.e. come, sit, stay and leave it on command)

– be in good physical shape

If any of these things is a concern, then hiking off-leash might not be for you, at least not right away. You can socialize your dog to be friendly with other dogs and people, and train it to be obedient. You can also put your dog on a diet and condition it to take longer walks, unless it’s too old or sick.

If these things are NOT an issue, then I highly recommend  taking your dog out on the trail when and wherever possible. Not only is it great exercise for both of you, but it’s also a wonderful way to bond with your canine companion.

Ruby happy to be hikingSomeone once told me that hiking off-leash enforces the “pack leader” mentality, which I can’t prove but tend to believe. When Ruby is on the leash, she instinctively wants to go ahead. But when she is off-leash, she walks right beside me or right behind me, like my shadow.

She also runs off at intervals, but she A) regularly stops to wait for me, B) stops the minute I call her name, and C) always comes back when I tell her to. More often than not, she comes back on her own after she’s finished exploring.

Ruby far away on hillRuby in field2ruby running down hill

Other things to keep in mind when hiking with a dog, on or off the leash:

– Bring plenty of water for both you and the dog. I once encountered a man carrying his dog down the trail because it was dehydrated (and it was a hot summer day). I offered him some of our water, and they made it the rest of the way down okay. It goes without saying, don’t hike in the hottest hours.

– Bring an extra leash. I once lost Ruby’s leash on a trail and had to face the prospect of carrying her several blocks from the trail’s entrance to my car. Luckily, another hiker offered to double leash her dog with Ruby, so for a few blocks the dogs walked side by side.

– If it’s a long hike, I recommend bringing snacks but only giving them once you stop for a rest. I once gave Ruby treats while we were actually hiking, and she threw them all up when we reached the summit. Other dogs also kept coming over to us because they smelled the treats in my hand. What works better is keeping treats in your bag until you get to the summit (or the mid-way point). I don’t bring treats on every hike, but definitely the long/difficult ones.

– After a hike, check your dog’s body for ticks, cuts or burrs. A few weeks ago, Ruby got a large, bloody scratch on her arm and a tick on her left paw from running through brush. I removed the tick in the car, and treated her scratch when we got home.

– Bring a first aid kit. I actually need to get one of my own. Right now, our Sunday hiking friend always brings one.

– Bring poop bags. I pick up after Ruby even when we’re out in the wilderness, and yes, have trekked for over an hour with her stinky poop in my backpack. I had never been so happy to see a trashcan.

– Have a charged phone and your vet’s number in it, just in case something happens.

– Be aware of the local wild life (snakes, bears, mountain lions, coyotes, hawks, etc.). Personally, I wouldn’t hike off-leash with a small dog in Los Angeles. I’ve heard of hawks snatching Chihuahuas right in front of their owners (!). We’ve also encountered horses on the trail, and I immediately put Ruby on the leash. When the rider said his horses don’t mind dogs, I let her off. Both the horses and Ruby were totally calm.

When in doubt, approach hiking with your dog like you would hiking with a child. You want to balance the fun with common sense. Your dog will thank you for the fresh air, the exercise and especially the freedom to just be a dog and sniff, run and play to its heart’s content. She will also sleep for the rest of the day.  🙂

Ruby rolling in itRuby carrying big stickRuby playing with stick

Here are some other sites with advice on hiking with dogs:

http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/hiking/hike-with-your-dog.htm

http://www.outdoors.org/publications/outdoors/2013/features/a-hikers-best-friend.cfm

http://phoenix.about.com/od/anim/a/hikingdogs.htm

And this site will tell you where there is an off-leash trail near you (anywhere in the world).

Until the next hike!!

Ruby in field3


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Six Legs in the Bed

It should be no surprise to anyone that I sleep with my dog. I’ve blogged about giving up on crate training. I’ve posted a picture of her on the bed. Truth is, she’s been sleeping on my bed – and I’ve been receiving flack for it – practically since day one. My 84-year old father has been the most vocal about his displeasure, presumably on behalf of the entire family.

Him: “It’s just not right. Dogs should not sleep on beds, period.”

Me: “Why? Where is that written?”

Him: “It’s not written anywhere. It’s just common sense. Dogs are dirty and you don’t want that mess in your bed.”

Me: “But she doesn’t sleep in the bed. She sleeps on the bed.”

Him: “It’s not right, I’m telling you.”

Several months ago his tune changed slightly.

Him: “Well, it’s your bed. I guess you can do what you want with it.”

Me: “Thank you.”

Him: “But I still don’t think it’s right, and I don’t know what you’re going to do when you visit other people.”

Me: “Your concerns have been noted, and I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.”

Of course, my father has a point. No one wants this dog on their bed.

Dirty Ruby

By now, however, she knows the routine. When we return home after playing down and dirty at the dog park or beach, she follows me to the bathroom and hops into the bathtub to receive a very thorough wash from head to toe without squirming or crying. I think baths make her feel better because afterwards she literally hops around the apartment like a gazelle on speed.

Like any little lady, she also always “bathes” herself – twice – at night and in the morning. There’s a reason why the three most common compliments she receives are: “beautiful… well-behaved… clean.”

Ruby sitting pretty

Shedding is another matter. She does leave little white hairs everywhere, but most of the time she sleeps on top of a blue blanket that I wash every week.

Rare are moments like the other night when I returned from brushing my teeth to find this:

Ruby hiding in bed

(For the record, she was still on top of the top sheet.)

Then there is the negotiation of space. I still sleep on the same side of the bed I did when Kaz was here. Ruby usually falls asleep at the bottom half of the bed, and uses my foot as a pillow. We shift in the middle of the night – me to my right side, she to a curled up ball behind my legs. We shift again in the morning – me to my left side, she completely stretched out (vertically) from one end of the bed to the other.

Sometimes she sleeps like this:

Ruby upside down

She continues sleeping while I shower, get dressed, prepare breakfast and put on my makeup. But when I enter the room with my usual “Good morning sunshine, time for breakfast,” I always find her lying on her stomach, bright-eyed, wagging her tail. I imagine she slowly wakes up to the sounds of me puttering about the apartment.

On the weekends, we both sleep in… until she gives me this look, which means it’s time to get up:

Ruby wanting to go out

I know it’s unorthodox. I know it will complicate matters if/when I start dating again (she will adapt). I also know I’m not alone. The lady who ran her Vermont daycare slept with her husband and four other large dogs (five when Ruby lived there) in the bed. And the lady featured in this 2011 New York Times article sleeps with a pot-bellied pig, two kittens and three terriers.

From that NYT article:

Figures vary, but according to a recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 to 62 percent of the 165 million dogs and cats in this country sleep in bed with humans, with other surveys skewing higher.

Another study warns that… allowing pets to sleep in the bed can be dangerous and can spread zoonoses (pronounced zoh-AN-ee-sees), pathogens that go from animals to people… They cite instances of fleas from cats transmitting bubonic plague. Catch scratch fever is a danger, too, they say, as are various forms of meningitis, Pasturella pneumonia and other infections.

(Bubonic plague? Geez.)

All I know is having Ruby on the bed makes me feel super safe. More than anything, I find it comforting and bonding. I think she does too, as she sleeps beside me wherever I am in the apartment. As long as we’re both parasite-free, wound-free, allergy-free and disease-free, I can’t see the harm in waking up to this every day. Can you?

Ruby sleeping and smiling


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The Path to Good Citizenship

Remember when I blogged about my worries of becoming a dog lady? Screw that. I am totally a dog lady. In fact, I have high hopes for my Ruby. I would love for her to be a Therapy Dog.

[photo source: disabled-world.com]

[photo source: disabled-world.com]

A therapy dog is a dog that’s been trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, etc.  They come in all sizes and breeds. The most important characteristic of a therapy dog is its temperament. A good therapy dog must be friendly, patient, confident, gentle, and at ease in all situations. Therapy dogs must enjoy human contact and be content to be petted and handled, sometimes clumsily. In hospice environments, therapy dogs can play a role in palliative care by reducing death anxiety. [Wikipedia]

Kaz was visited by a therapy dog after his seizures. I wasn’t there to witness it, but his mother told me the encounter cheered him up immensely. I often think of him now when training Ruby. I feel like she has the right temperment for this unique job. She is calm, affectionate and very loving. People are naturally drawn to her. She’s even won over people who were initially afraid of her. She’s nowhere near ready to visit a hospital, or interact with tons of strangers. She needs a lot more training, and has to pass several hurdles. The first is the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen test. 

[photo source: Wikipedia]

[photo source: Wikipedia]

To pass the CGC Test, a dog must perform the following:

•Test 1: Accept a friendly stranger

•Test 2: Sit politely for petting by a stranger

•Test 3: Sit politely while being touched and groomed by a stranger

•Test 4: Walk on a loose leash

•Test 5: Walk politely through a crowd (no lunging or barking)

•Test 6: Sit and down on command and stay in place (including when owner is over 10 feet away)

•Test 7: Come when called

•Test 8: React politely to another dog (no pulling, barking or lunging)

•Test 9: React calmly to distraction (Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane.)

•Test 10: Maintain good manners while owner is out of sight for 3 minutes 

Dodger and his owner Melissa after passing CGC test [photo source: pitsisters.org]

Dodger and his owner Melissa after passing CGC test [photo source: pitsisters.org]

Several weeks ago Ruby and I started taking weekend classes at a dog training facility that’s running a summer special. She passed Obedience 1 in one class, and Obedience 2 in two classes. This past weekend was her first Obedience 3, a class geared specifically toward preparing dogs for the CGC test. We’re with about ten other dogs, including a large grey poodle named Louie. He looks very similar to the dog pictured below.

[photo source: valleyviewdogs.com]

[photo source: valleyviewdogs.com]

Louie is so well-behaved, I’m not sure why he’s still in training. His owners, a somewhat pale and tired-looking husband and wife team, seem to be in control of his every thought and movement. If they weren’t so Jedi-focused on Louie, they might have noticed me and Ruby staring at them, dumbfounded.

At the end of class, we approached Louie’s parents and while our dogs played, I asked his parents how long he’s been training.

“Since he was a puppy,” they said. “Now he’s 13 months.” 

“You’ve done a fantastic job,” I gushed. “He seems perfect to me.”

“Thank you,” the woman smiled, “but he didn’t pass the test.” 

Apparently, Louie did everything perfectly until the very last test, when his owners had to leave him for 3 minutes. “He couldn’t handle it,” the woman sighed, then gave another little smile. “But we’re going to try again.”

By this point Ruby was running in circles around Louie trying to goad him into playing. Louie and his parents left, and I stayed behind to talk to the teacher. Does she think Ruby has what it takes?

“Absolutely.” She said even though Ruby might not be perfectly behaved like Louie yet, she is picking things up very quickly and she has a certain energy that will serve her well. She can be very still, calm and focused when she wants to be.

Who knows how far we will go, but we’re both having fun right now. I swear that training her is helping me in some way. I know it’s helping her. One day, if we work hard enough, we might get the opportunity to help others.

Ruby zen2


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The Clock Doth Tick

Sometimes I am still shocked by where I am in life: a widow, former caregiver, film writer/director who still works a day job and barely scrapes by, at 42 years old. Not feeling sorry for myself, just stating the facts. Actually, I was reminded of the facts yesterday.

Before leaving said day job, whether next month or next year, I’m using my health insurance to get everything checked out. There I was with a new OBGYN, from whom I need a referral for a mammogram, getting thoroughly probed and questioned about my family, medical and sexual history. Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, the conversation found its way to a subject which I had not anticipated discussing, and inadvertantly brought up the reality of my situation.

“Are you thinking of having children?” the doctor asked.

“I’ve… thought about it,” I answered slowly. “But I’m not really sure what my options are at this point.”

The good doctor briefly explained the options:

The old-fashioned way. Meeting a man, falling in love, making a baby.

The Baby Daddy way. Asking a friend to donate his stuff and sign away his paternal rights.

Cryobank. Shopping online for an anonymous baby daddy.

Eggs on ice. Freezing my eggs for later.

Adoption.

“If having a biological child is something you’re even remotely considering, the first step would be to test how fertile you are and what your time frame might be,” the doctor suggested.

“Okay,” I said. What the hell. Let’s see what this body of mine is capable of, and just how fast the clock is ticking.

Then she asked if I want to take the BRCA1 and BRCA2 test, which would tell me if I have the breast cancer susceptibility gene. At first, I was skeptical. I already know breast cancer runs in my family (both my mother and sister had and survived it). The doctor explained that the gene test would either confirm my increased risk (in which case I would start a vigilante early detection program), OR it would give me the peace of mind that I’m actually not at more risk than the average woman.

She further explained that as of this year, thanks to new health insurance and Obamacare laws, if a woman tests positive for these genes, her subsequent early detection procedures will be covered by insurance, AND if she switches insurance at any point, a positive gene-test won’t be considered a pre-exisiting condition. 

Again I thought, what the hell. Let’s test everything. I should have all the facts before making any big decisions.

As I left the appointment, tears started to flow in the hallway. I put my sunglasses on while waiting for the elevator with a mother and her two children and drove back to work, the whole time thinking about how different life would be if Kaz were still alive.

Facing these decisions alone is daunting. The idea of having a child alone is even more daunting. I know women do it all the time, but I’m not sure I want to – or if can afford it, to be honest. There’s all kinds of considerations, but the truth is, if it’s ever going to happen, the window of opportunity is closing. Anything could happen but my gut tells me the traditional route is the least likely option. Dating takes time, and who’s to say any potential partner would want to have a baby right away?

The good news is, I don’t have to make any decisions right now. The test results will come back within a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I’m focusing on my writing and Ruby, who I’m proud to say graduated Obedience 1 last weekend and begins Obedience 2 and Agility 1 this weekend. At the very least, I’m a dog mom (a good one). But as I told the doctor yesterday, “Sometimes I wonder if she’s enough.”


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The Philosophy of Kaizen

Kaizen

According to WikepediaKaizen (改善) (pronounced “Ky-zen”), is Japanese for “improvement”, or “change for the better” and refers to philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, and business management. It’s a phrase that’s also used in psychology to refer to the practice of making small changes/improvements in one’s life while working towards larger goals. (There is quite a bit of research on the meaning, origins and uses of Kaizen, as well as books like this one about the psychological aspect, and this one, more business-oriented.)

The first time I heard of it was in spring of 2011 during the caregiver’s support group I used to attend. I had just shared with the group that Kaz was deeply depressed due to his declining health, and I was at my wits end trying to figure out how to help him. I felt like the depression was making him deteriorate faster. One of the group members suggested that I encourage him to make little changes that might improve his outlook gradually. She said this was the Japanese philosphy of “Kaizen.” I discussed it with Kaz and he thought it was an interesting concept that made sense. He also felt like he was past the point of “small improvements” doing much good. It was a tough situation.

The other day the word popped into my head again when I was thinking of the small changes I’ve made recently and how they’re making me feel. It hasn’t even been that long (this is the second week), but I already have more energy and feel more upbeat than before. I’ve had moments of sadness but not the sluggish, hopeless feelings of depression. Even my attitude at work has improved, all because of these simple changes:

  1. Waking up earlier (with the help of four alarms) and showing up to work on time
  2. Walking, jogging or hiking every other day for at least 20 minutes 
  3. Cooking my own food 
  4. Drinking more water 
  5. Drinking less alcohol
  6. Eating less sugar
  7. Going to bed at a reasonable hour

 

Certainly not grand gestures, but I think that’s the point – little gestures, small improvements, which add up over the course of time. The challenge, of course, is to not lose patience or expect big results overnight. This has always been my downfall in the past, not seeing results fast enough and getting discouraged. I’m trying to avoid that by taking it one day at a time and not thinking too far down the line. I found this challenging to do when Kaz was sick because the ‘end of the line’ felt like approaching Niagra Falls and knowing only one of us would survive the fall. Things are different now.

Can you relate to the idea of changing things a little at a time? Do you have the patience?