The New Book on Healing Caregivers
About Kevin Sharpe’s New Book I Am Here
Kevin Sharpe shifts our focus from the linear, day-to-day exterior elements of our caregiving responsibilities to a profound inner landscape: the five different interior aspects of the healing journey of the caregiver. Becoming aware of and then integrating each of these aspects help us not only reduce the effects of caregiver stress, but can provide us with truths that naturally transform the life of anyone providing care for another. Using the lens of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, Sharpe delves into each of these five aspects of caregiving and their healing potential.
For those exploring this inner landscape, there awaits a mystical, alchemical, healing transformation – one that unfolds and leaves us living in relationship in a bigger, more authentic, and more intimate way.
An Interview With Kevin Sharpe About the New Book
The following is an interview with Kevin Sharpe, during which he discusses how his new book I Am Here: The Healing Journey of Caregiving came about, its purpose, and how he sees it serving to meet the needs of caregivers in all walks of life.
Interviewer: It may be a good idea to begin with a general overview of your new book I Am Here: The Healing Journey of Caregiving so those who are not familiar with it can learn about this very important topic.
Kevin Sharpe: Absolutely. This book is really for the caregiver. And the caregiver is the person who essentially gives care to someone. When we begin to give care to someone, we start out on a journey. And that journey, in most instances, is one that can be characterized by intensity. The act of giving care can be an act that takes a real toll on the caregiver. And so this caregiving journey can and often does lead to the caregiver suffering from both physical and emotional pain and trauma.
But in the pages of I Am Here, I bring to light that we caregivers are offered another option. We are offered the opportunity to have this caregiving journey be one of healing – and not just for the one receiving care, but also for the caregiver. And so we explore in the book how this can actually happen, how we can actually have our caregiving journey be one of healing instead of hurt.
Interviewer: This book of yours comes out of a very personal experience, doesn’t it?
Kevin Sharpe: It really does. Every word in the book is born out of my own story, my very own healing journey of caregiving.
Interviewer: Would you share a bit more about that?
Kevin Sharpe: Of course. There are many facets to this story of mine that actually become clearer as time passes. However, the start of the story is a culmination of three different “forces”. The majority of my professional training is in mindfulness or contemplative practices, including Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. So the first force, if you will, is my career as a stress management consultant along with my professional training. The second force that came into play was the immediate turning upside-down of my life and my father’s, for that matter. In the space of one day, my father became critically ill, an event which would eventually lead to his terminal illness. The result is that I ended up having to leave full-time practice so I could be a very full-time primary caregiver for him. And then the third force was my amazing “skill” at denial.
Interviewer: Speak a little more about this “skill” of denial. It’s a very interesting characterization.
Kevin Sharpe: Essentially it was my incredible ability to try to deny the fact that I am human. As such, I was pushing through or covering up all my emotions, all my feelings, all my physical symptoms of a beyond-stressful life. The result, of course, was a real breakdown in my body that shook me up so that I had to accept myself and my life, my reality of being my father’s (and mother’s) very human caregiver.
Interviewer: So where did this perfect storm leave you?
Kevin Sharpe: It left me in the heart of a very big and at the same time very intimate relationship. And that relationship can best be understood, I think, as a very real, very deep healing.
Interviewer: Big and intimate?
Kevin Sharpe: The very big aspect was that it shifted and colored and transformed how I interfaced with my whole life – myself, my family, friends. The very intimate aspect is that it provided me with experiential understanding that I am (that we all are) held up and supported by God. This is something that is far from just an intellectual grasping. I’m talking about something so tangible that it can be felt. And I can honestly say that this continues to deepen and to unfold daily. Now that I’ve had this healing, this opening of my eyes so to speak, I just keep getting wave after wave of insight about this intimacy between God and my life, between God and me.
Interviewer: And this is a healing experience.
Kevin Sharpe: This is most surely a healing experience. And it has all been made possible by this perfect storm – through my being tripped up by this caregiving life.
Some Reviews From Caregivers Who’ve Read the Book
“Mr. Sharpe effectively alternates between a beautifully written recollection of his role as caretaker to his dying father and his more familiar therapist-speak analysis of the interior journey. The result is a remarkable and moving book that can help guide us all through loss – loss of personal control and loss of the comfort of those we love.” – David Johnston
“This book was a welcome companion of encouragement to me as a caregiver.” – Gaylie Cashman
“Like a light in the window, this book is a beacon, providing hope in seemingly hopeless situations, pointing the way towards healing through our wounds. The author so courageously makes himself vulnerable to us, sharing the details of his own heartbreaking (yet ultimately uplifting) experience. Through this intimate and vulnerable storytelling, the author ends up bringing a radical consolation to those of us suffering through a similar trial. Like the healing process itself, this book is not always easy to read, but it’s always true and always wise. I promise, this little book will fill you with hope in wholly unlikely times.” – Chris Moses