Turning to the Inner Landscape
Turning to the inner landscape. It may be an unusual sounding phrase for some, particularly in relation to caregiving. Caregiving is, after all, about the externals, about the physical details, right?
That is right – in part.
The days and nights of caregiving can become filled to overflowing with the physical details of providing care. The caregiver somehow finds a way, though, to manage them – either by moxie, miracle, or magic. As care becomes more involved, as it becomes more hands-on, a near-constant flow of adrenaline seems to support the movements of hands and feet that are always doing, doing, doing, going, going, going.
When focused solely on the physical details of the externals of giving care, the act of caregiving can quickly become all-consuming.
All of it can begin to take a toll on the caregiver. This toll can show up in the caregiver’s body as exhaustion, stress, mental as well as physical pain, often leading to the caregiver’s own set of health concerns.
For as physically challenging as caregiving can be, it is significant – and not just for the person receiving care. It is significant because all the doing and all the going get us out of our heads and into our bodies in a very real way. This being in our bodies has the potential to take us to a threshold of sort, a deeper aspect of the caregiver’s journey where we are offered an opportunity to move into a liminal space of transformation and authentic healing.
Of course, we’re not obligated to take this deeper journey. If we do, however, we caregivers find that it’s not a journey that uniquely takes place in our exterior world. It is a journey that moves us through our inner landscape – an intimate world that is usually quite foreign to most.
And, so, this curious sounding phrase – this inner landscape – points to a very intimate place within each of us that offers the opportunity to heal through the pain and suffering and hurt that often comes out of the experience of giving care.
The Inner Landscape
The inner landscape is a vibrant, fully alive, continuous environment that we can enter into any time we choose. If hearing the phrase inner landscape creates some confusion for you. In part, it’s because the phrase is not all that common in most circles of conversations.
The fact that we can’t touch or see the inner landscape with any of our five physical senses doesn’t help matters much. But it’s worth remembering that this non-physical landscape has a direct and tangible impact on our physical, day-to-day lives. That alone is reason enough to become more familiar with our inner landscape: all those peaks and valleys of our emotions and feelings and non-physical aspects of ourselves.
Consciously learning to shift from our external experience to the experience of our inner landscape is something any of us can do. This process actually allows us to dive below the surface of our caregiving experiences in order to be with them and learn from them and heal through them.
It’s this inner landscape of caregiving that we focus on throughout this site and through the different resources discussed on the site. A very good place to start to explore this path of healing is Kevin’s new book – I Am Here: The Healing Journey of Caregiving. Also be sure to check out the information listed under the Services tab above as well as the Resources tab next to it.