Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Quantum Perspective

What if Alzheimer’s is simply our spirit’s way of easing us out of life when our mind and body aren’t yet ready to go? What if it’s not a disease to be cured but a process to be supported?

In the dualistic Newtonian world, Alzheimer’s is “an evil disease that robs me of my memory, hijacks my life…an insidious disease that gobbles memory and ends up destroying life.” Losing My Mind: An Intimate Look at Life with Alzheimer’s by Thomas DeBaggio.

But in a quantum world beyond time and judgment, what is Alzheimer’s? Can I get a new perspective on this earthly fact of life in the 21st century by taking off my Newtonian glasses and sensing it through quantum eyes?

Seen from an energetic perspective, the soul is eternal. The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy is neither created nor destroyed; it is only transformed. The unique energetic fingerprint that is me before I come into the physical is transformed into my body when I am born. When I die that same unique energetic fingerprint (now enlarged by this lifetime’s experience) goes back into the non-physical. Or, as the Australian Aborigines say, I return to Forever. (For explanation of non-physical and physical, see my book, link at top, Chapter 1)

So if my non-physical eternal self knows that my earthwalk is over and it’s time to return to Forever, but my physical, mass conscious-bound body is afraid, I’m in trouble. “Tired of livin’ an’ skeered of dyin”, per Old Man River. Fear of dying can force us to cling to an exhausted body much longer than that body is able to serve us.

What if Alzheimer’s is a Baby Boomer designer disease for guilt-free dropping out? The Rate of Change line that was horizontal when I was born is now vertical. No problem to those born into constant change. They come in hard wired for it. But I am overwhelmed at the thought of having to learn a new phone if I want to change providers. Not responsive to change = Not good. In the natural world, it’s either growing or dying. There is no neutral holding zone. I’ve learned that by studying chaos and living systems. (Chapter 3 if you want more on that.)

Major resistance = rigidity = stagnation = atrophy = (gulp)…But if death isn’t bad (or good) but is just a continuation of our energy in a non-physical reality, then what do I have to fear?

Change is mandatory
Pain is optional
~ Errol Strider, actor

My mother had dementia, and perhaps other ancestral craziness could be excused by it. Even if I have the gene, I don’t believe I am ‘predisposed’ to Alzheimer’s. I believe our genetic coding is simply an opportunity to heal and move past our inherited family baggage, so to speak. I believe we choose which of our genes to activate and thereby heal and live beyond.

But even if I am not physically threatened by corrupted genes, I do believe I can emotionally unconsciously choose Alzheimer’s. …by giving up in the face of overwhelm, by going under with depression or exhaustion, by surrendering to confusion…all of which are seductive urges I have all too often these days. What if my choices in the face of extreme challenge (read: chaos) tally as unconscious energetic votes for or against Alzheimer’s? Obviously no one consciously chooses Alzheimer’s. But we make many of our choices at the unconscious or sub-conscious level.

So, here’s the bottom line as I see it. (1) If someone I love has Alzheimer’s, I can change how I see this part of their journey. (2) If I’m headed for it, I want you to know how to treat me = Alzheimer’s Living Will. (3) I’ll keep seeking a conscious, natural, healthy way to die. I don’t believe I have to have ‘a final illness’.

Wisdom for we the living:
Personality to Essence~
When I was in pain in my mother’s early stages of Alzheimer’s, I went to see one of my wise teachers for counsel. Fred had been a minister to both mother and me. He’d just returned from being with his mother who was nursing his step-father George through Alzheimer’s. As Fred sat next to him, George would see Fred and his face would light up and he’d say “Fred! It’s great to see you.” Then he’d drift off. When he woke up, he’d be delighted again “Fred! You’re here!” Fred’s mother was in despair and embarrassment for her husband. He’d turn toward the window and when he turned back and saw Fred, he’d reach out with glee, “Fred!” Fred said, “I’ve never done so little to bring so much joy to one person.”

Fred told me that as my mother progressed in Alzheimer’s she would loose her personality. Dorothy Kirk would fade from the world. But her dissolving personality would leave her essence, her soul. It would leave the part of her that doesn’t need names to express or receive love.

No Labels. Just Acceptance
Long before Alzheimer’s was in the picture, my mother and I went off to a retreat for Adults and Their Aging Parents. It was held by Ram Das on a beautiful mountain side in New Mexico. Ram Das had just come from caring for his father the last year of his life. He said, “I’d walked into the kitchen and Dad’s carrying on a conversation with someone. There’s nobody in there but Dad. So I’d say, ‘Who you talking to?’ And Dad would say, ‘Oh, Uncle Charlie and I are talking about that fishing trip we took to Canada, remember?’ So I’d say ‘Can I join in?’ and we’d all talked about fishing.”

Ram Das said when he’d tuck his Dad into bed, his Dad would pat his hand and say, ‘Thanks, sonny.’ His Dad called everyone ‘sonny’. Ram Das knew that his Dad didn’t know Ram Das was his son, but his Dad knew he was safe and loved. The entire time with us Ram Das never once used words like ‘hallucinating’ or labels like Alzheimer’s. He simply shared with us his journey of caring for someone he loved without judgment and drama.

Learn to Value Life without Memory

~ What is the value of life if memory is gone? Does it make life worth less, or worthless? With the Past gone, all we have is the moment.
~ Can we honor this precious Present, moment by moment?
~ Can we accept that this string of moments can be a beautiful final chapter to life?

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle , and other similar books are helping us adjust to the very quantum realization that all we have is right here, right now. One of the biggest gifts I’ve gotten from my Twelve Step Program is living life one day at a time.

I don’t want to minimize the pain we feel when the person we love doesn’t know our name, doesn’t know us. But that is my pain. It’s not their pain. I felt immeasurably relieved when my wise teacher pointed out that even though my mother didn’t have Dorothy Kirk’s personality anymore, she still had the essence of her spirit…and she always will. I just had to learn to relate to my mother’s spirit instead of relating to her personality.

And I want to honor the loving children, friends and caregivers who walk step by slow, faltering step to the deathbed of those who have Alzheimer’s. My sister and brother-in-law took my mother into their home for the last two years of her life. It totally changed and refocused their lives. During those years, their days and priorities were not their own. They revolved around mother. When my sister got home from teaching, mother would follow her around the house even though mom’s caregiver was there. And Lowell was on night duty to get mother safely to the toilet and back, and all the details in between. That’s love. And when my mother took her last breath, even though she didn’t know it was Ginny and Lowell holding her hands, she knew she was safe and loved.


To my family, friends, and caregivers:
1. Let me go gently into my next reality। Don’t be disappointed when I don’t remember your name. I’ll remember your heart. I’ll know I’m in the presence of someone who loves me. Support me to be in the wonder of the moment. Hang crystals in the window and bright spinner flags from the ceiling. Burn candles that smell like gardenias and cotton candy. Rub rabbit skins on my cheeks. Feed me chocolate chip cookies made with real butter. ।
2. Play happy music like Grazin’ in the Grass and Watermelon Man, and get up and dance with me।
3. Keep me safe and warm। I like wool sox and flannel PJ’s।

4. Don’t keep dressing me in street clothes and shaving my legs and fixing my hair and taking me out to activities so I ‘stay involved in the real world।’ Just sit me in front of a window where I can watch the sun change shapes on the leaves all day। Keep me clean if that’s important to you। It probably won’t be to me.
5. If you need to put me in a Home, try to find one where they truly love old helpless people. It won't matter to me how many degrees the person changing my diapers has. Their heart will matter.
6. Don’t waste money on pills, treatments and tubes…or any other efforts to prolong my life in this body. Remember, my purpose here is to drop this body and move on. Don’t look at Alzheimer’s as a disease you’re trying to cure, but as my process that you can support. If you keep trying to pull me back into your world, you’ll probably get tantrums, and bad words and lots of frustrated anger from me. I’m on my way out. Don’t prolong it with your personal resistance.
7. Do your grieving away from me if you can। When you come to see me, celebrate the fun and delight in life। Come into my world. If I’m talking to the fairies and angels, join in. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
8. Bring babies, kittens and puppies to see me।
9. Put a lemon leafed geranium in the window for me to tend।
10. Put a lava lamp by my chair।


I do believe that I have an alternative to any final illness in choosing how I die, naturally and consciously, without drugs or Hemlock. I’m going to write about it in my next blog. This is not a tacky tantalizer to get you back. I’m just tired of blogging for now.

Phyllis Kirk