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"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What's Your Cookie?

NB - The following is a meditation I gave this morning for my Hospice Team

As I was looking over my charts last night, I noted how many times I included "Life Review" in my care plans. I seem to do a lot of 'life review' in my visits, in several different ways, using several different approaches and techniques. Some of you might do that, too.

Of course, there's the "interview" data-gathering phase where you gather the basic information about the patient. But then I find myself circling back to go a bit deeper into the patient/family's life story. Sometimes, if there's time and the patient /family have an appropriate available level of insight, I'll ask this question:
Is there anyone in your life - a friend, a family member, a neighbor, a teacher, a celebrity - who said something or did something or you observed something about them that changed the course of your life or inspired you?
One woman who answered that question really surprised me.  Her inspiration?

"Cookie Monster," she said, with a bright smile on her face.

"Cookie Monster changed your life?" I asked.

"Oh yes," she responded, sitting up in her chair. 

"I was watching Sesame Street with my kids one day. In this particular episode, Cookie Monster was on a game show of some sort. If he answered the question correctly, he could choose his reward from behind one of three doors."

"Behind door number one," she continued, "was 'a million dollars'! Behind door number two was 'a brand new car'! And, behind door number three was . . . ."

She paused, her eyes glistening as we said together, "A cookie!"

"Of course," she continued, "Cookie answered the question correctly. And, of course, he chose the prize . . . . 'Behind door number three! A COOKIE!'," we said in unison, doing our best impression of Cookie Monster. 

We giggled for a bit and then she said, "And, you know, right then and there I said to myself, 'Gee, I wonder what MY cookie is'. I wonder what it is in my life that I love so much that money doesn't matter or nice things don't matter. As long as I've got even the possibility of getting that which is my 'cookie' in life, I'm happy."

"When I found my 'cookie'," she said, "when I was able to name it and say it, life became worth living. And now that I know the end in sight, I don't have too many regrets. Well, just that I wish I had more time to enjoy even more of my cookies."

So the question I bring to you this week, for your consideration and meditation is: What is your 'cookie'? 

Is it your work as a nurse or nurse practitioner or a social worker or a doctor or an administrator? Is being able to do that work what makes your life have joy and passion, no matter what you are paid or what 'things' you have in your life?

Is it your family? As long as you have your family, everything else in in service of them? Neither the work you do or the things you have are more important than those people?

Part of it for me is the gift of my faith.  I call my faith a gift because I certainly didn't do anything to deserve it or earn it. I question it all the time. And yet, it is with me always, even in difficult times. It brings me great joy. And it really doesn't matter how much I'm paid for dong the work - well, within reason, Madam Clinical Director. My Mama didn't raise no fool - I love living my faith. It puts everything else in perspective.

As you go through this day, this week, I ask that you consider this question: What is your 'cookie' in life? Because, once you get clear about that, lots of other questions begin to find a path to their answers. And, it is on that path where you will go beyond happiness and right smack dab into joy.

Or, as Cookie Monster would sing, "C is for Cookie, dat's good enough for me."



Melody said...

I'm off to ponder on what my cookie is. Thank you for sharing that insight!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Hopefully, everyone will.

8thday said...

When I first read this, I thought "oh, that's easy, it's the people I love." But I kept coming back to this because of a nagging feeling that it is something even deeper. Like, what is it about the people I love? Or is it just 'to love'. I think I'm getting closer . . .

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Lovely, 8th day.