"Courageous care partners recharge with self-care, striving for peaceful pinnacles
in patience, persistence, and positive 
changes, knowing when to conquer and when to comfort."

It’s up to us to choose.

May 29, 2020 by Eileen Adler

The book, The Choice: Embrace the Possible written by Dr. Edith Eva Eger was published in 2018, ninety-one years after she was born in the fall of 1927 in Kosice, Slovakia. The country eventually came under the rule of Hungary in 1938 but her choices were far more dire, tragic, and horrific because, at the age of sixteen, she was sent to Auschwitz. Out of such misery, a flower of peacefulness and hope can grow and that is the life lesson we must learn from Dr. Eger, for she was able to release her mind from the physical imprisonment she found herself in, through no fault of her own except that she was Jewish, and found her ability to open the lock to freedom - freedom on the mind.

Where do we find our strength as care partners? Although her mother perished in the Holocaust, Dr. Eger kept her spirit, wisdom, and strength in her heart, fleshing out the memories and wisdom her mother taught her before her untimely death; she became Dr. Eger’s mentor. Find the mentor that you can keep in your heart always available to you whenever you need their wisdom or a moment of clarity. Many of my knitting students have shared with me the question they ask when looking at their knitting error, “what would Eileen do?” and they are able to move on with their project. My father was my mother’s care partner as Alzheimer’s took her memories, and yet he maintained hope through the many years of her illness. When faced with a dilemma, I often ask myself, “what would Dad do?” We all need a mentor; find yours.

Hilary Hinton Ziglar, better known as “Zig,” advised us that “when we focus on problems, you get more problems. When you focus on possibilities, you have more opportunities,” and encourages us further with: “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.”

Dr. Eger’s words of wisdom explain her choice therapy or approach in this way; the freedom is about CHOISE, her acronym for “compassion, humor, optimism, intuition, curiosity, and self-expression” and combined with Zig Ziglar’s quote: “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude” invites us to choose wisely.

Life Lessons from Dr. Eger

  • Her mother’s lasting message: “No one can take away from you what you pit in your own mind.
  • Living live is all about discovering traits you never thought you had, focusing on your strengths.
  • Living life is difficult when you don’t know what is going to happen to you.
  • No ‘why me’ but rather ‘what’s now’ and ‘what’s next’ – cooperation is the name of the game – not competition, not domination
  • “The biggest freedom is in your own mind and the key is in your pocket.”
  • “Change is about noticing what’s no longer working and stepping out of the familiar, imprisoning patterns.”
  • “Our painful experiences aren’t a liability—they’re a gift.”