You can never appreciate the therapeutic effect of the Spark of Life Philosophy until you are faced with a challenge you cannot run away from. The Spark of Life International Master Program educates on what to expect in caring for people living with dementia and it also equips you on how to handle the challenges. However it is difficult to fathom the depth of sacrifice involved when the affected person is a member of your family or a close friend. Here you are faced with a situation you cannot run away from. I found myself in such a situation and I can tell you it is really challenging.
For over sixteen years I have been involved in caring and ministering to elders and people living with dementia, but it was nothing compared to my experience caring for my loved one. This was a harrowing experience.
In the midst of the situation I received a call from a friend, who did not know what I was going through, but remembered my involvement with the elderly. He said he had recommended me for a 3-week program in Australia – the Spark of Life International Master Practitioner Program. He did not know what I was going through, but knew of my background in relating to the elderly. As the president of a Care Centre for the elderly he also invited me to his association seminar and knew I would benefit from the program.
This Spark of Life International Master Practitioner Program was indeed the light at the end of the tunnel.. Simply put it filled the missing gap between my love for the elders and the care given to them. By the end of the second week into the course, I knew what was wrong with my loved one and I could not hold back my tears.
The knowledge I acquired during the program gave me an insight into what the issues are for those with dementia. With the knowledge of the Spark of Life Philosophy, I became more loving, understanding, and compassionate.
In order to care for my loved one, I stopped virtually every other engagement and my life almost came to a halt. The only active part was church attendance and every other channel in regards to earning a livelihood or socialising came to a halt. I was tested on every point; financial, emotion, health, spirituality, sociality etc. Many times, I wept secretly and many times I wondered why. It was indeed a challenge of a lifetime.
Sharing this information with all family members and others living with us became mandatory. The Spark of Life Master Practitioner Manual formed the core of my training, teaching them the three core principles of Spark of Life and emphasizing the need to do away with the belief that it is irreversible while assuring them that with unconditional love, care and compassion from all of us we would reverse her case to rementia. Their understanding became clearer and they joined me in caring whenever they visited.
The temptation to take her to a nursing home was high and each time I rejected the suggestion mainly because I believed that Spark of Life works and I was willing to put it on trial. Consequently I gave up my busy schedule in order to reignite the Spark on my friend’s face and give her a new hope of living, bearing in mind that the love you give to others is not really lost instead it is an investment in your future. I was determined to make a success out of this however sometimes the more I tried to show love, the more I would get frustrated. Increasingly, the situation became difficult to manage but I was determined to succeed, so I persevered.
Finally one day, she looked at me so deeply and asked, ‘Are you Lyabo?’ (my name) and I said, ‘Yes?’ At that point I knew she was recognizing people and remembering names agian. Another time she said, ‘Thank you for accepting me and caring for me. You showed me so much love and I am happy and encouraged. I will never forget you.’
She has now started driving her car unaccompanied and the episodes of missing her way is fast disappearing. She is encouraging me to go back to work and her conversation flows very well now. I am so happy to see her face reignited with better hope for the future.
I believe through practice and experience that everyone needs unconditional love. Everyone needs acceptance. Everyone needs to feel needed and useful. Everyone needs to exercise the right to choose and everyone needs to have his/her self-esteem boosted.
Indeed, ‘True love is selfless. It is prepared to sacrifice.’ – Sadhu Vaswani
The Spark of Life Philosophy is the solution to emotional disturbances and challenging behaviour. Anyone who holds the Spark of Life Key in their heart, and applies it with focused attention of unconditional love, can speak the language of emotion- the essence of true connection.