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The Heart Helps the Sandwich Generation: Dealing with the Stress of Being Caught Between Your Aging Parents and Your Children

HeartStart to Your Week, Monday, March 10th

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Conference Dial-in Number: (605) 990-0700
Participant Access Code: 992522#


Self care is essential to survive the sandwich. I know no better resource for self care, and for finding needed answers to difficult questions while navigating stressful decisions, than the heart.

The fact that I was a dancer when I was a child is probably what gave me the foundation to be sharing the heart with all of you now. My teachers, my ballet teacher in particular, taught me the magic of daily discipline, and the freedom and pay off that comes from practice and commitment. To really access the benefits of your own heart, it takes daily discipline and a vigilance to stay true to the heart in the face of the many distractions and detours that our mental messes and unruly emotions muddle with. This is why at Fyera! we offer a year long course, the HeartMastery program, to give people a context in which they can do more than dabble in the heart- they can master heart based living. In many ways, I have my ballet teacher to thank for the inspiration of HeartMastery and the confidence and commitment and discipline to know that I can stand by my students for a full year no matter what they go through. Because that is what she did for me when I was a teenager.

So, you can imagine both my delight and my intimidation, when this ballet teacher reappeared in my life after 20 years, to learn HeartMath® from me!

When I was reunited with my teacher, she had on the one hand a preteen daughter, and on the other hand an aging mother suffering from Alzheimer�s and a father in denial and depression.

She was, as marketing moguls love to categorize �target populations,� a member of the �sandwich generation�: caught between needy children and needy parents. The stressors for this generation are enormous. There are the obvious stressors of the money, time, and other resource drains being split in two directions. But there is also a psychological alienation and isolation that can come from suddenly having to be the one with all the answers for everyone, and no time or support or mentor for you. Suddenly, you are taking care of everyone, and no one is taking care of you.

Self care is essential to survive the sandwich. I know no better resource for self care, and for finding needed answers to difficult questions while navigating stressful decisions, than the heart.

The heart helps everyone, but especially those sandwiched in between generations to make their choices from true care. The intelligence that has been discovered in the heart, when one has tools to tune into its signals, ensures that even in the most difficult of scenarios outcomes can be created that will be the highest best for all concerned. We teach tools to access the heart�s intelligence in our Beginner HeartMath Webinar, which begins the first Tuesday of every month.

It was to the Beginner Webinar that my ballet teacher showed up, to gain resources to deal with putting her mother in a home and helping her father deal with his despair. The real test for her came when she had to go back and see her mother for the first time after so much of her memory was lost that she no longer recognized anyone. Imagine visiting your own mother, and having her not recognize you! Her father�s reaction was to get angry and frustrated, judging his wife violently for being so �stupid.� As my teacher used the communication tool she learned in her HeartMath class, she was able to pacify his frustration and help him understand that it was not stupidity or lack of love for him that was causing his wife to lose her memory- it was a disease.

What about my ballet teacher�s own grief? To lose your mother emotionally before her body has given up physically is quite a blow. Everyone understands a person�s grief after a death. But there is often little understanding offered for the more devastating grief of losing a parent while their body is still in tact. How devastating that can be! As she met her own loss, my teacher practiced the neutral tool she learned in her first HeartMath class. She sat there, next to her own mother who did not know her, accessing her heart quietly, and just being in the space with her, holding her hand. Demanding nothing, being together in the heart, a remarkable thing occurred. Her mother looked up at her lucidly and said, �I really like being with you. You�re nice. Would you come back and see me again sometime?�

In the absence of story, of memory, of all identities and roles, the love in the heart was still there.

My teacher, a strong and emotionally solid soul, choked back vulnerable tears as she told me this story. In the heart, the connections could still be made, long after the brain had lost its ability to connect.

Moments like this one can make the stressors of bills to be paid and decisions to be made so much easier and well worth the while, because the heart of the matter is not lost. In fact, the opportunity of being in the sandwich generation is that it can deepen your experience of the heart. When we have tools to access the heart, the loss of roles, identities, memories, and habitual patterns of interaction, can actually help to wake us up to the real love that had been present underneath the pretense of those roles all along.

The irony here, is that in coming to me to learn HeartMath, my teacher became my student, just as care receivers become caregivers, and she gave me the chance to have the same experience. What elegance that the gifts of the heart have been here all along, and every stressful experience is but a portal of opportunity giving us the chance to find the empowerment and connection of the heart.

Related Resources

concepts for living

Concepts for Living - www.conceptsforliving.com

Unique in their approach to finding residential communities for seniors and thus, assisting the sandwich generation in their turmoil, pain and crises, Concepts for Living was founded in 1999 as the ultimate answer to this ever-growing dilemma. As the population grows, so grows the need, but should never be and cannot be generically approached. With a former hospice admissions director, a registered nurse with a geriatric certification and senior care consultants who live in the areas they represent, the Concepts team takes great pride in regarding each senior as unique and in finding the "right match" for the best care: physically, cognitively, socially and emotionally. Their services are FREE to their clients and their willingness to listen has no limit on time. For more answers to questions regarding these services that everyone should know more about, do visit www.conceptsforliving.com and meet the team!

AllPoint Home Health

ALLPOINT Home Health www.allpointhomehealth.com

Since 1989, ALLPOINT Home Health has been leading the way in helping seniors and disabled adults safely retain their independence in their homes by providing both medical and non-medical in-home assistance, ranging from 4 to 24 hours a day, on an either long-term or short-term basis. Unlike similar agencies, we are owned and operated by a Registered Nurse with over 30 years of experience. Estee Bienstock, our founder and Executive Director, personally supervises our entire care team and maintains ongoing contact with all of our clients and families, in keeping with her philosophy of caring for each client the way she would care for her own family member.

Tune in to tonight�s HeartStart call to find out more about the power of the heart to deal with the stressors of the Sandwich Generation!

Sign up for the free first night of our beginner webinar to learn more about accessing the treasure in your own chest.


"Thank you for class last night. Honestly, I got more from that one Fyera! session with you than from years of therapy in the past."

- Lauren Katz, writer

"Sheva, I don�t know what you do or how you do it but you fricken rock. I feel so much better already."

- Ted Stearns, Tradeline Solutions


Did you receive this after the call already happened?
Not a problem, listen to the recorded version until March 17, 2008.

Free Conference Play Back
Playback Number: (641) 985-5108
Access Code: 992522#

To listen to previous Heart Start calls go to www.fyera.com/heartstart.html

For more information about our four evening HeartMath class series e-mail [email protected]

emwave personal stress reliever


Fyera! Beginner HeartMath Workshop

People who are either looking to get the edge in their performance, struggling with all different types of stressors, or have loved ones who are, can benefit from the Fyera! Beginner HeartMath Workshop.

In the Beginner HeartMath Workshop taught at Fyera! you will
Learn the science and physiology behind feeling good.
Learn the science and physiology of what gets in the way of feeling good: ie stress.
Learn how to feel better more often by transforming stress, and receive ways to help those you love do the same.

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Receive a biofeedback technology called an emWave® Personal Stress Reliever™ that actually shows you your heart rhythms in real time.

Learn a proven way to neutralize stress, on the spot, engaging with life (no yoga mats, special diets, expensive vacation cruises, herbs or vitamins, twisting yourself into a pretzel or locking yourself in a meditation hall needed).
A proven way to lower stress hormone levels and increase rejuvenation anti-aging hormone levels.
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You will learn a field tested way to transform stressful situations
Gain the power to resolve miscommunication, personality conflicts, and relationship stress.
Learn why most stress management techniques fail, and what to do about it.
Learn the difference between relaxation and true stress relief, resetting the baseline of your nervous system to stop hidden stress from stealing away your health, vitality and performance.
Reduce your reactivity and fatigue, leaving you more centered, peaceful, and full of energy at the same time.
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Plug energy drains and learn to recharge energy anywhere anytime.
Learn to use the “more of your brain” that most people do not access.
Learn 5 simple processes that you can use anywhere anytime to access the wisdom of your heart to maneuver through challenges and generate a life of true joy and vitality.

People who are either looking to get the edge in their performance, struggling with all different types of stressors, or have loved ones who are, can benefit from the Fyera! Beginner HeartMath Workshop including those with:

  • anxiety and depression
  • health challenges
  • pain
  • relationship problems
  • money issues
  • eating disorders
  • career transitions
  • addictions
  • obesity
  • time pressure
  • performance pressure (for athletes, executives, entertainers, students/testing)
  • soldiers about to be deployed or with post traumatic stress

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Whether you or someone you love has a health concern they want answers for, or is seeking relief from anxiety and depression, this workshop is a place where you can hear the how-to of how to start- with the power of the heart.

To register for a Fyera! Class:
Call (626) 844-7171email: [email protected]
Gift certificates, scholarship donations and scholarships also available


Fyera is offering a year long HeartMastery Program.

A great deal only $6/hour of class time. Click here to learn more.


Fyera! Heart Living
Fyera is a trademark of Sheva Carr. HeartMath is a registered trademark of the Institute of HeartMath. Quick Coherence is a registered trademark of Doc Childre. Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved.