Q&A WITH EILEEN SILVERBERG, AUTHOR OF THE NEW BOOK
A WARRIOR OF LIGHT: A GUIDE OF INNER WISDOM FOR CHALLENGING TIMES
Question: Tell us what A Warrior of Light is all about:
Eileen Silverberg: A Warrior of Light tells the story of my journey as caregiver for my mother after her diagnosis with Alzheimer’s, and all the lessons I learned along the way. It unpacks how I worked through feelings of guilt, bitterness and overwhelm to a place of joy. Through A Warrior of Light, I hope to guide all types of caregivers as they face the challenges that come with the role, and help them to relinquish self-sabotage, deepen their spiritual practices, engage in self-care, and ultimately find their own “Inner Warrior.”
Q: What prompted you to want to write A Warrior of Light?
Silverberg: Four years ago, I decided to move my mom, Tuti, from her natal Puerto Rico to Miami, Florida, where I have lived for over twenty years with my husband and daughter, so I could care for her as her Alzheimer’s progressed. Being an only child without any family members living in the same state put an incredible amount of pressure on me. I didn’t have any idea at the moment I made the decision to move my mom that I was about to develop an extreme amount of courage and transform my own life. Eventually after a lot of spiritual searching, I found a place of peace with my caregiving journey, and I wanted to share that with others.
Q: What exactly makes someone a “Warrior of Light?”
Silverberg: The meaning of a warrior is “a brave or experienced soldier or fighter.” A Warrior of Light is that person, that soldier, who takes her role as a servant leader with intention. Who wants to shed light into her own life as well as those she loves. Who feels entrusted to lead and care for their flock but also to care for herself. A Warrior of Light is the one who trains everyday and can go to be strong for those depending on them and herself. A Warrior of Light is the one who knows and expects to get their bums kicked but also knows they are strong enough to get up to care for those who can not care themselves. A Warrior of Light is the one who works persistently and patiently without giving up for the well being of their loved ones. A Warrior of Light is the one who holds the light in the midst of adversity.
Q: In the book you talk a lot about Ho’oponopono. What is this, and how did it help you?
Silverberg: Ho’oponopono to me is a philosophy of life. It has made my spiritual doctrine more meaningful. It is known by Hawaiians as the healing practice of forgiveness. It is a practice that calls you into viewing all that happens around you as 100% your responsibility. It encourages us to discover the Divine essence within us. Ho in Hawaiian means to “do” and Pono means “correct” In Hawaiian when two words are double, it means you must emphasize the action.
Thus, to do correct, virtuous, just, honorable. In order to remind us of our divine essence, some words, mantras are meant to be repeated to trigger that best version of yourself.
Q: You also talk about self-care, but say it is more than just taking a bubble bath from time to time. What do you really mean by true self-care?
Silverberg: All my life I have been interested in what makes people thrive under challenging circumstances. I came to understand that the power lies in the courage to take care of our needs first. Of having the courage to say YES to ourselves more often. When we give permission to say YES to ourselves more often the results are extraordinary. It is so refreshing and liberating to release the people pleaser and perfectionism syndrome. Self Care is about taking the decision to care for your mental, body and spiritual being. Self Care starts by creating rituals and routines to allow yourself to fill up your cup with balance in order for you to serve as a leader in your home, work, or community in a healthy, powerful way.
Q: You talk a lot about breaking down “generational customs” in relation to caring for aging parents. Talk to us about that, and how it relates to your own experience.
Silverberg: We tend to do many things because that is the way we are told to do them. In my experience, I needed to honor my Mother, my family and myself. Researching, contemplating and deciding on other ways or venues of care for my mother was and is against what people, specially, the Latin culture views as correct. “As loving, as being a good daughter.” I want to break those patterns. These are patterns that must of the time we teach our children and they go from generation to generation. Most of the time, these patterns are taught to our children through guilt and shame. Deciding to find a place for my mom was difficult, painful but there is no question due to her debilitating condition, it was necessary and the best decision for us. The key is knowing and understanding what lies behind your intention. If it is love most likely you are divinely guided.
Q: Deciding to place your mom in a home was a difficult decision, but you say you know you made the best choice. How can others determine what the best choice is for their own family member in a similar situation?
Silverberg: First, their diagnosis. The progression of their illness (can she walk, can she be attended to in your home, if there is any aggression). What the future looks like for your parents and for you and your family. Second, Your professional life. Third, how often do you travel? I do not endorse placing your parents in a skilled facility but I do endorse that we must allow and give permission to explore all available options that are available to us without guilt, without shame.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from A Warrior of Light?
Silverberg: That courage has a certain behavior. Sometimes it is loud as a roar and sometimes it is silent. That a Warrior of Light has the great responsibility and the assignment to listen well to our call and mission. In moments like this, we are called to practice empathy with those we love and with ourselves, that we must create hope within reason to those we love, and that our intentions must be watched and evaluated at all times. I want my readers to know that it is possible to get up from a battle and redefine joy and happiness. I want my readers to know that mind set matters in all we do. In order for us to rise from difficulties, and rise as Warriors of Light we must show up well for ourselves and those we love. I want my readers to know that when we are entrusted with difficult challenges we must remind ourselves of our strength and our vision and our loving intentions.
EILEEN SILVERBERG is a Life Coach in Emotional Management. Her mission is to help those who are struggling with life event transitions & crisis to recuperate control of their lives. Through her powerful methodology people can deal, manage, and balance their life in a more positive and healthy way. Eileen has been taking care of her mother with Alzheimer’s for over seven years and has taught and presented lectures for the Alzheimer’s Association on self –care and meditation practices. She felt inspired to write A Warrior of Light after experiencing deep physical and mental benefits integrating her unique methodology. Eileen became a skillful meditation leader for professional caregivers. She has successfully conducted on-going sessions for staff in the most highly ranked nursing and rehabilitation nursing centers in South Florida.
She is the founder and creator of E.S. Being Aloha Soul Meditation, which mixes movement with meditation. In 2018, E.S. Being Aloha Soul Meditation was granted it's own trademark. When she isn’t inspiring other caregivers, she works in the two luxury wine boutiques that she and her husband own in Florida and enjoys going to the beach, hiking, traveling, and playing with her two Chihuahuas. She hopes that her readers will learn to release the guilt, forgive themselves, and act with love and kindness towards themselves and the one they care for.