Lessons and Gratitude

When I fell under my cloud of bad energy a few weeks back I completely lost all inspiration and motivation to write. Although both have returned to me the inspiration I have been having recently is still only half baked, I have to sit with these ideas a bit longer before they are ready.

It is times like these that I am grateful to have a friend who is also a writer, she freely shares inspiration and gets me going again.

Last week she suggested a writing prompt to me about doing the year in review essentially. In this review though she mentioned not only focusing on the high points of the year but also reflecting on the struggles, I agree with the need for balance and that is what this post is all about.

So I am thinking bullet points because who doesn’t love a list?

Gratitude This portion could go on forever so I am going to keep it to the real high points

  • I am grateful for my spring internship. I am specifically grateful for the balance it struck between case management and clinical work, it gave me a taste of what I would be doing next. I am also grateful for the social worker I was working under, she provided so many opportunities for me to learn and practice. She is a wonderful mentor and I count myself lucky to be able to continue learning from her.
  • I graduated from college in May. This year was a validation of my being able to not only accomplish things I never believed I could but also that I am worthy of these things. Graduation was probably one of the highest points of the year, if not the highest. My not-good-enoughs fell silent that day.
  • This year I received multiple accolades and was accepted into grad school. This was all very humbling and validating as well. I received BSW intern of the year thanks to the nomination from my social work supervisor whom I worked with. At graduation I was recognized with an integrity award, what an awesome reason to be recognized. Being accepted into grad school was a big moment for me. I think it was the actual feeling of acceptance that was huge. I was accepted in a way that I never thought was possible. 4 years ago I believed that I would never return to school. I did not believe I was smart enough, that I had anything to offer the world, I did not believe that I was strong enough as a person to actually chase my dreams. Now I am just one semester away from graduating with my Master’s degree in a field that I know is meant for me. I am living a life that four years ago I was not even willing to let myself dream about.
  • Time spent with loved ones. We vacationed with hub’s family, we went to a dear friend’s wedding and saw many more close friends while we were there, I have many new great memories from time spent with my soul friends, we are getting ready to go stay with one of my favorites, we have too many good memories to count from time spent with family locally.. It was a good year for love.
  • I am grateful for the intention I set for myself at the beginning of grad school of pushing myself out of my comfort zone in an effort to experience greater levels of growth. It led me to this amazing internship that I was so intimidated by before I started that I almost talked myself out of it. It may lead to my first paid position as a social worker. It has led to enormous growth in my personal work with my own therapy. I am still experiencing major growth at internship, just last week I set myself up for a new opportunity to push myself outside of my comfort zone when I go back to internship next semester. This intention and this internship have taught me so much about myself, and about the truth behind fear and anxiety, and about what everyday courage looks like.
  • My soul work is a huge piece of my gratitude this year. I have experienced enormous levels of personal growth this year thanks to my commitment to doing really uncomfortable work. I had my biggest break through to date while at soul camp in October. I have met women who speak a language that only those of us who have experienced trauma and are willing to step out of the shadows know how to speak. I feel like I found some of my people this year and that connection helped me to step into another one of my intentions of late, to turn up my light.
  • In that same vein of connection, I am thankful for all the connections I have made this year. I have met and connected with so many people and these connections and my ability to connect with others is still growing. I know this is only possible because for the first time in my life I have been able to connect with myself. This inner connection has given me the strength and courage to step into my truth and walk my true path and I think other people can feel that energy from me. I am excited for what next year will bring in this area, I think my ability to make meaningful connections is only going to grow.
  • Finally and most importantly my hubs. A few weeks ago when I first learned about this possible job offer and shared the news with him I took a moment to fully express my gratitude to him for the role he has played in my life and my growth. I know that I am the one that has had to do the work to make these dreams a reality but I would never have started if it was not for him. Since we first started dating he encouraged me to go back to school and do whatever I want. Every time I have doubted myself or worried that what I was doing was making him sacrifice too much or that I was a burden, he has been nothing but emphatic that all that matters to him is that I am able to happy for the rest of my life. He has given me so much just by loving me the way he does, by believing in me the way he does. He showed me how good love can feel and ultimately it is the stability and security that he has brought into my life that made it feel safe for me to start my soul work journey and heal my hurts. I would have never believed any of the things I have done for myself over the last 5 years would have been possible if he had not come into my life and lit a spark. He makes me feel safe, me makes me feel loved, he makes me feel like I am made of magic. I could not be more grateful for anything. He is everything.

Lessons

  • Some of the lessons I learned this year came up in my gratitude. One big one has to do with the greatness that can come from allowing yourself to be uncomfortable. I have gone from a place of fear where I want to run away to a place of believing I am capable. With every fear I overcome, and not just overcome but turn into something beautiful, I feel like a super hero. It is always a feeling of If I can do this what can’t I do?! So I push on to the next thing and I conquer that. And it just keeps going until fear is no longer an issue because look at my track record for overcoming it!
  • Another lesson I know I am still learning is that of my own power and the power of my story. The breakthrough I experienced while at soul camp helped me see for the very first time in my life that my story does not make me unlovable. It does not make me unworthy or bad. I shared one of my darkest pieces with a room of women and expected to be thrown out and rejected.. I was embraced, I was comforted, I was accepted. By sharing one of the worst things that I have ever experienced in my own life it created space for others to share their darkness. Sharing something that has always made me feel unsafe with others actually created safety for others in this case. I am at the beginning of this part of my journey but I understand on some intuitive level that the work I am about to embark on is going to change my life and for once instead being afraid I am excited.
  • You cannot ignore what is banging around inside. This year has not been all accolades and positive growth. It has also been panic attacks and painful growth. Growth comes in all shapes, sizes, and feelings. It is easy to want to focus only on the good stuff but that does not mean the bad stuff magically disappears. All that does is push it down inside and your body suffers for it. I had a lot of mixed emotions when I graduated in the spring because that was a really big moment in my life. I tried to focus only on the good feelings of accomplishment and joy but it did not work. I had panic attack after panic attack and one day even had to go home early from internship. It was because there was a piece of me, a piece that holds trauma and some of my not-good-enoughs, that was actually mourning this awesome accomplishment. Think about it, this piece’s entire job was to keep me in this safe small place of not venturing out and not taking chances. By accomplishing this big thing and taking the risks I had to take to get there I essentially rendered this piece of myself obsolete. When this happened that piece of me felt me not needing it to keep me safe anymore and somehow my body knew to mourn that loss. It is like how some people are afraid of change, whether it be good change or bad change. They are afraid because they also have a piece inside them that wants to keep them safe and small and any kind of change threatens that piece. I don’t know if any of this makes sense, I know what I mean and ultimately that is all that matters. The bottom line is you cannot ignore negative emotions. They demand to be felt and will find a way.
  • I think another big lesson for me this year came around all the negative things that took place in 2016. A lot of awful things happened on a large scale like the Pulse shooting and Trump being elected etc. and difficult things happened in my own life on a smaller scale as well. I have noticed the way I respond to these types of things is changing. I cannot elaborate on that too much because I am still experiencing this change and do not have words for it right now. I think it is important though and I think it is growth as well.

So I think this is where I am going to stop. There is always more I could write, fitting the lessons and gratitude experienced within 365 days into one blog post is a tall ordered. I think I hit some of the big things, and I still have gratitude for everything I did not formally mention. It was a big year, filled with very high high points and very low low points. I am looking forward to the plans we have at the end; traveling, sleep overs with the kids, celebrating the holidays with friends and family, and just being together in love. It is a good life, I still have to pinch myself sometimes. I am grateful though, oh so grateful.

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