Light House

Today did not go as planned. I had plans with my mentor that were thwarted by life. Before things went awry with my day I did have time to myself to paint this morning. I have been thinking about a piece to create for my supervisor/internship agency as a Thank You for the learning experience these last 9 months.

This is what I came up with.

light house

The light house is the symbol used at my agency to give our clients hope for their future. There are light houses all over at my agency. Hopefully this piece will find it’s home among the other light houses.

Avoiding Our Mirrors

mirror

This week I have started working with two new shadow pieces that have popped up; blame and denial. As I work with all these shadow pieces that are surfacing (entitlement, self-righteousness, blame, denial, judgement, manipulation) I am fully aware that they are all connected to something bigger: victim mentality. Victim mentality seems to be the big one, at least right now, and all of these shadows I am getting to know and learning to have compassion for I think are bringing me closer to my real work which is around my own victim mentality.

So, what I am learning about blame and denial so far. What I have found as I work with my shadows is that when they first pop up it is easier for me to get to know them by projecting outwards first. After this projection I am able to clearly see where I exist in all of it and how I use these shadows in my own life. I did this as I was getting know entitlement, I did this as I was getting to know self-righteousness and manipulation. It is hard to bring these shadows home and embrace them. If I speak in generalizations first I think maybe it is easier for me to see them objectively and then I can invite them in and make it personal.

When I first started working with denial I thought about everything I have learned in terms of triggers. Often we become triggered by some outside stimulus and want to blame the stimulus for triggering us rather than take any accountability for our own feelings and the work we should be doing around these triggers. This is denial, right? This is also blame.

Our triggers are our mirrors. Denial is refusing to acknowledge the mirror exists. Blame is acknowledging the mirror but refusing to see ourselves in it.

I know this to be true because I manipulation, and entitlement, and self-righteousness were some of my big triggers and I can see where I personally followed this pattern of denial, and blame, and victimhood throughout my life when it came to these shadows.

This is all I have so far with denial and blame but I am sure as I continue to work with these two shadows more will surface that will bring these two shadows home.

 

 

 

I Don’t Like Letters in My Numbers

math

Let me start by saying math is the absolute worst. It is a form of torture so awful I would not wish it on anyone. And my math teachers lied, I have never used algebra “in the real world”.

As I was writing all of that I totally heard my husband’s voice in my head negating all of it.

No it’s not, math is the best. You’re just whining, try harder. I use algebra all the time.

For context, my husband is an engineer who loves math. Loves it, the weirdo.

So much so in fact that he reads math text books for fun and stays late at work to teach himself math and watches free Harvard math videos online before bed.

Last night I was not feeling good (I have a cold) so I took some Nyquil and decided not to read my books (right now I am rereading Couplehood by Paul Reiser because it is hilarious, the third and final book in my Thickety series, and one of the Humans of New York compilations because it restores my faith in humanity after social working all day).

So I was laying in bed awake but resting when my husband crawled in. I didn’t feel like reading but the Nyquil hadn’t kicked in yet so I told him I would watch whatever video he was getting ready to start. It was a three part lecture series on probability.

Needless to say I now know the different between traditional probability definitions, empirical probability definitions, and subjective probability definitions. It also helped me fall asleep because the second he introduced letters into the numbers I mentally checked out and fell asleep.

Little Glimmers

I had something close to a break through with a client today. This is a client I am working with for the second time. They were in our program lat year and returned recently after AWOLing from another program. I was sad to discover this client had regressed considerably since the last time I worked with them. Then after observing the client in ways I had not had the opportunity to previously I started to wonder are they regressing or did I never know the full story?

I worked with this client for only a few days last stay, this time I have had them for weeks so I am definitely uncovering more.

Session started on an intense note today. I had to assertively set boundaries with the client on multiple planes before we even started session then the topic was not an easy one to navigate which led to a lot of gentle confrontation with the client.  Ultimately by the end of session we had turned a major corner and I was able to build the beginning of a bridge with this client on an issue they have been struggling with and taking next to no accountability for up to this point. It was a little glimmer of what is possible with motivation and empowerment.

I am grateful that my supervisor trusts me with complicated cases. I am grateful that I have been challenged and made uncomfortable so often during this internship that it has given me the opportunity to step into my own place of empowerment. I am also thankful that I have been working with a population who are mandated to receive counseling services based on how our program is funded. This is not the ideal situation for clinicians, typically you want clients who want to do the work, when client’s are mandated they are  not always willing participants. This internship has presented so many awesome obstacles for me to work through and overcome.

It may have been an uphill journey but you better believe my social work muscles are strong as hell thanks to the path I chose to walk!

The Marvelous Mundane

When my husband got off work today he called, as he always does, and we talked, as we always do.

How was your day?
Update me on this..
Oh hey! Guess what..
I have news..
What’s for dinner?
I can’t wait to see you.

I have so much gratitude for the stability I experience in this relationship. I never knew someone like me, a creature of change and unpredictability, could find so much joy in the little everyday goings on of life. He is was makes the difference, it is in him that I find the joy.

I would rather discuss how his conversation went with the fence company than do anything else with anyone else.

My gratitude for tonight is for him and our life. He has brought love and joy to everyday chores like cleaning the bedroom and going to to the grocery. He has brought laughter and ruckus to tasks that previously felt tedious like washing the car or doing laundry.

I am grateful for our everyday moments. Conversations about this and that, plans for the weekend, updates on this situation at the office, creating a grocery list.

My friend and I were talking about how sometimes you feel yourself slipping into that nothing is ever good enough place, that place of comparing your life to the highlight reels of those around you.. She said something beautiful about how even when she falls under a cloud she knows she is okay because she can still see the beauty happening around her. Yeah! I totally get that.

I fall under my clouds or get lost up inside of them from time to time but I am still able to find love and joy in the everyday goings on of the life I created with this other person. That is how I know I am okay because as much as I would like to have it all figured out and perfect I can look around me and be so in love with a moment where we are just chopping vegetables together.

A New Option Emerges

I got another call today about an open position I could potentially be considered for. I am maybe more excited about this opportunity than the one that popped up last week. This position is a clinical contract position that depending on your point of view can be good or bad.

I choose to see it as good. I have heard mix reviews about contract positions, one aspect I like the idea of is making my own hours. I dont always thrive in a traditional 9-5 environment. I like flexibility and options, this would offer that.

One possible down side is in the area of benefits. In terms of healthcare that is not a concern as I am insured through my husband. Lack of benefits in terms of vacation I am also not too concerned about; I am thankfully in a position where taking unpaid leave would not hurt our financial situation much. Lack of benefits regarding maternity leave is somewhat troubling but that is still a little ways off so I don’t know that it would be a deal breaker especially if this is the kind of job I am looking for out of college.

I had hopes of getting hired on with an agency in a clinical capacity where I would be providing traditional therapeutic services. If I am going to be paying to get myself trained on certain models and techniques I would like to have an environment to work on these skills in. Although, truth be told I had somewhat resigned to that fact that I would very likely be doing casework straight out of college because the field is competitive and I do not have much of an edge over licensed social workers when it comes to these open clinical positions.

Clearly I have a chance though because that is the second call in a week for an interview for a therapeutic position. I still don’t have a real clear sense of direction in terms of the immediate future of my career (outside of the trainings I want to sign myself up for) I am excited to have options. This is not a bad place to find myself in.

 

Tomatoes from the Vine

It has been our favorite kind of weekend: quiet. Saturday we spent time with family. In the evening I stepped out back alone and wandered through my parents garden sniffing basil leaves and picking small red tomatoes sweet from the sun. As I flicked a tomato into my mouth I looked up to see a group of birds flying over head away from the sunset, I decided it might be a good time for a walk.

Hubs and I took Lu and my parent’s pug Scout for a walk to the lake near their home. On the way I loaded the pockets of my overalls with rocks and stopped to pick flowers. When we got there Lu on the shoreline while hubs threw rocks across the lake and Scouty sniffed the clovers. I love watching hubs throw rocks across the lake. He has a good arm from all those years playing baseball, he would disagree with me but that’s what I think anyway.

Today we went to the grocery early and got the makings for black bean burgers and vegetable orzo soup this week. When we got home I set myself up with my sketch book and got to work. I have been wanting to finish my Thickety painting since I stepped away from it but I have never drawn or painted a deer, I was nervous that I was going to mess up my beautiful forest with any attempt I make. I tried a few different drawings in my sketch book before I finally started painting on my canvas.

Truth be told I like my sketches better. It is a solid first attempt though and although my little deer did not come out as I had planned I do not think it ruins anything either. What I really like about him is how I was able to mirror the diseased fungus that plagues the rest of the thickety. In the book it describes so vividly how every living thing is covered in the moss and rancid fungus.

thickety

Next weekend I am going out of town with a few girlfriends from school for our last hurrah before graduation. I am looking forward to laying by the pool and relaxing for a few days.

Middle of the Night Mayhem

fml

One of my big fears is fire. Not just fire, but the possibility of wherever I am catching fire while I sleep and me not waking up. That is the fear. This has happened to me twice in my life; once I was the one who woke up to the smell of smoke and had to wake up the rest of the house, the other time I slept right through it and had to be woken up to escape.

It is terrifying to have anything unexpected like this happen while you are sleeping. The act of sleeping makes us so vulnerable. You are trusting that you are safe and everything will go on as planned while you allow yourself to rest. To have something go wrong while you are in such a vulnerable state really messes with your psyche.

So as a result of my being through multiple fires at night I occasionally wake up in a panic thinking I smell smoke. After I check the perimeter and wake up my husband to verify it was just in my head I can usually go back to sleep without issue but it is still no fun.

Last night was one of those nights. I kind of set myself up to be honest. Yesterday hubs and I did a deep clean of bedroom. We dusted everything, vacuumed the mattress and the floor, changed the sheets, decluttered.. etc etc. When we finished I saged the room to cleanse and clear any lingering energy from bad dreams or conversations. I guess I went a little overboard with the saging because in the middle of the night I popped up in my panic thinking the house was on fire.

Hubs reminded me that it was just the sage but of course that did not satisfy me. I got up to check the house and the things went down hill from there.

Sidebar: Every once in a while hubs had to get on the roof to clear leaves or patch a shingle. Each time I try and convince him to let me come up to  but he is not having it. I get the lecture about calamity Jill and how I will fall or slip and injure myself. I know he has a point, I am beyond accident prone, I am disaster prone. In the end we made a deal; if I can go an entire year without hurting myself or breaking something or hurting someone else or causing general mayhem just by being myself (you get where I am going with this) at the end of year my prize will be getting to go on the roof to watch the sunset. Suffice to say I am no closer to reaching my goal now than I was when I started in January.

So back to last night; I switched on my bedside lamp and head for the living room to check and make sure our house is not filled with smoke. This woke up Lu who them started following me around. When I came back to the bedroom thoroughly convinced we were safe I looked up at the ceiling again to make sure this room was clear of smoke as well and saw an insect crawling across the ceiling. Shit.

I woke up my husband who grumpily responded by saying “deal with it”. Double shit.

I walked over to my husband’s shoe pile in the bedroom and grabbed one of his size 11s to knock the bug down with. I got myself underneath the bug and started jumping and flailing the shoe around in the air in an attempt to make contact, then it happened. I was successful in knocking the bug down – right on to me. Triple shit!

AHHHHH!

If my husband wasn’t awake before, that got him up. He walked over to help me while I spewed every curse word I learned in middle school and ripped my shirt off. He took my shirt from me  and shook it out looking for the bug while starting scratching all over feeling like my skin was covered in crawly insects. After a minute or two of crawling around on the floor topless I found the bug and picked him up with a tissue. Normally I would transport him outside and release him but after everything that happened he wet straight to the toilet on a one way ticket to sewersville.

Once all was said and done everyone used the restroom and returned to bed. As I got in next to my husband I asked if this counted towards my being able to get on the roof, he responded; Zero days since last incident.

Damn it. I am never getting on the roof!

Spiritual Bypassing

spiritual bypassing

As I am getting to know my shadow piece around self-righteousness something that has come up for me is spiritual bypassing which is directly connected to this shadow aspect. Spiritual bypassing, in my mind, is when we (I) attempt to deny our shadow pieces exist (enter: self-righteousness). Spiritual bypassing is me wanting to stay in my “love the world, heal the world” space without acknowledging my “I want to burn this shit down” piece. What grounds me is remembering my AND. For me to be balanced it cannot just be peace, love, and happiness.. It has to be peace, love, and fuck this day I am taking a nap. or peace, love, and leave me the hell alone. or panic attack, accidentally break a plate, and curse in front of a child. Sometimes there is no peace and love to balance my darkness and my humanness.

I am not some enlightened spiritual being, that is not my  truth – as much as I wish it were. I am human. I am light, and dark, and gray. I am pixie dust, rose petals, and dirty words at inappropriate moments. I am painting, and empathy, and judging some guy for all that cheese he is eating. There has to be room for my light, my darkness, and my absolute humanness.

It is strange to think that something like our spirituality can actually have a shadow aspect, it can and it does. Everything is made up of both, that is the AND.

My truth is I am not without my judgements. I don’t know that I ever will be. That would be a pretty enlightened place but I am not sure I will ever get there truly, not during my human life at least. So rather than have judgement about my judgements I am trying to start by just acknowledging their existence. Once I am able to do that I try to get to know them a little better, like a new acquaintance; what can you tell me about yourself self-righteousness? You tend to pity people, okay, tell me more about that.

Judging my shadow parts does not make them go away, it really seems counter productive. I just have to be honest with myself and stop worrying about what everyone else will think. Ultimtaley this work is not about the world accepting my darkness, it is about me accepting me. Whose to say my darkness is any less special or beautiful than my  light? Me that is who. I am the only person I need to be listening to.

I am getting there. Slowly. But slow progress is still progress.

shadow

Honoring My Inner Child

One night I walked into the living room of the house I grew up in and announced to my mother that I knew what I wanted to do with my life. She turned off the TV, turned her body towards me.. I had her full-attention. I explained my business plan for the restaurant I was going to open where all the food would be free so no one would ever be hungry.

I was 10 years old, I was an idealist, and without knowing it I was taking my very first unconscious step in the direction of my future: social work.

When I think back about the girl I was (and still am in many ways) I know I have made her proud.

I know because I never got too old to pick flowers, and never too cynical to see my flowers as weeds. I know because I never gave up my dream of healing the world and never stopped believing I was capable of spreading love on that level. Proud because I took deliberate action towards creating that healing space in the world through my direction with social work. Proud because I went back and picked up all of my pieces and started my healing and vision of love with me, as it should be. I know because I feel the warmth of that little girls sunshine still beaming from my body.

I made that little girl proud. I did that.

May I walk through the rest of my days as certain in this truth as I am now. That little girl had a plan to heal the world, and I know I am making her proud.

magic

A House Divided

It is March Madness. That means different things in our home depending on who you ask. For me it means Oh my God I am graduating in a month and everything is happening all at once! For my husband it means basket ball.

illini

Monday Night I was exhausted. This whole week I have been exhausted, hence all the surface level writing. Hubs came to me while I was reading in bed to inform me that my university would be playing his alma mater Wednesday night. Okay, so we’re going right? He was glad that I was already on the same page with him. Of course I was. My husband is a proud alumni, almost every t-shirt he wears has his school on it. I knew his team was not going to come to Orlando without us going to support them, so that is what we did.

Wednesday after a long day at the office we both came home, put on our blue and orange, and headed to campus for the basketball game of the year- as far as we are concerned at least.

My team won. His team was not playing well at all. I was there as an Illini fan that night though so I was rooting for his boys. I may go to my school but I have been watching his team with him for 5+ years now, I am an Illini fan first.

The game may not have gone his way but we had a good time. We walked around campus together, listened to our favorite podcast together before and after. It was a fun night, we always have a good time together.

Symbolism

stevie2

Tuesday night was the Stevie Nicks concert; by far and away best concert experience of my life. Far and away.

She was everything you expect. Her voice is unreal. Completely unreal. The whole experience was surreal.I was in the same room with one of my life long idols. The woman is a goddess. It was so good.

Aside from her voice and twirling and story telling (which was also unreal – she had stories about Tom Petty and Prince), there was so much symbolism with the images projected in the background during her show and even in her words as she talked to us.

During one song it was pixies sitting on mushrooms in the forest with rose petals blowing in the breeze. I was like rose petals and pixie dust.. Way to speak to my soul Stevie. Then during another song she was projecting the crescent moon in the background which is my moon symbol. I had a whole session around this symbol at the end of lost year. I am the crescent moon. Message #2 received. There was a lot of symbolism around light and darkness and shadows.. I have never felt so connected like this during a concert and I have been to a lot of concerts over the years.

I knew there was something kismet about the fact that I would be seeing my idol now, at this point in my life. It lines up with so much of what is happening in my life right now. She even was talking at one point about believing in your own magic even if no one else understands it. I literally was talking with my therapist about this on Sunday. Thank you Stevie for the messages, they came at just the right time.

I am really grateful for this experience. It was special. It was unlike any other musical experience I have ever had. I will never forget my magical night with the ever ethereal Stevie Nicks.

Opportunity Comes a Knocking

I got a call back yesterday for an interview. It is for a clinical position which I was excited to hear. It is with an inpatient substance program. I have done inpatient before and I have worked with clients with substance use issues. I have never worked on a program like this before though which makes this a great option for me. I want new experiences with new populations. I do not want to go where I have already been, I want to grow in a forward direction.

Right now I am playing phone tag with the agency representative who reached out to me. We will see how things go with this potential interview. I will report as things move along.

Quirks

I still only have the energy for surface level writing currently. I have my next post planned out and written in my head in relation to the shadow work I have been doing but I just do not have the energy to expend on it right now. I have to be in the right frame of mind for that kind of writing and right now I am spiritually and emotionally exhausted. No deep stuff.

Today was a self-care day, Mondays often are. Mondays are my day off this semester and I have been soaking them up because soon enough days off during the week will no longer be a thing.

Today I finished up an assignment that I did not enjoy writing so once it was over I allowed myself to relax. I researched fun stuff for future plans on the horizon. I watched a romantic movie that took place in Italy. I ate kiwi and strawberries and sipped coconut water. I worked on a craft project..

At one point I decided it was time to have my daily cookie and as I returned to my movie, chocolate cookie in hand, I laughed and wondered what people would think if they knew that in our home we ration cookies.

The reason for this truth is less funny, I previously struggled with disordered eating. I say previously but anyone who has struggled with any kind of eating disorder knows that it is an ongoing thing. Good days, bad days, on the wagon and back off again. What has helped me in this area is doing my best to let go of my judgement towards myself. My truth may not be everyone’s truth but for me personally it has been more about working on my relationship with myself and less about the relationship with food. When I am okay with me the rest of my life normally falls into place as well. When I am struggling, that struggle has a ripple effect.

So that particular quirk has a bit of a darker back story but not all my quirks do. To keep this post somewhat surface level I thought it would be fun to share some of my more surface level quirks to see if anyone else can relate.

  • I really hate showering in the morning. I love to shower at night. At night I am like a duck in water, I don’t want to get out, I could stay in the hot water with all my soothing soapy smells for hours. The morning is a different story, I am like a cat with water – frantic and furious. Furious is really the word to emphasize, I am straight up pissed off when I have to shower in the morning. For me it is not refreshing, it does not help me wake up. I am standing there, tired as hell, mad to be awake, and even more mad to be wet. It is awful.
  • I get my best sleep between 5am and 8am. Those three hours are like my power window. I sleep so hard the apocalypse couldn’t wake me. Hubs usually wakes me as he is leaving in the morning and I am able to start shaking the sleepies off but waking up before 8 is painful for me. I can do it but ugh I do not like it.
  • For someone who hates waking up and hates showering in the morning, the morning is surprisingly my favorite time of day. Once I have had about a half hour to get out of angry alligator mode and am feeling a bit more human I am a delight. I love the morning sun the best, I love the bird song and all the goings on that are happening in the world. I love the chill that is still hanging in the air. I actually love mornings, just on my terms.
  • I hate stepping on tile floor with wet feet from the shower. I will stand on the rug from the shower and scoot myself into the bedroom to get dressed if I have to. Anything to avoid wet feet on tile floor.
  • Sometimes I forget to swallow when  am drinking. I am in my head a lot, I am a true  blue dreamer with my head in the clouds and I forget about things like remembering to swallow so I don’t choke. As a result I sometimes choke on what I am drinking when suddenly I come back down to reality and realize there is liquid still in my mouth.
  • I am funny about walking between a tree and any object near to it for fear of encountering a spider web. If you watched me in the morning getting into my car, which is parked next to a tree near our driveway, you would probably wonder what was wrong with me. I flap my hands in front of me as I walk towards the driver side door in an attempt to knock down possible spider webs.
  • As much as I do not  like spiders I cannot kill them. My husband, who also hates spiders, has had to take on the role of spider hunter in our home. I cannot kill insects. I can trap and release but I cannot kill them.
  • Every few months I completely reorganize the books on my book shelf. Right now they are arranged by genre. A few months ago they were arranged by color, that was fun, my shelf looked like a rainbow. I have arranged them by author, by title, etc. I am a creature of constant change, I don’t like things to feel stagnant.
  • I don’t have good emotional boundaries with my dog. True story. If she is stressed I get stressed and visa versa. One time she twisted her foot wrong and she and I were reacting to each other’s energies to the point of panic. My husband separates us sometimes as a result. We’re sensitive creatures what can I say?

I don’t feel as connected to this surface level writing but it fulfills my need to write and keeps me in a comfortable place while I allow myself to come up for air.

 

 

 

Continuing Education

I have been given a plethora of information from mentors and professors regarding trainings, certifications, and continuing education opportunities. I have been researching my options since last semester and have a pretty good handle on at least a few things I know I am definitely interested in learning more about. The challenge is that many if not all of the trainings I am interested in are out of the area.

There is one locally that is only about 20 minutes from home for me but the next closest is in south Florida and the next closest after that is out of state. The one training I definitely want to pursue is out of state and is a three weekend a year commitment to complete the level one certification. I am starting to understand the level of commitment I am making to my future career and becoming the clinician I know I am meant to be. Dreams take work.

I have had a lot of trouble with clarity around my path forward with my career now that I am nearing graduation. I know what my end goal is but I have been unclear on how far into the future that goal lies. Is it 5 years? 10? Shorter? Longer? I really don’t know. I know I am not ready yet but I also know I am doing my work to get ready.

It is not just my professional journey that prepares me for my end goal, it is my personal one as well. I would say my personal journey is what will make the difference really. I had a break through with a client in session a few weeks back and this break through came not because of anything I learned to do while in the program, it was because of my personal work. I allowed my intuition to guide me and allowed her to lead and what I suggested not only worked it was exactly the right thing for the moment. The next day she disclosed her entire trauma story to me in session and I was able to make reports and referrals to help her on her path towards healing.

The client said to me that based on our previous session and talks she recognized a pattern she was stuck in and she wanted to “break the cycle”. She did that, and I helped. And while yes, I have to have the degree to do this work, the degree is not what makes me good at what I do, it is my commitment to growth both personally and professionally.

Rumi says you can only meet someone as deeply as you meet yourself. How can I help my clients discover their own personal truth and path towards healing if I have never done this work myself? How can I show my clients what boundaries and assertive communication and truth speaking and shadow work and true self-love and authentic self-expression is if I have never walked my own version of this path?

So for now I will continue down my own personal path of self-discovery and in the near future I will start signing myself up for trainings to supplement my personal growth with professional knowledge and growth. I may not be able to do anything about these trainings right now because of time and distance but even learning about where they are, when they are held, and the level of commitment involved sheds some light and brings a level of clarity for me. For that I am grateful.

 

 

 

 

Resurfacing

Today I did a three hour session with my therapist. I am wooped. Tuesday I go back for another two hours. I might be able to squeeze in a little processing between now and then but tonight I am fulfilling my need to write by doing a bit of surface level writing. A blogger I really enjoy Quixie’s Mind Palace (she is a fellow INFP) posted this a while back and although I do not have the energy to make mine as visually stimulating as she did with hers, I thought I would give it a try.

1. Who are you named after?

I named myself. When I got married my wedding gift to myself was my first name. So when I went to change my last name I took a few extra steps and changed my first along with it. I talk on my blog about the importance of belonging to myself first, this decision was part of that commitment. My husband gave me his last name, my parents gave my middle name, but I gave myself my first name because I belong to me FIRST.

2. Do you like your handwriting?

I mean, I guess. I have the kind of writing that is some kind of hybrid between print and cursive because I am typically writing too fast to separate things and they start running together. It gets the job done though.

3. What is your favorite lunch meat?

I rarely do lunch meat. My version of a deli sandwich is closer to a falafel pita most of the time. I do occasionally like a cuban though I’m not gonna lie.

4. Longest relationship?

Hubs and I have been together going on 6 years. Before that I had a three year relationship shelf life, always made it to three years but never made it past three years.

5. Do you still have your tonsils?

No. I had strep throat way too many times growing up. That was not a fun surgery to recover from either.

6. Would you bungee jump?

I am not a risk taker on that level so that would be a huge HELL NO for me thanks.

7. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?

I don’t. I rarely wear sneakers but I surely do not bother with laces when I do wear them.

8. Favorite ice cream?

All of the above! Bubble gum, salted caramel, coffee, chocolate anything! In truth I rarely get real ice cream though, that is special occasions only like vacations at the beach. Hubs and I make a nondairy “ice cream” from blended frozen bananas and coco powder which is a satisfying substitute; especially when you add strawberry and peanuts as a topping.

9. What is the first thing you notice about people?

Whatever stands out. If their hair is unique, or if they are wearing a flashy outfit, or if there is a significant height difference between myself and the person. I am a pretty visual person so it is usually just whatever catches my eye first. In terms of things like race, gender, etc. Not gonna lie I notice gender first every time.

10. Football or baseball?

Definitely baseball. I think volley ball is one of my true favorites though.

11. What color pants are you wearing?

Gray. Shocker.

12. Last thing you ate?

Kiwi and grape fruit. Yum.

13. If you were a crayon what color would you be?

Some of my favorite paint colors are pale turquoise, indigo, gray, vermilion, and chartreuse. So maybe one of those.

14. Favorite smell?

Orange blossom hands down. My childhood lives in the smell of citrus blossoms. I also love coffee beans, lavender, jasmine, gardenia, lemon, white fir, and cool water for women (never got sick of that one).

15. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?

Hubs when I was coming home from therapy.

16. Hair color?

Dark blonde kind of ashy with a few grays sprouting up.

17. Eye color?

Very light icy blue.

18. Favorite foods to eat?

Vegetables and rice. I eat a lot of egg plant, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, asparagus.. I also love fruit like pears, kiwi, cherries. Dark chocolate is my guilty pleasure.

 

19. Scary movies or happy endings?

Happy endings for sure. I have a low tolerance for violence and do not like to be scared. Some of my favorite movies are The Sound of Music, BFG, Practical Magic, You’ve Got Mail, Wizard of Oz.. You get the idea.

20. Last movie you watched?

Goodnight and Good Luck. It was about the McCarthy’s witch hunts during the Cold War in America.

21. Favorite holiday?

That’s so hard. A Tie between 4th of July and Halloween I think. I love Thanksgiving and Christmas as well but there is a level of pressure associated with those two that I don’t love. I really don’t like New Years and Valentine’s Day for that same reason.

22. Beer or wine?

Neither. haven’t had a drink in over a year. Red wine or dark beer (porter or stout) though for the record.

23. Night owl or early bird?

Night owl for sure. I am a beast in the morning and I am not a fan of getting up early.

24. Favorite day of the week?

Sunday I think, unless a season of Project Runway is on then it is Thursday. Sunday is a day I reclaimed after years of hating Sundays. Sunday is now family day and self-care day. It our best day.

Strongest Women I Know

woman I am

I was fully prepared to do some more shadow writing tonight. I set up my candles, including my candle that is special for my shadow pieces. It is gray and smells of the ocean. I burn it specifically for my shadows to send them light and love.When I sat down to start writing though the only thing I could think of was my calendar and my excitement over everything that is coming up in the near future .

Soul Camp is on the horizon, in two weeks I am going on a weekend trip with three of my girlfriends from school as a last hurrah before we graduate, and next week is Stevie Nicks with my Mom and Aunt.

I am sitting hear in gratitude for all this amazing female energy I know I get to soak up over the course of the next month. I will be surrounded by all these strong females; my family, my fellow social workers, and my soul sisters at camp. Not to mention the Queen Goddess herself, Stevie.

I am looking forward to all of it. I am looking forward to quality time with women I can be my truest self with. I am looking forward to singing, and dancing, and laughing, and crying, and exploring, and both giving and receiving support. I am looking forward to memory making, and ocean waves, and deep talks, and honest truths, and being able to breathe.

Each of these relationships allow me to feel supported in unique important ways. I am grateful for all of the different outlets for support that are built into my life. I am grateful to have women in my life who I can speak openly with about my shadows and know I will not be shunned but instead understood.

With that thought came another. I was just reminded that I am also meeting my mentor in a few weeks for dinner. I last saw him and two other friends/colleagues right after the election and we all cried together as we processed the outcome. I am again brought back to my gratitude. I am grateful not only for the women in my life who support me with their healing energy but also the men in my life who lead with nurturing supportive energy and make me feel safe to be seen. My mentor is absolutely one of those men. He is a wonder and I am honored to have him in my life.

I know I have more shadow writing to do, I can feel entitlement and manipulation just waiting their turn to be truly heard and seen. I am eager to give myself room to explore but tonight this is where my heart was.

 

 

 

Reclaiming Righteous

mask

It was as if a flood gate opened in me yesterday after I wrote about my intention to work on my relationship with my shadow pieces leading up to soul camp. Suddenly a million voices rose ti my surface ready to accept my invitation to be seen. The first in line, self-righteousness.

Apparently some of my shadows are very open to a relationship, it was just up to me to send the signal. So I spent the day with self-righteousness yesterday listening to my own inner wisdom and exploring my truth a little deeper.

I started my relationship with this piece here, where I explored my initial reactions to the word righteous. Towards the end of the post I spoke about reclaiming the word righteous, and I still have that intention; getting to know my own self-righteous piece has helped me understand there is more work to do before I am able to get to that point.

First things first, get out of victim mentality. I wrote that post with an outside perspective. “I am uncomfortable with this word because of others”. That is true, but it is a partial truth. A fuller truth is I am uncomfortable with this word because of my own sense of self-righteousness. I have to be able to see myself in all of this to fully embrace this shadow and reclaim this word.

Here is where I am going to start..

When I started this blog 5 years ago I was absolutely caught in a trap of dichotomous thinking patterns. I was judgemental of others while unwilling to process the source in myself where the judgement stemmed from. Therapy helped me with this, so did being in the two social work programs. I recognized something though while I was spending the day getting to know self-righteousness; while I may have moved away from black and white thinking and judgement into the gray area of AND there is still room for judgement to exist here in the form of self-righteousness.

This kind of judgement might even be more toxic actually than the judgements I was casting previously. I remember when I first started back in college I was making observations and judgements about all kinds of stuff, “these millennials and there addiction to their cell phones”, “her clothes are not professional”, “that professor isn’t qualified”. My professional piece is a pretty judgemental piece I admit. I really had to reign her in.

Now as I have been waking up to my higher spiritual self and my own truth I cast aside these judgements and have been much more open to different ways of doing things and allowing each person to be as they are rather than as I think they should be. At least I thought I was doing this.

Apparently my spiritual piece has some shadows as well; enter self-righteousness. I sat in front of a man the other day who was caught up in his own victim mentality and I judged him for it. That is my truth whether I want to see it or not. My thoughts were not “this guy is bad or wrong”, no my self-righteousness does not pass those kinds of judgements. My thoughts were “this poor man doesn’t even realize he has the power to change this”. My self-righteous piece passes judgement disguised as pity.

I look around and see a world full of people that have not woken up to this thing or that thing that I think they should be waking up to and I pity them. I pity them from my place up here on the top of the mountain of enlightenment. And while I just tried to say it is not a judgement of right vs. wrong or good vs. bad, that’s a lie. It totally is. I am up here and you are down there, and I am right and you are wrong.

This is why people do not like to do shadow work. It is not fun to be this honest with yourself. We like to let our happy flag fly, and our freak flag fly, and our I’m-a-great-mom flag fly.. However, we certainly don’t want anyone to see our judgement flag, or our manipulation flag, or our I’m-over-here-being-a-jerk flag.

Well that is the flag I am flying right now. I’m over here being a jerk.

My truth belongs to me. It makes me feel good and centered and connected. The things that makes me feel this way may feel like utter torture to others. I do not need tolook at others and pity them or judge them in order to feel sound in my truth. If the words I am speaking are truly my truth they should make me feel this way on their own.

Old habits die hard. I thought I was shedding judgement and instead I was just dressing it in new clothes.

I am grateful that my own self-righteous shadow piece rose to the surface and accepted my invitation to build a healthier relationship. I will definitely being working with this piece while at soul camp. I am curious to see what a little unconditional self-love will do for my self-righteous/judgement pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victim Mentality

victim mentality

As I take the next month to prepare myself for soul camp I thought it might be a good time to really sit down with some of my shadow pieces that I try to deny and ignore and get to know them better. I have been doing this for a while; I have gotten to know my manipulative piece pretty well and in doing so have found love and gratitude for her which has resulted in her not having to work so hard. I have also been doing a lot of work with my entitled piece, that relationship is a work in progress but there is progress so I am satisfied with that. I am finding the same truth with each shadow piece I work on/with; the more attention I give my shadow pieces the easier it becomes for me to find compassion for myself in these dark places. In addition I realized the more compassion these pieces get the less I need them.

This is what wholeness looks like for me, talking openly about my darkness and showing it light by not keeping my shadows as dirty little secrets that I am ashamed of. There is no reason for me to be ashamed of my shadows, everyone has them, everyone. Your shadows may show up differently but they are there, just beneath the surface, just like mine.

One shadow piece that I am aware of but have had trouble building a relationship with up to this point is my victim mentality. This is my piece that allows me to be innocent and untouched by the events of my life. This is the piece that keeps my hands clean and points the finger. “It wasn’t my fault, he was a habitual liar”, “I was the victim, I had no control”, “This happened to me, pity me”.

I have made some progress with this shadow piece over the years, the truth is though it has been slow going and I have been stuck for quite some time. The first step towards showing this piece light and love came roughly 5 years ago when it finally sunk in that I am the common denominator to everything that has ever happened in my life. I do not get to have clean hands when it comes to failed relationship after failed relationship, I do not get to have clean hands when jobs do not work out, I do not get to have clean hands in regards to why I struggled in college my first go around. I do not have clean hands. My hands are dirty.

Taking accountability for how I show up in relationships was a huge step forward for me. I credit this epiphany for the success of my marriage thus far. My husband came into my life just as I was starting my journey into self-discovery and from the beginning he has been on board with all that comes with my process of rebuilding and putting my pieces back together. By me taking accountability for how I show up in our interactions with one another he has been willing to do the same. We don’t have relationships all figured out by any means, although owning our stuff and recognizing when we are projecting or trying to play the victim is part of what has made this relationship different and healthier for both of us compared to any relationship either of us experienced previously.

Aside from holding myself more accountable in my social and intimate relationships I have to admit I have experienced very little growth with this shadow piece. There are relationships where I know I still play the victim, like with my family. There are parts of my past that I still view through the lens of victimhood, unwilling to take any accountability. I recognize this to be true, it does  not mean I have any insight into how to pull back that curtain and show these shadows light though. I am stuck and I know it. I have been for some time.

One of my intentions for soul camp this time around is to absolutely work on my relationship with this shadow. She has been surrounded by darkness for a long time and I would love to bring her the light and remind her the goodness and fullness of love. I know I will continue working with my entitled shadow piece, and my self-righteous shadow piece as well as any other shadow that rises to the surface ready to feel the light again. I say again because I believe that every piece of me was born in light and love. The process of loving my shadows is a process of guiding long lost family members home.

soul work

Soul Camp Part Two

soul camp

I got the email today confirming the second soul camp and it was like a bright light at the end of the tunnel. Soul camp takes place right after I finish internship and it is that something extra to look forward to as I wrap up my time as a student.

This time around we are focusing on shadow work which means we will be embracing or dark parts, our manipulators, our liars, our pieces that maintain victim mentality etc. I am sure it will be a struggle for all of us. I wouldn’t even be surprised if less women sign up this time around. I went to a workshop last year where we were processing our relationship with money and how shamey it can feel, of all the people that originally signed up only myself and one other woman showed. It ended up being one of the best workshops I have been to. At the beginning of the year I did another workshop where the same thing happened.

We were doing vision boarding and processing the barriers we create that stand in the way of us meeting our goals (it was essentially about self-sabotage). Only two of us showed. I get it. The dark stuff is scary and most people do not even want to admit they have darkness, let alone spend a day with it, or worse yet an entire weekend where you are being held accountable for engaging with it.

Shadow work has been where I find my truest self, my deepest truths, my purest love for myself. Personally I love shadow work. I love shadow work AND it is super painful. It is absolutely more thorns than roses but they are all part of the same being. You don’t get the rose without the thorn so learn how to love that thorn.

Here is the other thing I am learning about shadow work and learning to love my darkness; it is not scary when you get to know it. I am less afraid of the dark now, literally and figuratively speaking, than I have ever been in my life.

I am can’t wait for everything on the horizon and the fact that day by day that horizon is getting closer.