Sovereignty

Tomorrow is my interview. This interview feels like the thing I have been holding out for. I cannot explain why that feels true, it is just a feeling.. A knowing.

I have been riding a major wave of anxiety leading up to this interview and today was the crescendo. I thought my anxiety was rooted in a fear of failure, ie: screwing up in the interview or not being what they want. Now I am realizing it has less to do with that, although yes that is a piece of it, and more to do with the bigger picture.

The bigger picture being my expectations for this position and how high I have allowed my hopes to get. The bigger picture being not my fear of failure in the interview but my fear that this job will be everything I want at this moment in my life and somehow I will ruin this for myself. The bigger picture being my fear of success.

I have mentioned before I have a fear of my own greatness. It is scary to say out loud the things that you want. It is scary to allow yourself to be seen and be heard and try to fly when you still unsure if your wings will hold you.

Here is my truth:

I not only want to get this job, I want this job to be everything I am hoping it will be. I want to set my expectations high and have them met. I want this to be the learning experience I need. I want to feel fulfilled by the work and know that I am growing. I want to be successful.

I emailed one of my soul friends today who has had some recent experiences with taking big chances professionally and asked her to lend me some courage. Oh man did she deliver! I guess it is because she has some to spare, this girl has been my inspiration in terms of bravery in recent years.

Then because I felt the desperate need to be in control of something in my life I cleaned my entire house. The bathrooms, the laundry, the kitchen, the floors, dusting, outdoor work, redecorating.. I did it all today. I was a total Susie-homemaker. It did help to give that nervous energy a place to go as well as regain a sense of control over my life for a moment.

When I finished I grabbed some of my self-care tools: my Mother’s Wisdom deck, my Self-Care deck, my sage.. I lit my sage and pulled a card from each.

From the self-care deck I pulled Peace: “Embrace your confusion. Let their be peace in not knowing all of the answers”.

I felt like that was aimed at my controlling piece who is clearly struggling right now when so much is out of my hands.

Will this position live up to my expectations? Will I still be interested even if it does not? Will they want me? Can I do this? Am I ready?

There are no answers for these questions right now so I have to step back from my need to control and let myself experience peace. I recently did a few different guided meditations around water.. the ocean and a river.. both had the same message of surrender. Don’t fight the crashing waves. Don’t try to fight against the current. Instead, allow the water to carry you and trust that you will not be pulled under, trust that you will float and the water will take you where you are meant to go.

Message recieved.

From the Mother’s Wisdom deck I pulled Queen Victoria: Sovereignty. Whose shadow is dependency.

I have to just say, as an aside, I love that this desk not only outlines the meaning of the card you pulled but also the shadow piece that goes along with it. Sometimes what we are experiencing is the shadow and it helps to have that piece included. The description of this card said it all:

To feel whole, one must have dominion over oneself. Drawing sovereignty indicates a hunger to determine the course of your own life. In taking up the mantle of sovereignty – making decision for yourself- you risk exposing yourself to the criticism of others. Do not be deterred. What makes you unique is inviolable. Sovereignty begets acceptance. When we embrace ourselves as we are, we accede to our rightful majesty.

A big piece of my fear pf failure and fear of success has to do with the fact that in this position I am responsible for myself. I would be my own boss, the agency would be contracting me for my services. Do I really believe I can do this?

Sovereignty begets acceptance. When we embrace ourselves as we are, we accede to our rightful majesty.

The only person I have to convince that I am ready for this is me. I have always been my biggest critic and even though I have moved towards a place of nurturing and self-love that does not mean that all of my shadows have been silenced. I still have a long road ahead of me on my personal path of love and healing.

But yes, I do believe I can do this. Not only that, I believe I deserve this!

That’s right I said it.

I believe that I deserve everything that I wish for in this life and so far I have gotten it. I will see my dreams come true in this area as well because I have the power to do that for myself.

After I drew my cards I sat with the feelings that came up and saged myself to release anything that needed to be released.

I am feeling much more grounded and ready for this interview tomorrow.

I release all the messages of doubt and criticism in this moment. They are not my truth and they do not serve me. I give these messages back to those whom they came from. They do not belong to me and I will no longer allow them to call my body home.

I believe that tomorrow will work out exactly as it is meant to. I will stop swimming against the current and allow myself to be carried. I trust that I will arrive where I am meant to be.

When I was looking for an image to go with this post this is the second image that came up and as 2 is my number I clicked on it to see if it fit..

powerful

I am powerful. This was the exact message I needed today and I got it. I got it from my soul friend, I got it from the cards I pulled, I got it in so many ways. Most importantly I am able to say this to myself and know it is true.

 

It’s All Here. It Always was.

answer

This morning I woke before the sun, 4:40 a.m. to be precise. Something woke me. A smell, a sound, a feeling.. I can’t be sure. I decided since I was partially awake I would go to the bathroom before drifting back off. As I got out of bed Lu decided this was a good idea as well. So, I escorted her outside, took care of myself, and then we both crawled back into bed to for a few more hours of snuggly sleep.

Sleep did not come though. Instead I was met with an explosion of ideas and personal truths. Yesterday I cleared some blocks and anxiety I have been experiencing related to my future, as a result I believe I created room for things that were bubbling underneath my surface that I could not hear over the deafening hum of my own fear and worry.

As I lay in bed I started jotting notes and ideas that were coming to me. Then whole paragraphs, then whole pages. Next thing I knew it was time to really write, this was more than just a middle of the night inspiration.

I am doing some if not most of this writing in my other writing space that is just for me because these are inspirations and ideas and personal truths related to my future both spiritually and professionally; and as I have mentioned before I am choosing for now to keep these things private. I may write a little more here later if I feel struck to do so. For now I just wanted to share something I already knew to be true but that the universe reminded me of this morning: All we need lies within us. What I am looking for, the answers I seek, they already exist within me. I just have to quiet my mind and my fear so I can listen to my own inner wisdom.

Free Fall

anxiety

I heard a rumor yesterday that the next job opportunity that I thought might present itself to me maybe wouldn’t be after all. Today that rumor was a confirmed fact. The job prospect that felt so right is no longer an option.

When I first heard that maybe this wouldn’t work out after all I felt a bit panicked. I didn’t realize how much I was hanging hope on this. Then today when it was confirmed another feeling popped up, an unexpected feeling.. Relief.

Suddenly that panic of Oh my gosh what am I going to do? morphed into I don’t know and it is okay.

I don’t think the idea of not having a job lined up is what has been stressing me out, I think it is the not knowing what the job will be. I have every confidence I will get a job, I just really want to know what it is going to be. I feel like I am trying to skip chapters in a book because I just really want to know how it ends. I need to relax, keep reading, and try to enjoy the story.

I have been speaking with my husband about everything and as per usual he is pretty chill and supportive about the whole thing. He has no worry in terms of me gaining employment and who knows what else will happen this year? Maybe I am not meant to have a job immediately.

There was another piece of me that felt like I have to get licensed ASAP as well. I had this long check list of all the things I have to do the second I graduate but the truth is I don’t. I don’t have to do any of this immediately.

I can wait to attach with a LCSW supervisor. I can wait to apply to be a registered intern. I can wait to take the test. I can wait to get a job. It can all wait. My life is not going to fall down around me if these things don’t happen the second I am done with school. It will be okay. I will be okay.

Once I apply to be an intern I have 5 years to get my hours and pass the test. If for any reason I cannot make these things happen within that 5 year window I do not get my license in the state of Florida. Ever.

I am trying to balance myself as I finish this last semester but this is all weighing heavy on my mind. This is a big life transition. Once I graduate I am walking back into full-time employment, and everything that comes along with the licensure process, and hopefully parenthood, and building my own practice at some point.

I am excited about most of these things. I am also a bit overwhelmed, and scared. I am also grateful. I am also curious. I am also wanting to speed up time and start doing it all. I am also trying to keep my balance and remain grateful for the moment I am in.

It will all be okay. I will be okay.

Remember Yourself

Yesterday morning I wrote this post and then the internet went down so it is posting a day late.

 

This week has been a lot. It has left me feeling disconnected from myself and stressed. I have been working late at internship, in some cases I have come home multiple hours late leaving me just an hour to have dinner and be with my family before out normal bedtime. I also find myself thinking about my clients after I leave the office. I know what is happening and I know better, yet here I am being human.

I have what feel like valid reasons for all of it. I am a mandated reporter, I cannot walk out after a session where an abuse report needs to be made. and I cannot walk out on a client making threats, I have to meet and see if a suicide risk assessment is needed. and There is documentation with all of this, I cannot walk out without documenting what took place.

All of this is true. This is the job I signed up for. Yet at the end of the day when I a deep breath for the first time all day and check in with myself I recognize there somewhere in the midst of all the chaos and good social working I abandoned myself.

This begs the question, is there a way to stay late and do all these things I need to do to protect my clients AND take care of me at the same time. How do I keep my connection with myself while doing this very emotionally draining work?

I came home last night and found that my books had come in. Part of this order was a pack of self-care cards I ordered. It is a deck of 52 cards, you pull one and see what kind of self-care it suggests. So I plopped on the couch with my dinner to start exploring all my books and pulled a self-care card from the middle of the deck..

Boundaries.

Ha! The universe was sending me a very clear message and  I could do was laugh, shake my head, and say Um Yeah, I know.

So today I am going in late because I already know that I will have to stay late. Boundary #1.
I have also decided to bring one of my diffusers in with me so I can put on some oils and set a better environment for myself in the office to ease feelings of stress and tension. Boundary #2. I am also going to make a concerted effort to leave the office at the office. Boundary #3.

I also think that I need to be more mindful and check in with myself more throughout the day, take that sacred pause from time to time.

I have a lot of anxiety going into today so I would like to air some of that out as well so the burden can be released.

I am running group today and I do not feel ready because of how my week has turned out. I built time into my day to figure it out though and I already have a plan. It will be fine.

I had to make a call to the abuse hotline last night on behalf of a client and the report was accepted. This is the first time I have called and felt afraid after. I am sure everything will be fine but I do plan to speak to my supervisor again today just to make her aware of my concern.

Those are my two largest stressors right now.  I also know this is going to be a long day and I am not excited about that. I thought about putting a “but” in there after I made that statement, it didn’t feel right though. I am not excited about having to work late today end of story. I do not need to try to put a positive spin on that. I am aloud to feel the way I feel about it and that is frustrated.

This is me staying connected to myself, not trying to make pieces of myself pretty because we are not supposed to admit that sometimes we are just annoyed or frustrated or overwhelmed. Yesterday I was completely overwhelmed and I soldiered on and it felt like shit. Today I am frustrated and I will allow myself to have that. I will do what I can to make the day easier for myself but I will not tell myself that I am not allowed to feel the way I feel about it. All feelings are welcome here.

This is what connection looks like for me. Today will be a better day even if everything goes to shit because I taking care of me while I take care of everything else.

 

Let Your Soul Shine

This morning my husband woke me as he usually does on a weekday morning, by kissing me and snuggling into me before he leaves for work. He laughed this morning and told me I was making ridiculous faces right when I woke up. Well if he knew what he was waking me up from he would understand.

I was having a dream about a song. Immediately after hubs left I closed my eyes and remember the melody but it was gone. The words stayed with me though. It was a song that talked about being able to see the pain a person’s eyes and knowing the suffering that dwelled underneath. Then it built into this beautiful crescendo and the lyrics sang let your soul shine! Let it shine through for all to see!

I felt so at peace and filled with joy.

I have been sitting with some dread recently related to obtaining employment after grad school. I have already talked about my fear and worry a bit here, unfortunately these feelings persist. I am grateful for what has been put in my path AND I don’t know that any of it feels right for me.

I have been filled with a fear that my concern about being hired will result in me abandoning myself. I feel the song I woke up singing myself was a song of hope. It was a message about my purpose. Everything will work out so long as I do what feels true to my soul.

I have already turned down a position I knew wasn’t right. I have an interview later this week and I don’t know that it is the answer either but I am going to go with an open mind and see.

I keep reminding myself I have time. It is only January, I do not have to have it all figured out right now. There is time.

 

 

Find Me, Dear Heart: An Ode to Infinite Worthiness

worthy

Tonight I checked in with a friend. I am glad I did, she apparently has been struggling and I was not aware. I know it took a lot for her to even be open with me about her struggle. I am glad that I have done enough for our relationship to feel safe for her to share even a little bit, I know how scary it can feel to be honest during dark times. We talked for a while and her pain hurt my heart. It was not just her pain, but the shame she was unknowingly expressing.

She talked of the burden. The burden we all have felt at some point. The burden we carry that we will not allow others to shoulder for fear of burdening them. We don’t want to be too much, we don’t want to ask too much, we don’t want to risk running others off with our darkness. We don’t feel worthy of the comfort, and love, and connection that can come from allowing others in and trusting that they will want to stay and hold our hand through it.

I gave her my words, I tried to make her feel heard and loved and understood. Ultimately I know from my own experience that you can never feel connected with others and truly allow yourself to be unburdened until you begin to work on the relationship you have with yourself. Until you love yourself you will never feel worthy of the love and comfort that can come from others because you will not believe you are worthy of it. It is an up hill climb and it is a long road she is on, but I know she is on it and that gives me hope.

I am no poet but tonight I want to close this post by sending a message out into the universe with the hope that my friend will feel it and feel comfort..

Find me, dear heart.
I know the pain you carry.
The pain of I cannot burden another person with my load.
The pain of I am not worthy of your time, your consideration, your love.
The pain of the awful voices in your head that torture you with hurtful untruths about yourself.
Find me, dear heart.

I see you.
I see your greatness.
I know what bubbles beneath your surface.
I know because what dwells in your soul dwells in mine as well.
I am darkness too, your dark does not frighten me, it is not too much.
And like me, you contain the brightest light, a light that is uniquely and magnificently you.
So find me, dear heart, and let me be your mirror.

A mirror that can reflect for you the love, and connection, and wholeness you are worthy of.

Anxiety’s Funny Like That

So that post earlier where I talked about letting go of control and asking the universe for clarity.. It is as if it never happened.

I felt better for like 5 minutes and then spent hours researching different job opportunities and getting hopelessly disappointed by how disconnected I felt from everything I was seeing. Then my husband got home and I cried for a while about how hopeless I feel and my enormous fear of backsliding and not being able to continue my direction of growth.

Yeah… So that happened. So much for not getting all wound up and trying to control it. I lasted like 15 minutes. I am not as zen as I would like to think I am. So much for meditation and intuition, I’ll just freak out over the future and catastrophize the shit out of my entire life.

So now I feel the need to balance my mini-meltdown with some rationale..

Here is my truth:

Everything has always turned out.
I am surrounded by abundance.
I have never settled but I have had to wait for the right thing.
Patience has been worth it.
When I become clear on what I want in my life it comes to me.

I do not have to have everything figured out right this moment. I do not have to have all the answers right now, they will come when they are meant to.

And now I would like to take this balance once step further and throw in some gratitude because the rationale may help ground me but the gratitude is what makes me feel better.

Tonight I am grateful for my husband, for our home, and for our sweet fur baby. I am grateful for the surplus of canvas I have left over from Christmas gifts. I am thankful for books and the worlds I am transported to when reading. I am thankful for all the growth I have experienced in the last 5 years. I am really really thankful for the growth.

I am also thankful to be in a position in my life where these are the kinds of things I worry about. I know even this is something to be thankful for. The things that give me anxiety now are things I could not even dreamed of asking for 5 years ago.

Unraveling a Scribble

All day I have been on the fence about writing. Now that it is closer to bed time I have decided to get this out for fear it will keep me up if I don’t. Day two of the New Year was met with all consuming anxiety. I almost had a panic attack while we were running an errand earlier and it took me quite sometime to release the energy once we were home.

I have been on the verge of a panic attack for over a month now, it pops up at random times but the current of anxiety has been constant for sometime.

I am pretty sure I have my finger on the cause, that does not mean I have control over how it is making me feel though.

Today while hubs was helping me through it I discussed the possibility of going back on the anxiety meds I was on 5 years ago. I have been reluctant because I am in therapy and literally learning therapeutic techniques in school on how to cope.. I keep telling myself I should be able to get by without the meds.

I have not seen my therapist in a few weeks because of the holiday so I have decided to wait and process everything with her before making a final decision.

My family is definitely part of the recent flare up. Even creating a physical boundary between myself and the drama is not enough if I am not better about my emotional boundaries. There are certain family members I do not have good emotional boundaries with and it is as if I can feel what they are feeling. It is exhausting. I am exhausted.

Another source of the recent panic I am sure has to do with my being sick for over a month. Illness is an anxiety trigger for me. A lot of my trauma centers around me not feeling in control over my body during different parts of my life and for different reasons. When I am sick I am not in control of my body, it is a major trigger for me. The last antibiotic I took for my ear infection did not take so I am still walking around feeling swimmy headed with clogged ears. I know to most it seems like just a simple inconvenience but for me it feels scary, like I am out of control.

This brings me to the last source that I have identified and that is the work I am committed to doing in therapy this year. I mentioned previously that this year I am going to start working on my relationship with my body. That  means a lot of things and they all scare me. I don’t think there is anyway to get around the fact that this is going to be painful and the probability of me seriously struggling is high.

When I was talking with hubs today about possibly getting back on the meds I told him it was primarily because I do not want to suffer. That is my fear, that is what I have been trying to numb and escape all these years, suffering. At the time of that conversation i was talking specifically about my fear of having panic attacks and that I do not want to suffer in that regard but honestly I think it was a deeper piece that was speaking up. I am afraid of what comes next in my work. I know it is an important part and will be so healing but I am afraid of how much it will hurt and I do not want to suffer. There are things I do not want to relive. My body is still holding things that I think it will only be able to release if I do this work but I am so scared.

It feels better to say some of this out loud and be honest about how scared I feel right now.. AND it hurts too. I can feel the tension my shoulders and neck as I write this, it is as if an elephant is sitting on my shoulders.

To make myself feel better today I put on some oils, I cleansed myself with sage and a bell (it may sound hippy woo woo but it works for me), I stretched, I played a game with hubs to help distract myself, I lit candles, I drank a balancing tea blend, I watched a movie from childhood that brings me joy, and when I was finally feeling a bit more like myself I put on music and danced. That last part is what really yanked me out of it. I put on my Sade station on Pandora and danced while making dinner. Hubs laughed as Lucy and I danced to Creep by TLC and then he spun me around the kitchen to Georgia by Ray Charles.

Something else I did that really helped was paint. I was sitting on the couch in the sun room with the Buddha board hubs got me for Christmas and I noticed the shadow I was casting on it. I started painting my shadow and there was something very symbolic about that to me. So I got a canvas, returned to the couch, and painted my very first self portrait..

self-potrait

I think it somehow very appropriate that my first self portrait would be of my shadow. I think it speaks to the work I have to do yet with my own shadow pieces.. I think it speaks to the dark place I was in today.. I think it speaks to my need to dig deeper within myself so I may know myself better.. It also speaks to deeper things that I do not discuss openly on this forum but that are very meaningful as well. It was symbolic to say the least. This was my first painting of 2017 and at first something about that made me sad, like I was starting the year off in darkness but then I read this..

transformation1

My mantra for this year is one of transformation, that will not take place just in light and love.. I have to be willing to go back to places of darkness and pain and bring light and love to the pieces of me that are still residing there. I have to take light and love to the parts of my body I am afraid to look at because of the trauma they experienced. This will be scary, and I have always been afraid of the dark, but there will be light and it is up to me to shine it.  My hope is that by years end I will have the courage to paint another self-portrait and from this darkness my deep hope is to find the butterfly.

Tomorrow is my first day of therapy, I am excited and scared. I just keep telling myself You are safe and it is going to be okay.

You are safe. And it is going to be okay. You are going to be okay. You are going to be okay.

Making Magic

For the past few weeks I found myself feeling a bit uninspired. I am so thankful for all my supports when I fall into little slumps like this. One day I came home to this postcard in the mail from one of my friends that was at the meditation/drum circle with me a few weeks ago.

badass

One: getting personal mail that is not a bill is so fun.
Two: How bad ass is this postcard?! and how bad ass is my girlfriend for thinking of me with it?!

Then for an early birthday present my parents gave me a dozen canvases. I was thrilled. I came home and started with this:

alaska

alaska1

It does not have a name yet, I am just calling it Alaska because that was the inspiration.

Mid-week last week when I was still sick I spent an entire miserable, feverish day on the couch. I ended up renting BFG because Roald Dahl is one of my heroes (right up there with Shel Silverstein and Jim Henson). It was so good I watched it twice that day. It was so whimsical and full of fantastic magic.

Slowly I felt myself coming back in good place. My joyful, inspired, light place.

Today I finally had a chance to process some of the anxiety I had been dealing with over the last few weeks with my therapist. My internship supervisor brought me some of my work with the rant she went on during supervision a few weeks ago and I am grateful for that. She said it was not about me but I was still triggered by it none the less and have work to be doing in this place, I don’t want to ignore the dark pieces of myself that reacted to what she said and the energy behind her message. I still have work around the word entitlement in particular. I am curious to see what I will learn about myself as I navigate this shadow piece further.

So after therapy I came home and finished working on my joyous bell stick, aka the infinite love shaker, aka Marge. She is ribboned and belled and absolutely beautiful.

joyous-love-stick

This is where I am at. Inspiration restored, magic flowing through my veins again, ready for some time off to let my inner artist run free (and not a moment too soon).

I have a few more posts to write based on the personal work I am currently doing to help me process it a bit more but I will save it. Not really in the mood right this moment. This week I turn 33 and I am not in the mood for dark writing. I just going to leave you with art and Marge and awesome pots cards and call it a day.

Happy birthday to me. Can’t wait to celebrate with hubs.

That Wasn’t My Best Me

energy

This last week was not one of my best and I certainly did not show up with my light turned up. Between bad energy at internship, Thanksgiving not going according to plan, and then hubs and I both getting the flu over the weekend.. I have not been at my best emotionally, physically, or mentally.

I am so close to the end of the semester and having a break from internship, there is piece of me that is tempted to just sit in this place of anxiety and negativity until the break. Why though? Why would I deliberately put off feeling better? Because it would be more work to actively try and feel better while I still have work to do and assignments to complete rather than just allow myself to give into what feels easy, this negative energy.

I had been doing so well with my intention of turning up my light. I am disappointed that I was so easily derailed by other people’s energy, illness, and just life in general. How committed was I if it was that easy to give in?

I think it is good though. It causes me to reflect and realize how easy it is to forget our purpose. This is not something I can be passive about. It is something I have to be actively engaged in everyday. Waking with intention, going to bed with gratitude. I admit I have been doing neither for last few days.

I can give myself space though, I have been ill and in a medicated delirium. Now that I am starting to feel better though I would like to get back to having mindful intention and gratitude. I have felt incredibly unbalanced the last week or so. That is how it goes sometimes though. I can try to show up as my best self everyday but the truth is I am human and sometimes I am going to show up in very human ways which may not feel like my best spiritual self.

So tonight as I am getting ready for a very big week that I know I have underlying anxiety around I would like to show my dark pieces love. My sick pieces, my vulnerable pieces, my scorned pieces, my jealous and angry pieces, my very human and beautifully flawed pieces that show up in painfully honest ways.

I am doing my best and my best looks different depending on the day. Today my best was taking care of body while it healed from the flu and giving Lu a bath after she rolled in the dirt even though I was completely exhausted.

Yesterday my best was making a conscious effort not to puke on my husband.

Tomorrow I will start my day with whatever intention is awake inside of me and I will give the day my best, whatever that looks like tomorrow.

Self-Sabotage

self-sabotage

This afternoon in class our professor asked us to break into groups of three and share a few words that speak to each of our individual life stories. It had to do with an exercise around narrative therapy. I got with two other classmates and initially we just stared at each other. This felt vulnerable. Then one of them started; the first words out of her mouth was self-sabotage. I was thinking man, that is fucking honest, good for her for being so real. Her authenticity gave me and the other group member permission (and a feeling of safety) to show up in our truth as well.

A little while later I linked up with two different classmates for a role play on solution focused therapy. Neither of the women I was working with wanted to be the clinician so I agreed to. I know this is an area I need practice anyway. I use parts of solution focused theory with my clients currently and did so with my clients from my last internship on occasion  as well. It doesn’t really speak to me on the whole though because it is very “now” focused where as I lean more towards psychodynamic approaches which focus on the roots of issues. I think it is good for acute issues but long standing challenges I think are better addressed through deeper work.

So I opened my text to the solution focused chapter so I had an outline to keep me on track and we began. I was not sure I was doing too well because I was so focused on not diving too deep with my classmate playing the role of client. I paused and broke character once or twice to keep myself on track and make sure I was staying with the theme of solution focused. Each time I did my classmates I was working with were super complimentary of my style. I appreciated the validation. They both gave my professor wonderful feedback about how I incorporated different techniques. After class one of the women I worked with told me I was so good that she wanted to bring me her actual problems to get my insight, she was just paying a compliment and was not serious but that was pretty cool.

I had a meeting with my professor after class and was on a high after the class going so well. We talked about certification opportunities and how to search for them. She gave me contact information for some professionals locally that can help me towards certain certifications. She also gave me information about national institutes that do yearly trainings and certifications in case I was willing to travel at any point and make a trip out of it. That was kind of neat too.

So I got home and started doing research based on the information she provided and as I got closer to options I know I am definitely interested in I began to think of my classmate from today.. There is one certification I am really excited about and as I read about what is involved in becoming certified I suddenly felt terrified.  I can’t do this. I am going to fail! I can’t do private practice. I will just work for an agency for the rest of my life. I am not good enough.

The words self-sabotage flashed into my mind.

So I stepped back from my search and took a breath. There is absolutely a fear of failure associated with any step I take towards preparing myself for private practice. There is also a fear of success. There are pieces of me that still do not believe I am worthy of all that I have and all the things I want for myself in life. There are still pieces of me that do not feel good enough.

No amount of positive feedback from colleagues, no amount of validation by professors or supervisors, no credential behind my name is going to change this for me. It just shows me I still have work to do. The best thing I will ever do for my clients is the work I do for myself. Of course I need the degrees, and I would like some certifications just to make sure I am competent in certain modalities, but ultimately I need to be modeling this for them too. I should not be asking my clients to do work I am not willing to do myself. I know doing the work myself is part of what will make me a good therapist because I know the struggle involved in being committed to this work.

I can do this. I am doing it. I have been doing it. I have not just been doing it, I am doing well. It will all come as it is meant to and I feel confident I will succeed in all of it. I may have moments of doubt along the way and I will be gentle with myself in those moments. I will get there though, I know I will.

courage

Letting It All Out: Part I

smudge

I needed a lot of space for self-care this weekend. I think hubs and I both did. I do not think we were alone. With every interaction I had with the world this weekend I saw it around me.. I felt it. That need to be gentler, softer, to taking a deeper breath..

Negative energy was hanging over our home Saturday mid-morning. I was on a deadline all weekend and was feeling the anxiety associated with that. Hubs came to me because his anxiety was building over the level of disarray in the home. We could both feel this energy building and decided to hit the reset button. I took a break from my paper and we went for a walk with Lu. As we were walking I was helping him be in the moment using mindfulness. I was walking him through how to let go of the anxiety associated with our mess at home. We focused on the feeling of the breeze against our skin, the different colored leaves we were seeing all around us, we made sure not to rush Lucy and allow her to smell everything she wanted to smell – it was her walk too. We decided to walk up to the vegan tea shop and have lunch. We both ordered a tea and a light lunch and then sat outside with Lu reading various vegetarian and music magazines.

As we ate people came up to love on Lu, others stopped to chat about this or that. I bonded with the employee who took our order over the hat I was wearing, my HRC Love Conquers Hate cap, as it was pride weekend downtown. She was also wearing her rainbow ribbon in support. It was nice.

After our lunch we took our tea to go and walked over to the park. Lucy and I chased squirrels together and then chased each other around a pine tree until she decided to jump in a huge pile of pine needles, I followed suit. Hubs just sat back and laughed at us.

On the walk home I found a great stick I thought Lucy would like; turns out she was much too tired after our romp in the pine needles. I thought it was too great to leave behind so I added it to my growing collection of leaves and acorns I had been picking up along the way and took it home with us.

Hubs asked what I was going to do with the stick, I paused for a moment and then replied that I planned to paint it, tie ribbons to it, and glue on some bells. This way when our home has funky energy in the future we can use our joyous bell stick (I have decided that will be its name) and clear the energy.

When we got home hubs came up with a priorities list for what part of the mess bothers him most and we got to work. Before we got started I had him pick out an oil and a color he wanted the diffuser set to as well as an intention for the work we were doing. We both said the intention out loud a few times, I dropped in the oil he chose – serenity- and set the diffuser to light blue. It took us less than an hour to completely clear the negative energy from our home once we were home as well as get it picked up. Hubs said this was his version of smudging the house, I’d say it was pretty effective.

Here is the mid-point result of my joyous bell stick. It is painted and ready for adornment.

self-care

Fight, Flight, Total Freak Out

All the bad energy I have been talking about for weeks came to a head this afternoon as I was driving home from internship and it was terrifying.

There is a point on my drive home from internship where the road I am on merges with oncoming traffic. I am usually timid as I make this merge because typically there is a lot of oncoming traffic and the ptsd I have related to a previous car accident keeps me cautious when I drive. So I got to my merge today and there was a lot of oncoming traffic, it was a Friday a 4:45pm so this was not surprising.

I was slowly inching down the merge lane waiting for my opportunity to get in when the car behind me started blaring on their horn. This alone was really startling for me, I wasn’t sure what they were honking for. I looked in my rear view to see the lady behind me screaming (I am not exaggerating here, she was screaming) and waving her hands around in a motion that I interpreted as her wanting me to go. Go where? There was a solid line of at least 4 or 5 cars, there was no where to go until this clearedShe continued with his behavior and laying on her horn until finally there was break in traffic and I was able to finish merging. While I was waiting for traffic to clear I waved back at her trying to signal that Yes I hear you, I will go when I can. It was no use, she was unrelenting.

I was rattled. Her behavior was over the top. My nervous system kicked into over drive.

Once I was able to merge she let off her horn and I thought it was all over. I was wrong. She proceeded to tailgate me down the road, practically sitting on my bumper. All I could think was please don’t cause an accident. Please don’t hit my husband’s car.

My turn for home is not far from that merge area so soon enough I was in my turn lane, again thinking I would be done with this lady and the whole situation. Wrong again. She was turning left too. Then I thought Oh crap. She is one of my neighbors.

When I turned left there was a car coming but I had time to turn, the lady behind me turned left in front of the car cutting it off. I drove down a few blocks and she continued to tailgate me, staying dangerously close to the bumper of my car. I came to a four way stop sign, I needed to go straight but something told me not to go straight home. I turned right. Almost without stopping she turned right as well. I then turned left, she stayed with me. At this point I called my husband. I was not far from home and I did not know what to do. Should I go home? Should I call the police? Was she following me or was she a neighbor?

While explaining to my husband what was happening I decided to pull over to the side of the road to see if she would pass me. She didn’t. She pulled up behind my car. I immediately started driving again. That was all the confirmation I needed. I was around the corner from our home, I asked my husband to come outside, that I thought we would need to call the police but that I wanted to get her plate. I made my left turn at the last stop sign before home and instead of following me she hit the gas and went straight.

I was only partially relieved.

I got home, parked, and immediately went inside. I was shaking so hard my husband had to hold me. I laid on his chest and mimicked his deep breathing until I was breathing normally again. I did not stop shaking for 20 minutes.

After processing it with my husband what we think happened is she saw me on my phone and after the maneuver I did to confirm she was following me she assumed I was on the phone with the police. She made sure to drive off fast and in a direction where it would be very difficult for me to get her license plate information.

As my husband was walking back through the whole situation with from beginning to end I found myself trying to make sense of everything. Why did she do that? I just do not understand. My husband tried to explain that she probably had a bad day and was taking it out on me through her road rage. Ok, but I still do not understand what about me and the way I was driving set her off. There was literally no where for me to go. If I had gone forward like she wanted me to I would have caused a massive accident.What did she want? What was going on inside her head?

I have never been involved in road rage before. I am a very cautious driver, I always let people in, I do not speed.. I just do not see myself as an obvious target for someone’s aggression in this way, especially in this specific situation. I mean if it was what my husband said and she was projecting her anger on me that is scary. This woman allowed herself to get so wrapped up in it that she was following someone home. What did she think she was going to do once I stopped? Was she going to confront me? Was she planning to get out of her car? I mean to what end was she planning to take this situation? And again why?

This all just goes back to the really bad energy stewing our there right now. It does not matter how zen I try to be or how committed to keeping balance and perspective I am.. I cannot control the rest of the world.

Let this scary situation be a voice in the back of all of our heads the next time we feel ourselves feeding into negativity.. To what end? Why? What am I hoping to accomplish with this? 

We are all in this (surviving life) together folks. Lets not make it harder on ourselves or each other. Be kind. Show love. Forgive. Take a breath. Be patient.

It all may sound cliche and recycled but this woman forgot all of it today. We are capable of getting caught up in our own negativity or the negative energy swirling around out in the world. We all have the potential to forget. So be mindful, be kind, and be grateful whenever you can.

Although this lady sent me into a full on ptsd episode I still trying to find compassion. I know it is hard, I am sorry you are struggling with whatever it is you are struggling with, I am sending you light.

Listening and Knowing

A few weeks ago I wrote this post about my direction and growth and walking into what scares me. It was a vulnerable post for me to share because what I was discussing, my dream/intention of owning my own practice as a clinician, is something that I want so badly and I am afraid of at the same time. There is something very vulnerable in sharing a dream openly like that. You are letting the whole world, or at least whoever is listening, know that there is this thing that means a whole lot to you; which in turn also means it is something that could potentially cause a great deal of pain. The things we love most have a way of doing that sometimes.

Since writing that post I have been thinking more about this dream/intention and my fear surrounding it. I have been thinking about it a lot for a while now actually. The deeper my connection grows with myself the louder this voice becomes around doing this amazing/terrifying thing. With each day I feel the vibration grow, I feel the energy surrounding this intention get bigger and bigger until finally I will take the plunge because I know there will be no other thing that will feel as right as this in terms of the work I do out in the world for the world.

With every day that passes my fear lessens. And while that is true I also still have felt that it is very important for me to truly understand my underlying fears about this direction. I feel the only way to feel completely connected to this path is to have a relationship with the parts of this direction that feel scary to me.

I talked in the previous post about worries over the business end of things, I know if I need to I can bring in help in this area though. This will not be a fear that causes a road block, it will be a detail to figure out and nothing more in the grand scheme of things. Another piece I shared that makes me uneasy is flying solo. Here is the thing about that though, if I am going to do this any time in the near future I will not truly be flying solo. Licensing laws require that I have supervision while I am unlicensed. That means I am not able to be completely on my own until I am licensed. I will have to share a space with a clinician who is licensed and I will be in regular supervision. This too will amount to no more than a detail to work out when the time comes.

So what am I actually afraid of? These two things worry me yes, and there is some fear attached with them but I feel a fear bigger than both of these pieces as well. After sitting with this for a while since meeting with my mentor to discuss my intentions I have recognized another piece that I am troubled by.

There is a piece of me that has internalized some outside message, I am not sure yet where from, that I cannot do this because I am too new to the field. What if I wanted to do this right out of school next summer? What if all the time I spend in internship, classes, therapy, and life leads to me deciding this is exactly what I want to do after graduation and I want to start immediately. There is someone else’s voice in my head telling me that I would be breaking the rules. You are not experienced enough. You have no right. You did not pay your dues in the field. What do you know? You are too young.

I have been taking a lot of time sitting with each one of these statements and more that bubble up, again I am trying to have a relationship with the fear. I truly believe that is the only way to be successful in reaching my goals and as a human being in general.

So here is what I have so far to counterbalance these statements.

  1. I do not owe anyone an explanation about my direction.
  2. I know what I bring to the table as a clinician and as a human being, I know what my experiences are and why they are not only important but how they have prepared me for this work.
  3. I do have a right to be here. That is my truth.

Ultimately while these affirmations help quiet these voices they do not remove them all together. That cannot happen until I get to know them better.I need to understand where they came from and why they are here in the first place, then I need to show them love so they will no longer hold this fear for me.

I am sure as I continue down this path I will begin to have relationships with more fears that arise. I am making the commitment to myself and to this dream to do that. This means enough to me to do all the needed work to see it through the way I know it needs to be done.

I feel myself getting closer and my excitement grows with each passing day, with every milestone met, with every challenge overcome, and fear met head on. I will share this part of my journey as new pieces come up but for tonight I am grateful to have recognized where some of my work is so I can start doing it.

direction1

 

 

Ready Ready Ready To Go!

I woke up 5 am ready to start the day. I’d like to think that I don’t have anxiety about what this week holds for me but if that were true I probably would have slept in until 7.

Right now my perfectionist self is running the show making sure I am ready for what lies ahead. I got all of my introductory discussion posts done before 8:30 so I can check my first assignments of the semester off my list. I have ordered and paid for my parking decal. I had breakfast and exercised. I picked out my clothes, organized my school bag, and have started making a list of questions to go over with my intern supervisor when I start on Wednesday. I also did a load of dishes and pulled out what is needed to make dinner when we get home later. I may not be a J or a Type A but I can pull things together when motivated.

Now I feel the need to balance all that excited/nervous energy with some calm. I figured I would right for a bit, taking a nice long shower, and meditate before making my lunch and getting ready for school.

I feel like I need to harness and focus this energy behind a certain intention for the day or I will be so wired up when I arrive on campus, search for parking, and finally get to class that I won’t be as present as I would like to be.

I think my intention today is to be grounded. I know I am excited and wound up, I think I need to focus on tethering myself to the ground, having a still mind, and being connected to what is going on around me.

I look forward to sharing all the details of my first week as an MSW clinical intern. I am sure as the semester moves forward I will have plenty of stories.

ready to go

It was just a Dream

dreams.jpg

That phrase, it was just a dream, can be the most comforting and invalidating statement all at once. Anyone with PTSD might know what I am talking about. I have night terrors, frequently. I have had frightening dreams for years, since high school. Some are recurring, some are recurring themes with different characters/environments, some are terrifying and do not seem related to anything specific (although I would be willing to bet they are).

These bad dreams have been my constant companion for all these years, the frequency in which they occur varies though. There are times when I may go weeks without one, recently though they have been there every night. For weeks I have been almost afraid to go to sleep because I know what is waiting for me, or at least I think I do and then it is usually much worse than I could have anticipated.

Last week Todd woke me up because I was making noises and breathing heavily/erratically. When I woke up I grabbed on to him and started crying hysterically. When I finally caught my breath and calmed down I was laying in a puddle that once was my husband’s chest and my eyes were swollen. It was just a dream are the words he cues into my ears when this kind of things happens. He holds me, he rubs my back, or pets my head, his even breathing calms mine and the echo of his heart beat in my ear brings mine back down. It was just a dream, it’s not real, I am safe. I feel comforted.

I have been in other situations where those words, it was just a dream, were flung at me in annoyance, they were dismissive. It was just a dream, get over it!

As I do my work my hope is that these dreams will ebb. Right now I think my work is why they are so frequent. A lot is coming up and my subconscious is reacting to/processing it. These dreams are certainly giving me plenty to work on. In the mean time I am doing what I can for myself in order to feel safe and comfortable at bed time.

There is a song by one of Todd and I’s favorite bands, City and Colour, that I think of when it comes to my haunting dreams. Apparently Dallas Green’s wife (he is the lead singer and song writer) also suffers from night terrors. I hear this song and think is this is what it is like for Todd? I wanted to share the lyrics in case it speaks to anyone else with these same issues.

Fragile Bird

When she sleeps
There is a fever dream, yeah
It brings a night terror
To haunt this fragile bird

She speaks in tounges
Her words they come undone, yeah
And with the wayward mind
She struggles through the night

All that I can do
Is hope she makes it through, through the night, through the night

These cold nightmares
They make her worse for ware
Lost in the dark
She’s got a heavy heart

And when she wakes
In her fragile state
When she calls my name
Hopin that I keep her safe

All that I can do
Is hope she makes it through
All that I can do
Is hope she makes it through

Through the night (x4)

All that I can do
Is hope she makes it through
All that I can do
Is hope she makes it through
Through the night

Walking into Your Greatest Fears

As I continue to wake up to my truth and become more connected to my soul self somethings are becoming clearer to me. Things like who I want to be as a social worker, what whole-hearted parenting will look like to me, and that the things we are afraid of are maybe exactly what we should be pursuing in life.

There are things I know that I want for myself but I am afraid. Not so afraid that my fear will stop me but afraid enough that it could delay a natural flow that already happening. I do not want to stand in my own way.

One of my fears is of owning my own practice as a therapist. I am afraid for so many reasons. I am afraid of the business end of things, I don’t know anything about owning a business, it is scary to think about. I am afraid of being on my own and not having someone there in the moment to guide me. At some point it is going to be just me and the client, I am so afraid of not being what they need, I am afraid my words or skills will fail me when put to the test. I am afraid of my own success. It may seem irrational, maybe it is, but it is also my truth in this moment. I am afraid of having the exact life that I want. I am afraid of success on that level.

I see it though. I know this is part of my path. I do not know how large of role this part will play in my overall story but I know in my heart that it is part of it.

I started the social work program with an intention and that little intention grew so much larger than I had ever dreamed possible. That intention is still growing. I am so much more than I thought I could be. Nothing has been forced, it has been difficult at times, but I have tried to allow the process to be what it is. I have spoken my truth when it felt like I needed to. I have tried to be connected and present. I have allowed myself to be real, which in my past life was a terrifying proposition that I would not have never considered.

I am meeting with my mentor in a few hours to talk about my next steps. It felt important to me to set time aside to focus on my intention moving forward. Having intention in life gives you a place to focus your energy and from there comes the growth. I have had intention in my role as a student and have experienced momentous growth. I have had intention towards self-compassion and acceptance and have felt my energy towards myself evolve. I have had intention with the way I engage with the world and I have seen the impact that intention has had on my life.

When people talk about being mindful I think a big part of that is just knowing what your intentions are and honoring them. I am grateful for this life and everything I have been given.

 

Lost in Translation

Back to busy starting today. The last few days were nice but now I am back at it. Today of group members from my community assessment project are coming over and we are going together into the community to hopefully meet with community members and interview them. In preparing for this part of the assignment my group members and myself have reached out to a few people to introduce ourselves and request meetings. The two I have set up for our group are with a local school official and an employee at one of the local community centers.

Professional emailing was a big part of my job while at the hospital so I understand professional etiquette in email pretty well. I do not particularly enjoy this form of correspondence however. Like other forms of written communication I feel like a lot can get lost in translation. This is especially true when you have not met the person with whom you are emailing in person, or talked by phone. I have no way of knowing if a short response is in the interest of efficiency or possible annoyance. I have no way of knowing if a three day response period is due to a busy schedule or lack of enthusiasm about responding at all. I always assume the best and give benefit of the doubt but my nervousness about this project in the first place makes it harder for me to be completely objective.

I don’t want us, my group and this project, to be burdensome to those who have agreed to meet with us. I also don’t want anyone to feel they have to participate in this assignment just because we requested either. I know I am over thinking this and again I think it is due to my own nervousness about the assignment. I am sure I am projecting some of my own feelings on to these interactions without intention. I just need to put all of that aside, be professional and in tune with nonverbal cues when we meet with these individuals in person.

I am very intuitive but I also recognize there is a difference between intuition  and anxiety which is what I think is actually at play here. This is probably less about the emails and more about anxiety I have about taking the next step with this assignment. And that’s fine, as long as I can tell the difference.

Owning My Life

gift

 

Todd and I had our annual check up right before we left for Chicago and while we there our doctor pointed something out to me I did not realize. We were finishing up my exam, checking the ears etc and she said So it has been two years since we weened you off the Lexapro, how have you been feeling? I told her I have been great, she was already aware of some of the life style changes I have made in regards to having an exercise routine, healthy eating habits and having a bedtime routine so I did not go into great detail. She said she was glad to hear it and that was that.

When I was leaving the office I was thinking about the last two years, has it really been that long? Yeah, I guess so. I was diagnosed and prescribed the Lexapro by a doctor that was not directly involved in my counseling at the time, it was about a 5 minute visit. I saw my counselor a few days later and he said that while the Lexapro will help short term he did not feel I would need it long term and continuing to work on myself would be what ultimately makes things better. He was right.

In the last 4 years, since first being diagnosed with anxiety and depression I have made a lot of important changes. The exercising and eating definitely play a role in my over all well being. When I first started counseling I was absolutely someone who would numb my emotions with food. I did not realize at first and once I did it was very intimidating because that is how I had been dealing with things for so long I did not even know where to begin my work on that area. It was gradual, we started (I say we because this change impacted Todd as well) by eating better. This made me feel better physically. I felt less tired and lethargic after eating, which really helped with my initial motivation to work out, I actually started to enjoy it. Once I was more active and eating less processed food I felt so good the need/want to emotional eat really wasn’t there. To really drive the new routine home and help prevent any back sliding we stopped keeping the food in the house that I would go to for comfort. Now it is not even something I crave. That was a huge hurdle to overcome, that alone would be enough to be proud of but I didn’t stop there.

Taking more time for myself, time to be quiet and reflective, time to write down my thoughts and feelings.. This has all be a integral part of my growth as well. Before, during my dark time I was very reactionary. I think part of that was because I was hurting so much at the time that everything was spilling over but I also think it is because I was not paying attention to what was really going on in side of me. It is not that I don’t still experience frustration and anger and other negative emotions occasionally, I just do not immediately react. I take time to reflect, figure out why I am feeling this way, what exactly is causing me to feel the way I do. Since being diagnosed and being in counseling I have not had a single episode where I allowed my negative emotions to get the best of me. No hysterical crying, no fury driven lashing out. I have been completely collected and calm in situations that would have previously sent me into a tailspin.

On that same note Todd and I have been together going on four years, he has been with me through the entire growth process, sometimes involved and actively cheering me on but more often watching proudly from the side lines. In that time we have never fought. For a while I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, because inevitably, in every other relationship I had been in it would. I finally realized I was different, this was different and I was doing things right this time which meant that other shoe was never going to drop. It is not that we never disagree. We are both fiercely independent people, who believe in autonomy and have our own outlook on life. It helps that our values are in line but nevertheless we do not always see eye to eye. That has never been a problem though. we discuss our differences, we discuss ways in which we can improve, nothing in our relationship has ever been taboo. We do not ignore issues that arise, we do not leave anything unsaid. And if a discussion begins to feel tense or emotional we take a break and shelf it for a while. It has worked every time. It allows us time to cool off and it also allows time to really reflect on what the other person was saying. Sometimes in a discussion you get so stuck on your own point you aren’t really allowing the other side in. We have a pretty great communication style if I do say so myself.

One of the biggest healthy changes I have made is learning how to say No. It goes back to what I was talking about yesterday with boundaries. I think flimsy boundaries may have had a lot to do with why I would experience anxiety earlier on in life. In other relationships, at work, in social situations.. I think I had boundary issues which can absolutely be a huge source of anxiety. I always had my values, what I didn’t always have was conviction. Saying No isn’t easy. It was something I had to learn how to do, it also helped that I cut ties with some of the people that continually tested my boundaries. I think first and foremost it is important to have healthy relationships with people who also believe in healthy boundaries therefore yours are rarely being tested. In cases where that is not possible, like with family who maybe don’t have good boundaries you just have to learn how to protect your own. Having boundaries does not mean always saying No either, I like to be able to say Yes as well. For me it is knowing that I have the right to say No and if I choose to say Yes I have the right to define my Yes. Someone asks me for a favor I am not comfortable granting? I have the right to say No, if I would like to help though I have the right to define what kind of help I am comfortable giving.

Having strong boundaries and a partner who supports them as well I think has made the biggest difference. I feel strong, healthy and unafraid. I really could not say any of those things a few years ago. I am owning my life and my decisions, I need no validation now from the outside world. I know I am actively and mindfully living my life and I have never felt so good.

We need to talk

 We-Need-To-Talk-400x470

There was a time in my life where these four words could make me drop off the grid. I do not like confrontation, especially surprise attacks. I have gotten better over the years thanks to personal growth but like most people I still don’t like it.

Although these uncomfortable situations still make me mentally squirm I how important communication is to successful relationships. You have to talk about things, especially issues. This year I have had three different opportunities for practice. Two were successful, however uncomfortable at the beginning, verdict is still out on the third.  One of the two successful conversations completely changed the dynamics of a relationship that was in serious trouble. As far as that third one, the other party was not receptive and shut down immediately. We have talked and seen each other since the attempt at the conversation and I am getting the verbal message that everything is OK but I know better. Ultimately I cannot force this person to talk about it if they do not want to and I accept that. I also feel that time will heal the problem so in the interim all I can do is continue to nurture the relationship and be patient.

Of course I am happier during time of homeostasis, however with every uncomfortable “talk” that comes up over the course of relationships I am becoming more confident. I am no longer afraid of these talks with friends, family etc if they are needed. I like to be prepared when possible so I have time to think about how I feel as well as what the other person might be thinking, feeling. Even when caught off guard I am more comfortable with my reaction and how I have been able to handle the situation.

My biggest concern is the same as it has always been and that is the other person’s feelings. I have learned to balance that concern with being honest about my own feelings as well.