Honoring the In-Between

in-between

I am sitting in the middle of a glorious in-between and I did not want to let this time slip by without showing it the appreciation it deserves.

The in-between is such a special place, it is a place where all things are possible. It is a place of both certainty and uncertainty. You know where you have been, you know what came before but there is no promise of what comes next, just hope.

We can become so focused on the getting there without truly acknowledging the beauty of the in-between.

In thinking of the in-between my mind is gravitating towards a client I had at the beginning of the year..

She was with me much longer than most. Towards the end she was struggling, she was in her own in-between and wanted desperately to arrive. I came in for my shift at the beginning of one week to discover she was gone. I was overjoyed. Good for her, she made it, something worked out, she is going to be okay now, she is on the path towards love and healing. It was the best way to start my day, I was on a cloud.

Then one of the other therapists came in and shared with me the details of the client’s discharge.. I was no longer in my hopeful in-between, I had arrived at the truth and started to descend from my cloud. My client had AWOL’d. More came out about possible human trafficking once she was on the street and a break from reality.

This is why it is so important not to overlook the in-between. Although this was hard for me to hear and reality can be cruel, for a moment I got to experience a different reality for this client wherein she was safe, and loved, and everything worked out as she had told me she wanted it to. For moment all things were good.

Reality is not important in the in-between, just hope. Hope lives its biggest life in the in-betweens.

So as I sit in all of my in-betweens right now I send the universe a note of gratitude.

Thank you for my in-between before soul camp, and before my new job, and before becoming pregnant, and before all the exciting plans I have made for this year. Right now all good and amazing things are possible. Reality will come and I welcome it too, but right now I get to have this magical time with hope and I am grateful.

Making the Block

moment

Tonight I shared space with my mentor and two other women I admire and it was so good. It was also sacred so that is all I am going to share about it.

As I was driving home my favorite song by Ben Howard came on my Pandora station. It started right down the street from my home, so I decided to make the block. Sometimes you are just not ready for the moment to be over. As I drove and enjoyed every chord, every word, all the feelings that rose up in me, I thought about mindfulness and being in the moment and how great it is when you are really committed to it.

I admit it is not always easy. I am very inside my own head a lot of the time. I am known for walking out the door without something I need for the day or walking into a room and not remembering why. I at times operate in a state of fog because my consciousness is not in the moment but in my dream world instead.

I can do it though. I can be intentional and mindful and present. I love both spaces, the here and now and my dreamy place.

I am feeling like I am in a list making mood so I am going to share some of my favorite moments of mindfulness.

  • When you are with someone and they are telling you a story and you are all there experiencing every piece of it with them. I get to do this with friends, clients, family, colleagues.. Sometimes¬† even people I barely know. It is so remarkable, you are literally transported into their reality and can feel, and see, and smell, and hear all the different things going on around them in their story. Those are moments I live for. I love stories.
  • Meditation. Being able to feel every part of my body and listen to it. The slight tinge in my back from my posture, the growing numbness in one butt cheek from holding a position too long, the feel of my mala beads rolling between my finger tips as I breathe in my intention, my breath – the air filling my lungs so full and then release, every little pulse going on inside of me. Sometimes meditation feels like a super power, to be that tuned in to your own body, it is a spiritual experience for sure.
  • In nature. Whether I am walking a trail far away from humanity, or sitting outside a crowded cafe some of my favorite moments of full on mindfulness take place in nature. There is a table I like to sit at on campus when it is available, it is right next to a patch of green – grass, bushes, a few little saplings.. I sit there with my ear buds in to drown out all the human noise taking place around me and I just watch. I watch the way each leaf moves in the breeze, I watch tiny spiders dancing across blades of grass occasionally throwing a little web if the distance to the next blade feels to far, I look at the color of the different leaves on the bushes and wonder why some turned and not others. I see it all taking place right in front of me, I am immersed in something it seems like no one can see, but here it is all happening right in front of them.
  • Music. Music is a vehicle, you can climb inside of it and get lost for hours. Radiohead is a great example of this for me. When I first listened to the OK Computer a million years ago I remember getting lost in it. Particularly Paranoid Android and Subterranean Homesick Alien. I would rock while I was listening, I would sing, I would bang my hands on my legs in tune with the beat. I was transported, I was lifted from my bed, out of bedroom, and into another space and reality this music created. The power of music is otherworldly.
  • Creating. This is one of my favorite ways to experience mindfulness. Being completely consumed by my creative process is my ultimate answer to the question of self-care. When I am holding my pain brush it becomes an extension of my body, the cold feel of paint on my finger tips is a feeling of renewal I have no words for.. Experiencing each step of the creative process is spiritual for me; laying the drop cloth – spending a moment to take in all of the colors present on it and how beautiful my messy splatters are, setting up the canvas – taking a moment to relish its emptiness, setting up my paints – choosing each color with intention and leaving the drawers open that hold my paints so each color not chosen knows it is still invited into the experience, the physical act of painting – I have no words, and stepping back occasionally.. Coming to the surface for perspective, to tell my family I love them, to witness my progress. Creating allows so much room for so many things. It holds space for me in a way few other things and people are able to in life.
  • Writing. I am here right now present in this moment. Choosing every word I type, sometimes sitting with my choices before I move on.. Does that feel right there? Is this what I actually mean? What is the absolute perfect word for this sentiment? Writing is another part of my life that holds space for me in a very special way. It is more than special, it is sacred. I am able to give myself to the act of writing in a way I struggle to with many people in my life. I have a few soul people who experience me in the way I show up on this blog but few truly know my depth.

If you are someone from my real life who I have invited in to this place please know how much that speaks to what I think of you and how I feel about you as a person. I may not show up fully in this way with you in real life but you were invited to a sacred space where I allow very few “real people” from my life and there was a reason I let you in.

I could continue with this list. I am growing tired though and I even while I am in this moment of writing I am still listening to the needs of my body. The one last thing I would like to add to my list being in moments of true emotion. When something touches me, when something impacts me in some way and allowing myself to feel it without a filter. I am often moved to tears and I often let them come. I am not uncomfortable crying in public spaces and if I make others uncomfortable with my vulnerability I think that may speak to their disconnection from their own – that is not a judgement statement. I really do love allowing myself to feel things though and not having to sensor, I feel much more alive when I can show up this way.

I have no fancy ending for this post. This is all I have for you. I hope it gave you something, I know it did for me.

Technology Zombies Part Trois: This is not Communicating.

phone

 

As I mentioned in my last post, this semester comes with a multitude of projects. Many of which are to be done in groups. Group projects as a rule can be tricky but up to this point it has actually been pretty painless. I do have one small gripe however, it is less specific to the group project experience and more about phone etiquette and communication on a larger scale.

When I was in high school cell phones were not the thing, it was all about the pager/beeper. I got my first cell phone as a graduation present after high school. I did not even start texting until my second cell phone a few years later. As I have mentioned in other posts I am not a big fan of texting. I prefer speaking by phone or in person than written communication, too much can be lost in translation not to mention it is time consuming, at least for me, I am not a fast texter. I could say what I need to say much faster than I could ever type it out on my phone’s keyboard. I do see the merit in a text if you just need a quick yes or no answer on something and you are unable for some reason to call, like you are in a meeting etc.

With all of that said, I have noticed a trend that drives me a bit crazy. I know texting is popular, a lot of people seem to prefer it, that is fine. What I find annoying is when someone is texting me, not a quick “yes or no” type text, rather one that requires in depth explanation. With this I decide to call them, this requires a true conversation, and not only do they not answer but immediately after they text me again. My response is always call me when you are available to talk. They almost never do! Almost inevitably I wind up getting another text a while later saying something like, “I am free now, whats up?” Um, No.. I said CALL. So I call again, they said they were free, and again no answer but another text right after I hang up. What is that??

I bring this up because I have experienced this with more than 3 people now. One of which is an actual friend that I made a few years back at school. She is 10 years younger than me, as is everyone else that I seem to have this issue with. With her what I do now is if she wants to catch up with me via text I immediately make plans with her to meet face to face and catch up. I have known her for close to 3 years now and she has picked up the phone for me once in that time. If I didn’t like her so much this nonsense would be a deal breaker (as inflection is lost in text let me clarify, that last sentence was expressed with mild jest).

My most recent experience was especially frustrating. I was assigned a partner for a short skit to be preformed in class about “appropriate self-disclosure with a client”. My classmate and I are to develop a 1-2 minute skit that is an example of this, easy enough. I had about three ideas before I even left class. To me this requires a five minute brainstorm by phone and we are ready. The classmate and I swap numbers and agree to contact each other over the weekend. She contacts me Friday and explains she would like to get together in person to discuss our skit. I agree to this and we start going over our schedules together, all via text. At one point the convo is getting pretty involved and I decide it would be easier to just hammer things out in a quick call. No answer, shocker. Then I do not hear from her for two days. I try to call again last yesterday, no answer. Also after sending a text I receive no response. I chalk it up to it being Super Bowl Sunday and decide to wait to hear from her. This morning I check in with her through two texts and she finally gets back to me saying she has sketchy cell service and does not always receive texts. All the more reason to speak by phone. She finally agreed to answer my call and it took 30 seconds to make a plan to meet. I mean really, what a waste of energy.

I do not understand this way of communicating and find it truly lacking. Not to mention this nonsense does not fly in the “real” world. I did, on occasion, text with my executives when I worked at the hospital because they were often in meetings but you better believe that if a client or your boss calls you have to answer that phone.

Ultimately I just feel like you lose so much of the connection when communicating like this. I will always prefer to discuss serious matters in person, everyday matters are fine by phone. Let me give an example of what I mean by losing the connection… One of my best girlfriends and I talk by phone about every other week. She has a child and a crazy schedule as do I with school and the things that keep me busy. We do not get to see each other as often as I would like but these calls we have tide me over until I can spend time with her in person. I have never felt as good from a text message as I do after getting to hear her voice on a half hour phone call. We talk, we laugh and I feel like she is in the room with me. Not to mention it meas something to me that she devoted a whole half hour of her busy day just to speak with me. That is the connection. A text can never replace her laugh, it will never feel as good as hearing her voice. That is what is lost.

Death by Daydream

daydream

I was driving down University, the road by the college, yesterday completely caught in a daydream when I suddenly snapped out of it and was a bit terrified. Have you ever been driving and reached your destination wondering “How the hell did I get here”? You don’t even remember driving. That is terrifying to me, right up there with sneezing while driving. The route you are driving is so routine that you mentally check out.

Such was the case for me. Todd had just given me the OK to purchase the bookshelves we had been mulling over for the last week so I was on my way to the store. I was picturing how I would arrange our books and how perfect they will look framing our fire place in the living room. It all seems quite ridiculous now looking back at it. What a superficial thing to be thinking about when I should be thinking about what is going on around me on the road. I admit I am a bit embarrassed. I get all wound up about distracted drivers just to end up a hypocrite. I just have a different distraction, my thoughts.

We are all hypocrites though, no one wants to admit it but we are not made to be perfect which means at times it happens.

I am a serial daydreamer, constantly lost in my own thoughts when alone. It is when I get my best ideas, it is where my creativity stems from. I just need to be a little more aware of it when my mind should be focusing on a specific task, like driving. As excited as I am to finally have bookshelves large enough to hold all of our books it is not worth causing an accident over.