Tuesday, May 28, 2019

I Did It For Me


Dear Friends,
If you have followed me here on this blog or anywhere else in my life, you know that I don't have the best of relationships with the people in my family of origin (FOO). I won't talk about anyone in my FOO except for myself and for myself I have to say that I am very, very sensitive when it comes to these people. And I love them.


I have been deeply hurt many times by these people and, over the years, I've worked my way up to my present situation: I have ended all relationships with all of my siblings. After Mom died I didn't feel any need or desire to remain in contact with any of them and so, with no fanfare at all, I simply slipped out of their lives. A rather long over due decision, if I may say so.

The road to that decision was loooooooong long long and painful and now, having lived with this situation for over a year, I can highly recommend it.

I miss the idea of what I'd hoped my family would and could look like and act like. But the reality simply didn't support it.



I'm HAPPY.
😄

I have not been in the situation of having to explain this decision until earlier this month when I ran into an old family friend. It felt slightly awkward to explain it when, the entire time, he was exclaiming about how I needed to stay in contact no matter what!

And my reply was DUDE, if someone tells you that, after decades of needing to make a decision, they finally make it, you DO NOT tell them to go back on themselves!

Well, he didn't get it.

And I don't care that he didn't get it.

It's me, here, living this life.
And I'm finally HAPPY.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Beginning Point. The Jumping Off Point.


A few weeks ago I did a writing exercise based on a writing challenge from another blog that I found intriguing called The Prose of an Electrate Mind written by a woman named Meredith. Meredith, a student of the humanities, is no longer blogging for her own reasons, but I found her photography compelling and her writing interesting. So, tonight, I'll check out another of the writing exercise from that 2016 writing challenge:
Our freedom can be measured by the number of things we can walk away from.
~
Vernon Howard

  • My questions would be what has give you freedom?
  • Was it from letting go of something, or from jumping into something new?

Of course, this one is perfect for me right now because I am embarking on a terrifying, exciting new journey. One that will take the very best of me. And while doing this, I'm also doing other new things, new to me anyway, and just kind of reinventing myself. (I'll say more about this in a moment.) But what's weird, if you had asked me two months ago what, if anything, was I planning on changing in my life, I would have had no idea. Weird to think of it that way.
I had no plan.



So what has given me this freedom at the age of 55?
I have, of course. My husband is always, eternally encouraging. The kids have done a fair amount of encouraging... But I think, one day, after being passed over for a fairly menial job, I got bummed, then angry, then determined. I decided that it was time to take my future into my own hands and to make a huge gesture. I decided to make it happen: I made the decision to do whatever it took to get my professional license back.

I had let the license lapse back in 2004, somewhere in the midst of children, homeschooling, carpooling, creating lessons, living a very different life from today. Somewhere in there, silently, without a second of notoriety or choice, I allowed my professional license to lapse: A GRAVE ERROR. This license takes a prohibitive amount of work to reinstate at this stage of the game. In fact, I'm not at all sure that anyone else has gone back to this profession so many years later...seemed to me that the licensing board was kind of playing it by ear a bit.  


It took me several months, several hundred dollars, about two dozen leaps of faith into unknown air, and so so so much researching to get that thing back. 
WORTH IT.

I, then, set out to find a job with a new license and absolutely nothing to show on my resume. I have been out of the field for over eighteen years. EVERY SINGLE TOP REFERENCE no longer exists, some people have died, agencies have disappeared from the surface of the earth, and I've even forgotten some people's names.
I felt pretty screwed. 
😄


I've now jumped in.
I'm now employed and working hard HARD to get myself current and prepared to work with clients.
GRRRRL, I'm stressed. I'm in a total hurricane of new information, skills, procedures, insurance apps, organizational stuff, orienting, so so much.
Who in the world saw this coming?!!!


But that's not all!
I also started volunteering for my local public radio station, our local station of NPR. It has been a freaking delight and I absolutely look forward to more chances to do this work. If you can swing it and if you like meeting people, I highly recommend it!


And, even more!
My dear friend Anna-Marie has been kind enough to take me on as a student of her hobby: stained glass! I've been working on a project that should be finished quite soon. I'm pretty terrible at it at this point, but that's not the point. I'm doing these new things!


Not only am I freaking myself out, I'm also making myself feel something I haven't felt in a long time: Personal Pride.

Personal Pride. It's exactly why I feel freedom right now.
It's the beginning point and the jumping off point.


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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Love and Pride for Elizabeth and John


Know what?

I'm freaking EXPLODING with joy and pride right now. 


My daughter is studying media and has several "on the radio" spots that she does in various places around town. Today she took her brother, my son, to one of the radio stations to record her spot. While there the station admin asked my daughter to record a few other spots while she was there.

She gestured to her brother and said "My brother is doing some voice acting; wanna give him a try?" (Because he has been looking into voice acting opportunities online and has LANDED some cool voice roles!)



So, at this very moment, my son is recording some spots for the station.

Not only did my daughter generously offer this time and opportunity to her brother, she, herself, is beaming with pride for him.


I'm freaking overwhelmed with love and pride at this moment.

ADDITIONALLY, my daughter has made some very complicated arrangements to get herself to SEOUL SOUTH KOREA this summer for an opportunity of international studies. YES, she has checked in to it, completed all requirements, and has found ways to fund nearly all of it...herself.

I'm beside myself with pride for this kid!
And for the other kid!


What are you proud of today?

 


Friday, May 10, 2019

My Emotions of Change


Last week I got a job.
Not just any job, but a cherry job.
And I got this job after being out of my field for over eighteen years!

So, after you congratulate me and feel happy for me, let me tell you how completely life-changing it has already been to be hired by this agency.

The first moment after getting the call offering me the job, I fell backwards onto my bed and danced around and felt overwhelmed in my head, like my brain was nothing but white light. A moment later I heard my husband get my message to him about it because he (working down stairs) swiped his door aside and climbed the stairs and ran down the hallway to me, finding me on my back on the bed kicking my feet in the air and laughing!  lol  😆


A few days later I nervously, and weirdly dreamlike, drove the twenty minutes down the highway to the office and attended a few group activities with clients (I'm a clinical social worker). I fell into the groups naturally and felt right at home with the interactions with clients around the table. I had a few initial moments of disbelief and white light in the head again, then a happy abandon at being a clinician in a nice agency.




I don't usually post
pics of myself,
but this is me
my first moments
at work.
☺️
Today, a bit over a week later, after reading and researching and accessing about two hundred pages of information and training and watching clinical videos, I'm sitting here at my desk in happy tears.

I'm genuinely grateful for this job. It has already changed me. I feel like this job is an opportunity for human growth and professional growth that I've never actually experienced before and that I hadn't expected at this point in my life. I see this agency and its practice framework as a truly effective and healing and coping framework for people who have had little hope before. And, the more I learn about it, the more thrilled I am that the owner of the agency saw something in me, something that made him want to offer me this job in spite of my many shortfalls.


I'll be learning a framework for practice called DBT*; DBT stands for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. It's a treatment approach that has been around in the counseling and mental health world for about twenty-five years. In fact, I was there, initially, when it came out and when the mental health agency that I worked for was first introduced to the concepts of DBT back in the 1993. 


We were shown Marcia Linehan's red and black book entitled Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder. I remember the reception that these new concepts from Linehan's book received in that agency at that time. I remember the resistance in some of the clinicians in learning DBT and I recall a few of the clinicians sounding hopeful about learning DBT to help some of the most difficult-to-treat clients. My first observations of the agency that I worked for at that time and their response to the new DBT ideas as skeptical and kind of laughing at it.

Today, I'm sitting here learning so much about DBT and feeling so very comfortable and hopeful with it. Being the parent of a child with very strong emotions, I discover that, over the years, I have been practicing some aspects of DBT just by instinct, and some by practice. 




Mostly, I want to celebrate this moment in my life.
I feel that I'm embarking on an amazing journey.


I want to remember this moment.
At this moment I am exquisitely aware of the steep, steep learning curve that I am facing with this new job. From learning the framework, to getting registered on the insurance panels for clients, to learning all of the internal parts of the agency, to figuring out exactly how to wear make up on this way-older face, I'm actually nervous af about some of this. But I know that I can manage some of these hurdles**, and get to the good part.
I have already learned so. Darn. Much. And that's just the start.


* I will explain DBT in a different post and I will link that post here but there are tons of pages to check out online if you are curious or interested.  ☺️

** Like finding the right lipstick shade...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Occupy Space!


This month I've been noticing something extremely common. People apologizing for just being. Sorry my purse is on the table. Sorry I brushed you when I passed you. Sorry for taking a moment of your time. Sorry for making a sound. Sorry for bothering you. Sorry I am a burden. Sorry for drawing our attention somehow. Sorry for disagreeing. Sorry for liking something different from you. Sorry, you probably are too busy to talk to me. Sorry, you probably don't want to really be my friend. Sorry for apologizing. Sorry for asking for the things that I want or need. Sorry for sitting here. Sorry for standing in your way. Sorry for forgetting. Sorry for remembering. Sorry for occupying this space. Sorry.
Sorry.

Some men apologize often. And women? Wow, we apologize ALOT. We apologize for our very presence sometimes.


I'm here to tell you to PLEASE TAKE UP SPACE.
Be there.
Open your mirror and put on your lipstick.

Chew your gum.
Ask for a refill.
Send back a cold meal.
Tell me about the new thing you learned.
Request better seats.
Leave all bad relationships behind.

Step forward.
Explore your world.
Experiment.

Know your rights.
Discover new interests.
Ask for the type of love and affection you desire.
Toss your coat onto the couch.
Stand up to drink your coffee.
Sit at the head of the table.
Get the sex you love.
Put your purse on the table and rummage through it.
Extend your arms to put your coat on.
Stick your legs out a bit when you sit.
Sneeze louder.
Stand anyplace you like.
Speak up.
Change your mind.
Express your values.
Tell your truth.
And just BE.


OCCUPY SPACE, My Friend.
I want you there.
I want to hear you.
I want to see you.

You are totally worthy.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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What do YOU think?


Sunday, May 5, 2019

Every Artist was First an Amateur: Ordinary Things


Several years ago found a cool blog activity, a 30-day writing challenge associated with others who love the writing of Ralph Waldo Emerson. I'm one of those people who love Emerson's writing. In fact, the quote on the masthead of my blog (now covered with a fake Post It®️ note) is by Emerson and reads: Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.
Yeah, I still love that.

Anyway, I'm going to spend some time here on my blog doing some writing exercises from that blog that I found those years ago. The blog itself is called The Prose of an Electrate Mind and it was written by a young woman named Meredith who was a student of the humanities. I enjoyed her writing explorations and her photo explorations. She has, since, discontinued blogging, but I think I'm going to return to that writing challenge a bit. I can't promise you will be entertained by it, or even excessively diverted, but I want to do some writing myself and decent and compelling writing prompts are few and far between.


I'm beginning with a very simple one that I did a bunch of years ago and I'm going to do it again...just to get started:




Every artist was first an amateur.


To be an artist one has to find beauty in ordinary things. 
Find 10 things of great beauty in the landscape that surrounds you. 
For example, crumple sheets on your bed in the morning, 
the smell of coffee making its way around a busy office.


Ordinary Things by Karen
  1. The gentlest rain falling on new, green spring leaves.
  2. Holding hands.
  3. Children dancing.
  4. One person brushing another person's hair.
  5. The contents of the basket on a bike.
  6. Learning the definition of unknown words.
  7. Tree roots.
  8. Those little spreading circles made by a drop of water.
  9. Discovering a notebook on a shelf that has other papers and things stuffed into the pages.
  10. People in their own little world as they read a book.

Your Thoughts?
Your list of ordinary things?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Friday, May 3, 2019

Atheist and Secular Therapy


Have you ever gone to see a counselor or therapist and found that you could not stomach the religion or religious-slant of the therapy and that the therapist couldn't keep their religion to themselves? And how about the clinicians that, somehow, manage to inject their New Age woo into a session... 
It's happened to me, for sure.

For many years, and still today, it is not safe or business-wise for secular or atheist professionals to out themselves as atheists because many people who refer clients are in religious-based social or community organizations and these people are highly unlikely to refer a client to a Humanist or an atheist professional. So, sadly, people looking for religion-free help are on their own. And it is a real crap shoot.


Well, MANY THANKS to Dr. Darryl Ray for starting up the Secular Therapy Project! As the founder and project leader of Secular Therapy Project, Dr. Ray went live with the Secular Therapy Project in 2012, a project designed to help clients and therapists find each other and, hopefully, to help these clients to engage in productive, life-enhancing work.
Now doesn't that sound nice?

You can support this project in three important ways:
  1. Tell any secular therapist to register with us.
  2. Tell people in the secular groups you attend about the Secular Therapy Project, blog about it or write on Facebook or Twitter about it so that people in need of these services will know where to go.
  3. Donate any amount to help them maintain and grow.

Anybody who frequents the atheist conventions have seen Dr. Ray or have even heard him speak. I, myself, have spent some quality time with him at conventions in the past. I promised myself that when I was finally able to get back into the practicing field I would promote this project as much as I could. Now that I'm employed and practicing again, this is just my first mention!  
😉