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Holding and Letting Go

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I heard someone say the other day that they felt they were becoming more cynical and negative about humanity. As I do this work as a therapist facing the pain of my clients, I am reminded again, this time around, of the importance of letting go of the story of suffering that is not my own. I come home and I smudge myself with sage–symbolic perhaps, but a necessary ritual nonetheless, to acknowledge that the pain of my clients cannot become my own. I let go of the day’s work. And I say a prayer of healing. On many levels throughout the day, I carry my clients suffering with me. My clients past and present, whether I like it or not, have influenced my own story. And while for a time, I carry their story with me, there comes a time when I have to let them go or the burden becomes too heavy.

In talking to my coworkers, it was fascinating to hear how many of us do not watch the news. The news about the world that we do take in is very selective. It’s not so difficult to understand why that is. For me, there is only so much negative news I can take in. It’s not that we don’t care about world events, but the work we do requires us to also take care of ourselves and to nurture our own spirits so that we have space enough to contain the suffering of our clients–until it is time to let it go. The work we do requires that we make a point of seeking out the beauty in life and that we seek out the good in people. Otherwise it is too easy to drown in the sorrows of the world. There are many people–babies, children, teens, adults, the elderly who are suffering in this world. None of us are exempt. We all hold the light and dark within us, and we all are called to do our part in making the world more beautiful.

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How would our lives change if we filtered our lives through the lens of beauty? How would we see each other if we sought out the beauty in each other? What words would we speak to friend or foe if we spoke that which was beautiful? May we be wise enough to know what we need to hold on to and what we need to let go of.


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Summer Ennui and A Few Favorite Things

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Yesterday morning I suddenly remembered this feeling of lethargy that hit me last summer. Perhaps it’s the heat that drains me, but my desire to keep busy through the summer months wanes, and all I want to do is relax and kickback. Yesterday instead of doing the breakfast dishes, I went with Stephen and the kids on Big Red around the ranch to water the redwood, cedar, and silver linden trees we planted last fall. So far they all seem to be surviving.

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The grass is growing so tall, we are eager for the sheep to come and graze, but we’ve been waiting since April for their arrival and so far no sheep. Thankfully we had no surprise rattle snakes waiting for us in the tall grass.

 

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Zoey took this photo of Zane and me yesterday. The first shot she cut off our heads, but she managed to get us in the frame for the second. I’m all dried up and at a loss for words, so I might as well end this post with my favorite things for June. I found this new blog called Cooking With Toddlers. She has beautiful photographs and some recipes I’d like to try that look yummy. Check it out. And I’ve been listening to Brandi Carlile on Spotify, which has been giving me a little pep during these hot, summer days. May you all find ways to stay cool.


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Falling into Place

Today was one of those days where everything I fretted about in the morning as I began my work day seemed to fall into place. I didn’t have to drive a client home after our session, her mother picked her up, the session I thought I was going to be late for, the mother called and asked for a later time. All day it went–things falling into place making what might have been a stressful day turn into a day that flowed smoothly.

I am remembering as I work as a therapist that there are many times that I have to do things I dread and really don’t want to do, but I have to because it is part of my job. A metaphor for my life right now. I’d rather not change poopy diapers. I’d rather not have to bathe little ones at the end of the day when I’m bone tired and just want to take care of myself. But we all do what we must do, and if we don’t, well, I’ll see you in therapy. Perhaps it’s the Catholic in me, lessons learned through many Lents observed, that one’s character is strengthened by the trials we endure. Sometimes life hurts, but we come out the other side with our wounds and know we can do it again if we have to. I want my children to look at Stephen and me and know that we’ve tried hard, and we keep moving forward.

If life is a struggle for you today, my blessing for you is that your life will fall into place.

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The Butterfly

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Zoey found this butterfly yesterday off our  back patio in the grass. It was resting on a stick. She picked up the stick and brought it over to show me. It dropped onto the concrete patio, and I took this photograph. It was still alive, but hardly moving. My life has felt a bit delicate this month of May. Delicate and fragile. Stephen’s aunt passed away on Mother’s Day. He flew to Texas for the funeral, while the kids and I stayed here. We’ve been dancing the whirlwind of trying to keep a stable home for the kids while working out the messiness of our lives.

I am reminded again and again to treat others with gentleness and kindness because you never really know what a person is experiencing. All may seem outwardly okay, but inwardly or in one’s private life, there may be rupture and chaos ensuing. I leave you with a poem–not my own. A poem as reminder that you, too need gentleness and kindness as do I for myself. When we make mistakes and act foolishly, as we all do at some point in our life–remember this:

Encounter

I stirred in the small hours of the morning. Sensing a presence, I did not return to sleep, but ventured into the living room, apprehensively.
There, by the balcony, sat a familiar figure — cross-legged and reading in the semi-dark, with just the milky moonlight for company.
I do not know how I knew, but I did. I recognized the intruder, at once, with a mixture of dread and affection.
“I’m sorry,” were the only words to leave my lips. “I’m sorry, too,” replied my longed-for-self, with a sigh of infinite kindness and pity.
He did not rise to greet me and, somehow, spoke without words, transmitting what was needed.

Catching his glistening eye, the caring made me cry. “You’ve taken every detour to avoid me,” he gently reproached. “For every step I’ve taken towards you, you’ve taken back two”.
I did not know what to say in my defense (how could I protest against myself?) “I missed you,” he said, and feared you’d forgotten me.”
His admonishment was tender as a kiss. “I visit from time to time, and hope you’ll ask me to stay.” I knew what he said was true, and felt that way, too.
“I worried,” he continued, “if I postponed this visit, we might never meet, in this life… and so I came to sharpen your appetite.”
He rose and moved towards me. “There’s no need to speak, return to sleep. But when you rise, try to remember me. And to keep awake.”

–Yahia Lababidi, taken from http://www.onbeing.org


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My Favorite Things in April

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Friday nights at home
Wind chimes serenading us through the day
Soft small arms wrapped around my neck
Saturday afternoon naps on the bed with Zoey and Zane
Walks through the garden to check on new sprouts
Sunsets
Sunrise
Farm fresh eggs
Lester jumping on my lap to be rubbed
Sweet kisses from my beloved
Gentle yoga in the evening
Sleeping by the light of the full moon
Spotting wild turkey
Discovering new wildflowers
Hiking through tall grass
Greeting the day with a light heart

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So This is How it Feels

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It’s the beginning of the week, and I already feel like I am swimming against the current. So this is how it feels to not be able to do it all. The weekend came and it dawned on me–I have a choice. I can spend all my time doing housework because it’s the only time I have to do it, or I can spend good quality time with the kids. I’ve never been very good at juggling although I’ve tried many times.

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Some photos from our weekend. The wildflowers are in abundance on our land even though down in town they have begun to wither. IMG_1694Anyone know what those pink flowers are called?


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New Growth

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It’s amazing to me to see how plants that might not have done well last year suddenly come back with such beauty and grace. Some little bug was eating comfrey’s leaves last year that I didn’t harvest any. About two months ago (or perhaps more because I can’t really recall) little comfrey sprouts came up and I was overjoyed to see it growing again. Now look at her in the photo above. What a beauty she is. She is just starting to flower. I have a special love for comfrey. She healed my mastitis two years ago and helped get a splinter out of Zoey’s foot awhile back. She is a great healer. Underneath her Sweet Annie is growing back.

Two nights ago I was getting ready to leave the office when I started talking to a co-worker in the kitchen. She asked me if I liked plants. I said yes–that I was planning on getting a plant to bring to my office desk. She asked me because she is leaving our agency in two months time and she is the only one who remembers to water the plants around the office. She didn’t want the plants to die, and she seemed really happy to know I would water the plants after she is gone. We got into a conversation about plants and energy. I immediately recognized a kindred spirit, and I felt she thought the same of me.

I haven’t always treated plants well. There is a spider plant in our bedroom that I forget to water. I just went to water it now. But since taking Donna de Terra’s herbal class last year, I’m trying to be more aware of the living being-ness of plants. So don’t forget to water your plants today and say hello to them. Put your hands around them and see if you can feel their energy.

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