Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Last day thoughts

Today was my second "last day" at my first job out of graduate school. (First last day is a whole nother story). I have worked there on and off for the past 6 years or so. 

Working with perpetrators of domestic violence is certainly not my dream job. Nor was it a bad job. My greatest complaints had always been administration, not clientele. though there were many complaints with them as well. 

My late group, gave me feedback tonight that really got me thinking. Appreciating my growth over the past 6 years. Ways in which I am incredibly grateful for. One guy said he appreciated my directness. No non-sense approach. Willing to challenge and get to the heart if the matter without beating around the bush. I loved that feedback. I apparently don't take any crap. It was freeing to hear. 

I have struggled for most if my life with being passive aggressive. Just not being direct. Holding things in and grudges. Not saying what I am thinking/feeling. When I tried, historically I was shut down or told I was over reacting. And you know what, holding all of that in is tiring. Draining. Like you are carrying around a giant pack of thoughts and words that you are unable to release. 

This job has challenged me to do that. To find my voice and be confidant in it. I was forced to hold my ground. To still be caring and see their humanity, but also the bigger picture. Conflict is hard for me. I am prone towards avoidance. I could not do that here. 

It has taken practice. And it is still a growth area for me. Especially as I find the balance between respecting my true self and others ideas and feelings.

It has also taught me about setting boundaries. Saying no. Which is also not natural for me. I hate disappointing people. I like to be the nice guy. But I have to care for myself before I can help others properly. 

And I think without this chapter in my life I would not be heading in the direction i am. I would not be living where I am or have many of the local friends I have. And who knows what else would be different. 

And so I am thankful for the opportunity to work with a difficult population. (One I wish didn't exist, but alas they do. DV sucks). For what they have given me. And hopefully tools I have been able to give them to help create a more peaceful existence. 

Of course there were downsides. But I do not choose to focus my energies there tonight. 

I choose gratitude. And grateful I am. It's a strange journey sometimes. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Newest Adventure

I am a sucker for a good inspirational quote.

Sometimes on the right day, if caught in the right moment, such a phrase can make me weepy, or at least shed a tear. I can't help that I am a bit of a sap.

There are a few FB pages I follow that I can guarantee something that sparks my inner sap pretty regularly these days. Brene Brown. Trust Your Journey. to name a few

Brene Brown had one recently that sucker punched me. Not so much for its message, but its message being exactly where and when I needed to hear it. It goes a little something like this:

It's ironic that I'm the most afraid when I'm being brave. Vulnerability = courage.

 Man, I know that I am afraid when I feel it right in my stomach. My insides churn. Almost like indigestion. Without the food. And you know much much I love my food.

Recently I have been considering with a close friend, a career directional change. I have always known that I wanted to eventually move in this direction. But did not know when. Did not know how. For I am aware that I am young still. I am a dreamer. But I am also realistic about my lack of business sense and ineptitude with paperwork. I have the organizational skills of a blind monkey. The good news is I have great therapeutic intervention skills!

The direction is to work for myself. To go into private practice. And there are ways in which I want to continue to move with this, especially as I learn more about Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.

But to do it myself just seemed too much. Too overwhelming.

I started some questioning a couple of years ago and even started filing some paperwork to register my own business and business name. I just have let it sit for a while. And now it seems it is time to move forward with it. Learning with and having the full support of a friend and of my dear husband, who is much more excited about this opportunity then I ever thought he would be.

We just signed a lease in downtown Grayslake.

I will be a counselor in private practice.

I have more paperwork, insurance, marketing, accounting and other businessy type things to attend to. And will get there one step at a time. Including a training on how to start and maintain your own private practice. I will be attending it with my dear friend who is making the similar plunge.

In it I will continue to work 2 days a week. Just transition the current 2 day a week schedule to what the future one will be. And be an attentive mother and wife to my family. While having a satisfying career.

So. If you know anyone in Lake County who is looking for a therapist. I will have some openings. I am especially great with adults, seniors and adolescents. Caregivers. relationship issues, grief, loss, depression, anxiety, life transitions. An actual bio is in the making at my business website:

Oh and the name of my light of my love for great inspirational quotes. And my general admiration for Gandhi...

Be the Change Counseling Services PC

Because real change happens from within,

Like me on Facebook. :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Coffee shop man (we all have a story to tell)

These Monday mornings as of late, I have had a few extra minutes to grab a cup of coffee on my way to work, AKA "the abuser office" 
With these few extra minutes I have come to be greeted by a sweet older gentleman who frequents this coffee shop every morning. We chat a few minutes. Make a little small talk. Share a brief story of our week or a quick antidote. I know of his wife who is at home on oxygen and his former career and of his appointments. He has seen pictures of my son. 
Today I felt compelled to sit a minute longer. Perhaps creating a rush for myself later when it came to getting to the office. (We don't allow our clients to be one minute late. Therefore I must be held to the same standard). And in pulling up a chair he opened up and told me a story. One I had never expected in depth or content. He had me in tears

He told the story like it was last year or a few years ago. It must have still felt that raw to him. It would for me.   For he is in his 70s and spoke of his daughter when she was 22. 

He told me of how she was abducted and murdered. After going to her car to retrieve a gift for a friend. Her body found a week later. How his heart gave out on him shortly after. He was in the hospital when the trial was happening after they found the guy who did it. It literally broke his heart. 

He described what got him through it. His wife. His faith. His love for others despite tragedy. 

Can you even imagine. Without your stomach turning to mush?

As I wiped my eyes he apologized and said that he didn't mean to make me cry. I told him not to apologize but that his story was sad. I was sad for him. For his loss.  That no man should have to suffer that. That I admired his strength;his faith. His courage to open up. 

He said that he felt better telling it. That though it hurts, somehow it helps him to share his story. 

Sadly I did have to leave. After making sure we had an upswing in conversation I excused myself with a hug and a promise to pray for his wife's health and his pain. He insisted on paying for my next coffee.

All of this in the course of 10-15 minutes. 

It does not take long to connect to another human. To listen. To share a story. To give a little grace. 

My heart opened up to a little more gratitude for what and who I have. I ached to have his bravery, and maybe next time I have a need, I will share my struggles. My story. The human connection to just be there in the moment was refreshing. 

I wish I would slow down. Look around to find the hearts in my community who need an ear and who will enrich my soul. I counsel for a living. (And no story from work has touched me the way this one has in a long time)But what if we counseled each other a little.  Opened up to our insecurities and hardships. Pulled up a chair. Listened. If only for a minute.