Wednesday, July 22, 2009

3 for today

Today I am grateful for family. Having a family who sticks with me no matter what is my greatest blessing.

I know because I work with broken, wounded, failing families daily. I see what happens when bitterness strikes and chasms open forcing families to fall apart.

So I am very grateful for my family that sustains me and pulls together across the miles to help each other.

I am grateful for my job. In the world where people are losing jobs daily, still searching for a job or in fear of losing their job, I have a job I love. Although it is hard and stressful and exhausting, there are some victories and some days I actually make a difference. Plus I get paid. That helps too,

I am grateful for rain. It rained today, and the world became softer, quieter, calmer.

All in all, I am grateful for these things and more.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Turkey Buzzards

Carrying two dead raccoons, a buzzard tries to check in at LAX for the red-eye to New York. "Sorry, sir," says the ticket agent. "We allow only one item of carrion."

I had a revelation the other day. The hubster and I were talking about life and stuff. I decided that if I could be reincarnated I would come back as a buzzard. I know it seems an odd and even disgusting thought. These are ugly birds who eat dead, decaying road kill. They are the garbagemen of the natural world.

But ever since I can remember I have been fascinated by their ability to glide above the earth endlessly. One hardly ever sees them flap their wings, flying hard to stay aloft or evade a pursuer. No other bird pursues a buzzard.

Instead they find a wind current and circle. Gliding in wide circles, riding the wind, looking down on the earth, free and worry free. They know there will be food, for everything dies and eventually they will find it. They are buzzards so they don't care that they eat dead stuff, they don't care they are ugly by bird standards. Buzzards are strong, confident and self sufficient. They have few enemies. No one hunts them for annual Thanksgiving dinner or for taxidermic display. They are not prize winning trophy birds. They serve an essential purpose in life. Their job is not glamourous but it is necessary. They are the servants of the bird world. In a way theirs is a holy vocation. Caring for the remains of the dead. They perform it respectfully, they stay until the job is done. They don't give up. They are steadfast and dependable. They are honest in who they are. They don't wear excessive plumage or pretend to be anything but what they are.

These are qualities that I admire and aspire to. Except the flesh eating roadkill part.

However I see their inner beauty, I admire their grace and ability to glide. For me returning as a buzzard would not be such a bad deal...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Body slams and blessings

Bad things do happen; how I respond defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have - life itself.-Walter Anderson

I talked today with my therapist about loss and grief.
(Yes, the therapist has a therapist. I am learning how to care for myself so that I may care for others.)

I realized I have been sitting too long in sadness. Mired down in my own fears and fighting with ghosts of things that may never happen...
I finally am sick of me.

So I took Jake to the dog park. There is nothing more healing than watching puppies, teenpups and old hounds run and leap and pounce.
Animals take joy in the moment. They live only in the present. They don't worry where the food will be, where they will sleep, what the other dogs think of them. They just exist, live, rejoice in the moment.

I was pounced on a lot. There is something about me that invites jumping on and drool.
Even the most well behaved dog will forget all training and pounce me, slathering me with drool and spittle whilst the owner cries out, "Down, get down! I don't know why he is doing that~! He NEVER does that!!!"
I don't mind in the least. In fact I think they know I need a bit of pouncing love right now. That I need life and happiness body slammed into my heart again. I think the dogs are trying to knock the sadness out of my bones and soul...

Animals are healers. They can sense pain. They can tell who loves them, who hates them and who is most allergic!

My therapist gave me an order. Everyday I must find 3 things for which I am grateful.
Today I am grateful for dogs, wounded children who share their souls, and my family who loves and sustains me, the forever baby sister, even though my hair is graying and my face is wrinkling. I am blessed.

Cautiously hopeful

Today I had 2 good sessions w/ clients. Two teenagers who don't really open up, opened up and talked with me and I listened and then listened some more. It feels incredible to be the one they choose to trust. I am honored and humbled every time one of them takes the chance and talks to me as their therapist.
These kids have absolutely no reason to trust me. I am a stranger walking into their lives asking them to spill secrets even they don't know they have. I am just another adult who could let them down. Another adult who will promise but not follow through. In their world social workers are the people who show up with the police and cram all their belongings into trash bags and tear them away from the only home they know. It doesn't matter if that home is filthy and lacking basic necessities, it is still home. It is what they know.

Yet, sometimes they talk. They look me in the eye and tell me stuff. Some horrible things. Some not so bad things. Sometimes beautiful things. They drop the mask and I see their hearts. Wounded, broken, aching, tender baby hearts that long to take a chance and hope again. Hearts that need to be healed. Hearts that want to know love.

How can anyone look upon these children and not be honored? Not be humbled? I am given so much more than I can ever give...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

small graces, minor miracles

OK I am trying to regain my balance after a topsy turvy weepy day.... I took a hard fall yesterday and felt pretty shattered. But I got up today and got on with life again.

Today was peer review, I sat w/ 3 senior clinicians and the clinical director who all admitted they were struggling with the job too. That they feel hopeless at times, helpless, unable to make a difference too. We talked about the traumatized children and adults we see, how it affects our view of the world, how we get burned out quickly.
These are some of my most respected colleagues and I appreciate their honesty and willingness to admit to being vulnerable. It helps as a junior clinician to realize the "pros" are going through the same stuff and its not me, but the nature of the beast.

Still I have to find a balance. Between life with the insane and sane. I forget there is wonder in the world. That even in the harsh and wounded world that there must be beauty somewhere. That there is still innocence and integrity. Hope and love.

My family has been great lately, holding me up from miles away. Friends have checked in and been supportive.

And God had been answering prayers. Little by little. I am starting to come back. Starting to heal.

I am trying to live in the moment, stay in the present. Trying not to live in the what ifs...

Its hard to keep fear away, but I am finding if I wrap myself in my family's love, I can beat the anxiety and the fear that is trying to wear me down.

Thanks y'all.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Things are not people

I am learning life lesson # 2009 over and over again. Things are not people...
I have been clearing out my house, giving stuff away, tossing some things that are beyond anyone wanting them.
But there are a few items I have held on to for many years. Dishes, clothes, remembrances of happier times and beloved friends and family.

I am trying very hard to be spiritual and consider it all just material possessions and let go of my attachment.

But today Jake went on one of his wild puppy rampages, I heard MO the cat screeching and then thudding and glass breaking. My first thought was that Mo was dead, shaken like a toy by an unwitting puppy. But no he was fine, just angry. However my favorite lamp of my parents lay shattered in pieces on the floor.

I lost it, totally broke down and cried. This is the lamp I remember from every home I have ever lived in, the lamp that was the one beautiful thing we owned. The lamp I had a serious attachment to beyond any sane rational person...

I know its just a lamp, but after all the dark days and all the trouble and the sadness we have experienced lately, this was the last straw. I started crying and couldn't stop. It felt like my life had shattered and broken and I had lost my parents all over again when I stood staring at the broken pieces of china on the floor.

I know the lamp is not my parents, not my family, not even a thing of great monetary value. In the scheme of things I am glad it was broken instead of the cat.
But still, it feels like my life is shattering into irreparable pieces every day. I feel that I have no control and everyday brings a new loss of some material object. I know my soul/spirit is experiencing growing pains but I am tired of being sad. I am tired of losing stuff. I want to stabilize my world...