Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stranded, hungry, will work for food....

Today I was getting ready for work and on an impulse I stopped at Aldi's to pick up some Starbursts for my girls group for a meditation on mindfulness. The plan is that we take a piece of candy, hold it, smell it and eat it slowly, observing all our senses and then describing what it was like to be present in the moment...

While there I also grabbed a bag of apples... well, just because.

I thought, I don't have any apples, I like apples so I will take them along to work and bring them home later.

On my drive in I was stopped at the world's longest red light. Alone. So I sit back and try to practice mindfulness. That was when I saw him. This man walked up the ramp, put down a ragged back pack, opened a cardboard sign that said "Stranded, hungry, will work for food". He looked dejected, tired and dirty. I leaned over and opened the bag of apples, I took out one and rolled the window down, wondering how he would react. Maybe he really just wanted money and was a scam artist, maybe he would curse me, maybe he would walk away in disgust at my small offering.

He approached as he noticed my window lowering, I held out the apple. We looked into each others eyes. "Here" I said, "this is all I have."

He reached for the apple, still looking in my eyes, and said "Thank you, I haven't eaten all day, thank you so much. God Bless you." and he took a bite and smiled. He thanked me and blessed me again as he wandered back to the safety of the edge of the road. The light turned green, apple green and I drove away as he stood munching his apple.

I know now that I have never enjoyed an apple so fully without taking a single bite.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Time tripping again.

Last Saturday I met with an old friend from NYC with whom I had worked in theater.
He was in town for the SETC (South Eastern Theater Conference). He has become a guru in the lighting world and asked me to hang out at his booth on the conference floor handing out lighting swag...

So I went and it was wonderful and weird all at once.

I still remembered lighting terms despite that being several careers and a couple of decades ago.

I remembered what I loved and hated about theater and know I don't want to go back to that career. ( A reminder is very helpful every now and then!)

HOWEVER one thing that came of this reunion were wonderful memories of Charleston SC where he and I had worked together for 4 summers. It reawakened my longing to live in Charleston again. I love that city. It is probably my favorite place in the world. If I could I would move there tomorrow. Preferably living on Folly Beach and hanging out with Pat Conroy (one of my favorite writers).

Also he helped me to remember why I do what I do now. He asked a lot of questions about why I am a therapist working with at risk youth. It took me a moment to formulate the answer. I am not sure if I can explain in words the reward I receive.
Working with these kids, helping them figure out that they do have worth, do deserve respect, can be successful and most importantly can heal, is a calling. I feel like it is my vocation.

Most of all I realize it is possible to heal. I had a loving family, supportive friends and I weathered the tempest ridden teens and came out OK. I want to give these kids that opportunity as well.

One of my favorite quotes:

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.
Helen Keller

That is why I do what I do....

Success happens...

I received a wonderful call the other day. One of my kiddos called to update me after being off my caseload for over a year.

I rarely get to hear the end of the story, we are sort of a "treat and release" kind of agency....

But this kiddo called and is thriving, in college, working, and generally doing great.
She has even started living her dream of working with animals and is on staff at a facility which I cannot name due to confidentiality but it was her dream to work there and she is!!!

Sometimes they succeed and we get to hear about it. Sometimes the kiddos heal and come out stronger than ever. Sometimes I am so grateful for my job and the people I get to meet. Their success is my success and I grow hopeful that maybe I played a small part.

I want to believe that I can make a positive difference in the world. But after hearing from her, I realized SHE mad a positive difference in MY world.

Life is good.

Just a number...

So this year I turned 50. And FREAKED out. I have never really had a problem with aging or getting older, but for some reason the number 50 has totally freaked me out. I figure I have exceeded the halfway point of my life. There is more lived than left to live.
I have been doing all the psychological mind games to divert my attention.
Such as: when my mother was 50 I was 12 years old. I had been a daughter in law for a year when my Mum in law turned 50. I was 18 years away from being born when my Dad was 50.

None of it really helped. I still resent the number...

A couple of funny things occurred in the week of my birth though.
I received an application for AARP AND free samples of *female hygiene* products for "young active women" HA!

Also my friend Alexine (Me) from the vet clinic sent me this conversation she had with my old friend Rossum...

Me: Every time I shave a cat's butt, I think of Martha!
Dr. Ross: Ha! Why?
Me: Cuz she's always shaving butts! And she taught me how! Oh, wow, you know what? Martha is turning FIFTY tomorrow!
Dr. Ross: She is NOT turning fifty!
Me: Uh, yeah she is. It's her birthday tomorrow.
Dr. Ross: *sighs like... I am a moron* That may be, but she is NOT FIFTY.
Me: So.... why would she say that is???? SHE TOLD ME SHE WAS TURNING FIFTY!
Dr. Ross: She told you that because she IS turning fifty! I am 44 and she is six years older than me. But that doesn't mean she is fifty, because she ISN'T!
Me: Um, ok.

That made my week. My age chronologically may be 50, but I am still younger than that mentally! So there!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

In honor of the Olympic athletes... Thanks Bob Dylan

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

Bob Dylan