Winter solstice and inner peace.

Tonight, the Northern hemisphere will experience the longest night of the year.  The metaphor of going into the darkness and coming into more light each day is something I like to reflect on each year.  This is a turning point.  We are closer to spring, closer to light, and closer to a new year.

And, since I love astrology, let me share what is going on today, astrologically speaking:

New moon in Capricorn and sun enters Capricorn:

“The Sun’s entrance into this earthy sign marks the Winter Solstice. Then, only two hours later, a new Moon in Capricorn brings a fresh start! During this magical day, reflect on where you’ve been and where you’re headed. Do you know what you’d like to achieve in the year ahead? Just like the mountain goat that is Capricorn’s own symbol, set your sights high as you put together a step-by-step plan. No matter which metaphorical peak you’d like to climb, if you take the first step, you’ll be amazed at what you’ll be able to achieve by the time the Sun leaves Capricorn and enters Aquarius on January 20!”

From Astrology.com

There is change and a new beginning happening.  I had an amazing experience last week that I want to write here so I remember it.

I couldn’t put my finger on how or why I felt different, until I went last week for my checkup with Steve Tonsager of Flowing Rivers Acupuncture.  He practices Field Control Therapy, which is a kind of energetic analysis and treatment of the body (which is an energy field).  He is able to detect our state of being, or what our energetic resonance is.

I have been going to see Steve at his clinic for probably 7 years.  Each time I have gone, I have not felt well emotionally, and sometimes I have not felt well physically.

This time I felt well.  And he told me that before I had a chance to say so.

When I laid down on the table and he checked me, he said “You are feeling pretty good, aren’t you?”

And for the first time in 7 years of going there 2-4 times per year, I did not have anything “wrong with me”.  I did not need a single vial (this is what he gives for his treatments–they are vials of drop you put under your tongue).  I cried.  It was monumental.

He told me my resonance has changed.  Since he’s been treating me, I have been in the resonance of suffering and the resonance of the ego.  And I’ve shifted.  I am now in the space of willingness and openness.  It is the place where growth happens.

That moment with Steve was a turning point.  I am so grateful.  I am so grateful to him and all of the help he’s given me over the years.  I am grateful to God and the Universe for the guidance I have been given to find my way out of the suffering and into this new place.

I should also write that I had two appointments with an intuitive energy therapist named Michele Mayama the week before seeing Steve.  It was incredible, and I am quite certain those sessions helped me solidify this new place I am in, with new boundaries and a stronger sense of self.

I have less anxiety and fear where I am now.  I have a greater ability to live in the moment and enjoy what I experience through my senses.  My senses are not clouded over by racing thoughts.  I have more faith that things will work out.  I have faith that I can handle my life.  As a result, my digestion has been quite good and I’ve hardly needed to take any digestive enzymes.  I have a great deal more energy.  I am sleeping and falling asleep better than before.  My teeth are far less sensitive.  I feel very little inner turmoil about the past, about my religion, and about what others think of me.  I talk in front of a group. It’s quite nice here.

I am starting to experience firsthand what Louise Hay has been saying all along, and also what Alfred Adler said so many years ago: we create our own problems and we are our own solution. It also makes me think of the verse in the Bible that tells us that all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed.  Anything is possible.

Being in a non-suffering state, I am emitting an energy field that is more positive than it has been before.  I will be able to have a more positive affect on those around me and especially those who live with me.  I want to keep that going.  I want to be positive.  And, this is the place I want to be as a therapist, for my clients.  In a clearer place where I am not distracted by mistaken beliefs and where a healing space can exist.

***

So, I have been seeing couples and families at my internship.   I love the work.  I especially love the family work.  I feel so grateful to have this opportunity to experience the kind of work I’m doing there, and I am grateful for my increasing ability to enter sessions with a clear head and open heart.

I have lost patience with my children’s fighting and with the general sense that I am responsible for most of the housework.  I feel much better about it now than I did before because I no longer take it personally, as if they didn’t love or appreciate me.  Now I see that I take more responsibility both by default and by choice, and I am now taking responsibility for encouraging them to crank it up a notch.  Sometimes I am not very nice about it, and I regret that.  When my kids fight, I get angry and shameful a lot of the time.  I regret that, too.  And unlike before, I do not feel like a “bad person” because of what I have done–and I still have the desire to change and improve upon it.

***

In honor os winter solstice and the new moon and sun in Capricorn, this is what I would like to open up my life to in the coming year:

Fun and life enjoyment

Laughter, joy and silliness

Daily yoga and walking outside

Inner peace and gratitude

Harmonious children and family

Healthy and enjoyable foods

Satisfying work

Personal growth

Becoming an effective therapist

Completing my master’s paper before it’s due date

Graduating with my MA in the fall of 2015

Deepening my Sandplay practice/learning

Energy medicine and mental health practice/learning

Deepen my spirituality

Financial growth and stability

Satisfaction with relationships

Being on the path to opening my own practice to welcome families, mothers, pregnant women, babies and children, adolescents, trauma healing, birth, and Sandplay, in a studio space attached to my home that is convenient for me and is a beautiful, light-filled space with good energy.

Unconditional love.

Happy Solstice, everyone!  Thank you for reading my blog.  I am grateful for you, too.

xo

my Gemini mind on benzos

A Gemini is a person of duality.  We have two sides to ourselves.  We can be frickin nuts or frickin brilliant.

So, it makes perfect sense that I would love to own a duplex, right?

I love the idea of two separate living spaces, and the option to use one or the other and to move back and forth.  I love the idea of having one of the spaces be my office for my therapy work.  The concept feels so at home to me, because metaphorically, this is how I already operate within my own private world.

Of course, to even get to that office for therapy work, I have to actually 1. complete my internships and get appropriate hours 2. complete my coursework 4. write a thesis and pass oral exam and 4. get hired by someone and get licensed.  So I am a little ahead of myself, but that’s how I roll.  I live in the future and a little in the past, and often forget to stop and smell the roses.  But there are plenty of roses around here.

The roses I have to stop and smell more often are:

My husband

My kids

My cute yellow house with a red mailbox and a blue door

My cat, Jezebel

The many awesome people in my life who are also sometimes fricken nuts or fricken brilliant

And, I wrote this post while under the influence of a prescription benzodiazepine and feeling a bit loopy.  We will see what I think of that in the morning.

Good and crappy.

Anna is sick.  Again.  She has been sick on and off for 4 weeks with fever and bronchitis.  Mia and Alan had it but are all better now.  Anna is still fighting it.

My anxiety goes through the roof when my kids are sick, and even when my husband is sick. I panic sometimes.  In fact, tonight I took an Ativan, which I try to rarely do, to get myself back together.  It is hard to give a sick child loving attention when you are a nervous wreck.

What I am afraid of is losing her.  My mind goes right to the worst case scenario and I lose sight of all objectivity.  Right now it is just bronchitis, but what if it becomes more than that?

I am  overwhelmed right now, but in a manageable way.  I will keep walking the walk.  Marriage, children, managing a household, interning, kid in Kindergarten, grad school–all those things cause stress for me.  And probably for most people.  Now, how to manage that without losing myself or driving my husband away–that’s what I need to figure out.

Thoughts on the power of compassion.

First, this is what I am listening to right now.  It is beautiful.

Before writing here, I was reading my latest Family Therapy journal issue.  A section caught my eye, and seems deeply relevant in both my own life and beyond:

Compassion means seeing and responding to suffering.  Without it, people become self-focused and egocentric, and relationships suffer from a lack of caring and forgiveness.”

Wallace, L. (2014). Family Therapy and the Science of Compassion. Family Therapy, 13(5), p.33.

This view of compassion speaks to Alfred Adler’s notion of “social interest” or Gemeinschaftsgefühl, in Adler’s native German tongue. Gemeinschaftsgefühl expresses a concern for one’s community and having positive regard for those around us.

Adler viewed social interest or Gemeinschaftsgefühl as a barometer of mental health.  In other words, we can determine out own level of mental health and the mental health of others simply by assessing our levels of compassion and interest in the well-being of ourselves and others.  The more a community exhibits social interest, the healthier the community and its individuals tend to be.

I am intrigued by this notion, partly because of how simple it makes to assess clients and myself on a daily basis. I am intrigued, also, because of my Danish heritage and of Denmark’s incredible display of social interest.  Studies on happiness have found Denmark to be among the happiest countries in the developed world, and the United States among the least happy. There is more to be read about this here.

Denmark is built upon a system of caring for others and from sharing from a communal pot (filled up with tax dollars), and all people are cared for in terms of education, health care, pension, and elder care.  Whether rich or poor, whether working for a good company or not, all people who have lived in Denmark for more than two weeks receive these benefits.  In Denmark, a person will never go bankrupt because of an illness or be without care or pension in the elder years.

The United States is a bit different, as those of us who live here are well aware.  One could say that social interest in the United States is spotty, or that evidence of it is not consistently planted within our societal framework.  Individual liberty is valued over the well-being of the whole.

Just some things I am thinking of today.

On embracing imperfection.

A foundational aspect of the work of Alfred Adler, after whom my graduate school was founded, is “the courage to be imperfect.”

The courage to be imperfect constitutes a healthy mindset and allows for good mental health, social interest, and meeting the demands of life.  These are all indicators of how a person is doing in his/her life.

I am working on this.  I’ve been a perfectionist as long as I can remember.  I am not proofreading my blog posts the way I used to.  If I notice a mistake after I’ve posted it, I leave it.  This is not a professional site that needs to be perfect.  So it’s ok.

It feels good to embrace imperfection.  So much pressure is removed.  I am imperfect, so what do I have to hide?

I am reading “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown.  It was recommended to me by several different people, so I took that as a message from the universe and started reading it.

On feeling secure and being loved.

I am in a pretty good and secure place now.  My family has had a long stint of illness  this fall; the girls and Alan have had bronchitis over the last 2 weeks, and I have been well.  It’s been tiring to care for everyone but somehow I’ve managed and have met the demands of school and internship without having any major breakdowns.  I am beginning to think that I am capable of handling this thing called life, even when it throws in the unexpected.

I am also beginning to see how many people have my back.  I have had so much support over the last month, from being cared for when I was sick, to receiving words and gestures of love and support from friends, to my school being super supportive about my absences and letting me make it up, to my internship giving me the space I need to care for myself and my family–and no hard feelings or guilt involved.  I think there was an important lesson for me to learn here:

I am taken care of.  I matter.

I really, really like my work as a therapist at Park Avenue Center.  Now that I am doing individual and couples counseling as an MFT student, and no longer doing the LADC work–I just love it.  I know this is what I am called to do, and it makes me feel settled and secure.  I feel like I am contributing and no longer a burden to the center.  I know how to do a lot of things now.  I love working with the clientele at the center I am at. They need this and they appreciate it so much.  I don’t even have to be good for them to appreciate it; I just have to be present and listen to them.  Which is good, because I am nowhere near being a good therapist–but thankfully I am able to listen and genuinely care, and sometimes that is all they need.

Sometimes I feel self-conscious about this blog and how it’s “all about ME.”  It’s kind of self-absorbed.  And then again, it’s the place I can sort out all of these things I need to sort out so I can figure out my life and myself.  It’s healing and rejuvenating.  I do care a lot about other people, not just about myself.  I also know that I have to know myself and love myself first in order to be my best self.  My blog helps me with that, I guess.

I have been really crabby at home lately.  Really anxious and controlling.  I think it has to do with feeling out of control in many ways, and that my home is a place I can express some form of control.  I want my house neat and clean.  It is soothing to me and allows me to focus.  I wish my family felt the same.  They don’t.  I am still the house manager like I’ve always been, only more crabby and demanding. I’ve also felt confused in my marriage and what is ok to expect and what is not.  This goes back to my “boundaries” work I’ve been doing for a while.  It’s a new layer.  I don’t know what is ok to expect, and what belongs to me and what belongs to him.

The Sandplay training I am working on is going well, and I still feel very drawn to continuing and using it in my future as a therapist.  I think I want to eventually have a private practice with a specialty in healing childhood trauma through the use of Sandplay and other modalities.  That is what gets me excited about my future.  I think I am becoming more drawn to working with children.

Alan and I want to buy a piece of land somewhere in WI or MN.  Private and secluded, somewhere we can have a family getaway and build an off-grid cabin someday.  I think we can actually make it a reality someday soon.  It is really, really exciting and I think about it every day.  We hope it will be quiet, have some water access, either on the land or close by.  We’d like a chunk about 20-40 acres.  Maybe we could even live there someday if it would work for our careers.  We both love the country.  We also want a city close enough, especially one with a co-op so we can get our healthy groceries.  The Superior area is looking rather good right now.

Anna is not super happy about Kindergarten anymore.  We’re trying to talk about it a lot and help her with coping skills, and it seems to be helping somewhat.  We’re encouraging her to make the best of it and remember it is over in 6 months.  After that, I think I’d like to do ome school her for a year.  We could all use a respite from the craziness of this year.  It sure would be nice.

The other night, Anna wanted to snuggle me in my office chair.  I thought about how it was hard to get the space I needed to do the work.  But how could I resist? Then I picked her up and snuggled her.  She melted into me and I could just feel her love.  I felt how wonderful it was to have this being whom I so deeply love, right there close to my heart, loving me right back–while I do my work.  What a blessing. I love her so much. She is such a gift.

Having children is such a healing experience.  I have been thinking of that since that moment in the office chair.  For those of us who did not feel loved as children, or who felt loved only conditionally, having this unconditional love to give and to receive with our own children is such an incredible gift.  Yes, it is time-consuming and sometimes stressful to have children, and it opens us up and heals us in the most incredible ways, which makes that work and stress melt away.  I am so grateful to be a mother.  It’s such a beautiful thing.  It’s such a beautiful thing to love and be loved unconditionally.

So much better.

Mercury retrograde is over, but doesn’t go completely direct until November 9th.  Still, I can feel the weight being lifted.  This was the hardest Mercury retrograde period I’ve had in a long time.

Along with having pneumonia and being the most sick I’ve ever been in my life, (except for when I was sick with morning sickness, which is a different kind of sick), I had a mental breakdown and felt super crappy emotionally for the duration of my illness.

It was all for the better, as struggles usually are.  We can learn so much when we are ripped open and exposed like that.  What I learned is that I had to make a decision about my schooling and internship to make it in line with what I want and what makes me happy.  In light of this, I decided to drop the LADC portion of my training and internship, which will shorten my time to graduation, make my internship shorter and less demanding, and overall make me happier–because I have also learned that I never want to work as an LADC, even for one day.  The paperwork and government oversight is enough to make me go bananas.  So, I am going for my LMFT, and working toward my goal of being a creative therapist with freedom to choose my clients and how I work with them.

I also realized that I need to get my anxiety under control.  My stress-coping skills are lacking, and when life throws me lemons I get so stressed out that I make myself really sick.  I had two panic attacks along with my pneumonia, and ended up taking Ativan for one of them.  It helped a lot, but I am not a “Band-Aid” kind of person.  So I know what I need to work on.  I need to be able to do what I need to do, manage my life, without becoming a nervous wreck who makes myself and everyone around me miserable.

I was raised in fear.  My parents still perpetuate fear and extremism every time we are together.  It’s fine for them to be who they are, but I have blindly adopted the fear-based mentality that I was raised with.  It’s time for me to change that now.  I don’t want to live like that.  I want to live believing the BEST will happen, rather than the worst.  And I want to live believing that IF the worst were to happen, which it still has not ever happened in my entire life, that I CAN COPE WITH IT.

So, today I have more energy, physically and mentally, than I’ve had for weeks.  It’s great.  I wrote out our new budget and am planning to make something yummy to eat.  Ginger carrot soup, maybe.  Pumpkin cranberry muffins.  It’s nice to be feeling better.

I have class all day Saturday, and my instructor has been so kind to me about missing all the class I’ve missed.  He’s allowing me to make it all up and take an extension.  It stresses me out a bit, but I am working hard to choose to be grateful for the opportunity and trust that I can get it done.

I’m going back to my internship next week.  I feel nervous, of course, but again, am working on trusting that I CAN handle it and do well there.  I can take care of myself AND help others.  I can be a therapist AND a mom, at the same time.

xo

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