Children pass through us.

On Children
Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

The ball is rolling: my Master’s thesis

The time has come for me to make a decision about the topic for my Master’s thesis.  I am overwhelmed.  There are so many things I would like to write this on, and maybe I am worrying too much about choosing the “right” topic versus it being “good enough.” A lot of the topics I’m interested in have already been written about in one form or another, and I am trying to remember that this is the first, but does not have to be the only, academic contribution I ever make.
Top contenders so far are :

1.) A proposal for a model of care that combines doula support and mental health support by the same provider (mental health professional and trained doula), to enhance the birth experience for mother and child, decrease risk for postpartum depression, and improve mother/child bonding in the first year, and

2.) a proposal for a curriculum model in public schools that educates and nurtures the “whole child”, based on the quote by Aristotle, “Educating the mind without educating the hear is no education at all.”

I am thinking about what I want to do with my career once I am done with school, and hoping that my thesis would provide a sort of foundation for that.  What has worked best for me in the past is to listen to my heart and what is closest to it, and I am having a hard time differentiating each of the things close to my heart, and therefore having a hard time deciding on my topic.

These are close to my heart:

children

mothers

birth

babies

parenting

treating mothers and children with love and support

Attachment Theory and bonding

Sandplay

Trauma healing

After my graduation, I potentially would like to serve as a doula while working part-time as a mental health professional, working toward full licensure.  I love birth, babies, and mothers, but what I do not like about the work of a doula is the unpredictability, the sleepless nights, and the difficulty in maintaining boundaries between personal and professional life.  I suppose I have not yet learned how to surrender to the work of a doula.

My initial vision for my thesis and for my career after graduation was to be a doula and mental health practitioner in one–providing birth support alongside mental health support for mothers, babies, and their partners.  Because of the ethical boundaries required of Marriage and Family Therapists (no dual relationships and no physical contact), it seemed a logical segue to write a thesis to propose a model of care that makes room for doula care in the scope of Marriage and Family Therapy, because it seems like a new idea and something I’d be interested in practicing.

Only, now I am not sure how far I’d like to take this doula work, because of the concerns I listed above.

What I ultimately would like to do is to have a private practice in which I work with children, individuals and families to “become whole”, or heal from trauma, by the use of Jungian Sandplay and other therapies.  “Becoming whole” is an important theme for me, and I view life through this lens.  Regardless of a person’s presenting problem of life circumstances, it is my view that each person strives simply to “be whole”, and that therein lies the answer to life’s problems.

Plenty of dissertations and theses have been written about Sandplay and trauma, so I don’t really want to write about that.  I would like to present something remotely original.

The theme of “becoming whole” could well apply to the theme of childbirth, in the sense that birth is a portal into motherhood and into earthly life, and an opportunity to enter into it together as a mother/child dyad.  The more “whole” this mother/child dyad is able to operate, the greater the likelihood of strong attachment and less likelihood of postpartum mood disorders.

Writing here gives me so much clarity.  I should do it more often.

A strange day.

I felt weird today–not the good way I’ve been feeling lately.  I am quite sure I am at a lower vibration and feeling the effects of it.  I felt down about housework and carrying more weight than is fairly mine, about my children fighting, and about our house which feels like it is closing on on me with stuff and walls.  I feel cramped and that our house is too small, and that my husband is too stubborn to budge and make a move to a bigger place.

Worst of all, I have this pain of losing my mother when I haven’t even lost her yet.  It’s like I can already feel that grief that I will feel when she is gone and I feel panicked to make the most of having her in this world.  I am sitting here thinking about how the heck a person can go on in this world without their mother?! It seems absurd! To think about living in a world without that mother love–it is utterly dark and painful.  I love my mom so much.  It’s such a deep and primal love.  And, I am remembering now that I had an energetic counseling session less than a month ago in which I strengthened my own boundaries in order to separate from my mother (in a healthy way), and maybe this is the residual effect of that.

I am also pondering my children growing older, which I do all too often, and feeling the pain of the past.  Anna is going to be 6 this year and Mia 11.  Anna’s first 5 years are almost complete, never to be repeated again.  Did I appreciate her enough? Did I give her enough? Right now, I do not think so.  It is painful to acknowledge.  And I can never, ever have a do-over.  I have to accept and forgive my shortcomings and hope to give her the best I can from here on out.  Again, maybe this is a result of the strengthening of my energetic boundaries and the healthy separation from my children.

So, I think my mood came to this place today because of lack of sleep, too much sugar, and too much gluten.  The way back up is positive thinking, gratitude, purpose, movement, and eating well–and tending to those energetic boundaries I am working on.

Here goes my gratitude:

I am grateful for my mother, that she held me and nursed me, taught me what it means to love and be loved.  I am grateful she is still in this world.

I am grateful for being a mother.  I am grateful for my children, who have made me my most vulnerable self, who have given me a deeper purpose, and who fill my life with unconditional love and joy.

I am grateful for my husband, who has been by my side through thick and thin and loves me even on my worst of days–and if we live long enough, who will love me when I am wrinkled and gray.

I am grateful for the gifts within me: a compassionate heart, a desire to better myself, a curious and open mind, and an appreciation for beauty that enriches my daily life.

I am grateful that I know how to make myself feel better without the use of any drugs or other substances, food, or money.

Thank you.

xo

Happy New Year 2015!

This New Year’s Eve, Alan, the girls and I came up with a list of our favorite memories from the year.  We ate chili with macaroni and cheese and had apple pie with spray-can whipped cream for dessert. Then we made videos of each of us being interviewed and watched a movie and stayed up till midnight.

We had various options for how to spend New Year’s Eve, and in the end, we all agreed that what we wanted most of all was to stay home and just be together, so that is what we did.

To me, this has been a deep and meaningful year.  It’s been a year of transformation and growth, in which I feel like I have entered a new chapter and version of myself that has been dormant for a long time.  My anxiety has decreased significantly, I have more confidence, and I have a clearer focus about my purpose and what I want from my life.  My health has improved significantly since my episode in October, and I feel better than I have in a very long time. And with all of this, I have started to find more enjoyment in everyday things and the ability to be in the present moment a little more than I used to.  I am grateful.

Gratitude and highlights for 2014:

Becoming a doula

Attending Milo’s birth, my first birth as a doula

Starting my first internship

Starting my second year of grad school

Crossing paths with my professional mentors John Reardon, Richard Close and Regina Driscoll

Attending a Sandplay conderence

Beginning my Sandplay training

Building my energetic boundaries

“Graduating” from Field Control Therapy, finally, after many years of working at it

A taste of inner peace

Alan and Hack putting new siding on the house

Happy and healthy children and husband

What I look forward to in 2015:

Completing my Master’s thesis

Completing my internship

Finishing my Master’s degree

Daily enjoyable exercise

Completing my photo albums from 2011-2014

Completing video transfer to DVDs

Camping trips and outdoor adventures with my family

Rewarding and harmonious relationships

Gratitude

Increasing my energetic resonance

Healthy, delicious, and budget-conscious meals every day

Enjoying a break after my graduation to spend time with my family

Healthy and happy children

Healthy and happy husband

Personal growth for me and my family

Supportive and positive community

Openness and willingness

Best wishes for happy, healthy and meaningful 2015 to all!

xoxo

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2014 in review from WordPress.com

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 42 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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.

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