Posts Tagged ‘growth’

Fingerprints of God

June 8, 2018

If I look closely I can see them.

They are there in the unexpected places, incidents, life re-arrangements.

The “oh my God I feel in love” moment.

“We don’t choose who we fall in love with,” my boss said to me today.

It’s inevitable.

Or.

I think of all the things in my life that seemed inconceivable and then what happened when I walked through them.

I think about my boyfriend of five years when I finally broke up with him and how he hit me and how I ran away into the night.

In January.

In Wisconsin.

In a nightgown.

Without socks on.

I ran to the Sentry Food Store on East Washington and used the payphone outside the grocery store to call the police.

I remember how the sound of his car turning onto East Washington tumbled into my ears as he went out into the night to find me, driving right along the road in front of me but not seeing me squashed into the phone booth.

I remember huddling in that phone booth, panicked and scared and crying on the phone with the operator.

That needed to happen for me to get out of that relationship.

That had the fingerprints of God all over it.

And I’m grateful for it, in my own way, I learned a lot, I learned how resilient I was and I learned how to better take care of myself.

I also learned how I act when I am in fear.

I have made decisions based on self and I have stepped on the toes of others, they have retaliated.

I decided to live where I am now because I thought it was a better fit for me than the other house that was on offer.

Sometimes I wonder how that would have worked out.

I would be living in the Bayview and paying much less rent.

Would I have the same jobs, relationships, friendships, fellowship?

I have no idea.

I made a decision to move here though it was double the rent I would have paid at the place in Bayview because I wanted to live by myself.

And I thought this place was nicer.

I am sure that house is lovely now, but at the time it was under a major reconstruction and I would have been in the middle of it.

Yes.

Paying $500 a month rent, but in the middle of a demolition and rebuild.

So I picked the more expensive and I moved in here.

And here’s where I acted in fear, here’s where I have realized in the last day what is my part.

I made a decision based on fear.

When the landlady didn’t offer me a receipt for the deposit.

I didn’t say anything, but man it felt funny.

But hey, look at my place, it’s great, and it’s all mine.

When the landlady didn’t give me a lease to sign, I didn’t say anything either, though that felt really weird to.

But I stuffed that feeling down.

And every month, every freaking month, I have wondered, is the shoe going to drop, is she going to raise the rent, is she going to do something, am I ok?

And every month she would cash my check and I would feel a little relief for a little while.

I realize, or I have completely admitted to myself and to another, that I have been under this yoke of fear ever since I moved in and there was no lease to sign and there was no receipt made for the deposit.

The only thing that was said, in regards to the deposit, was that it would be put into a bank account where it would accrue interest, which I would get back when I moved out and please give at least 30 days notice when I decided to move.

Sure.

And I didn’t ask for the lease.

I didn’t.

I didn’t want to make waves.

I didn’t want to be pushy.

I should have and now I’m getting to repair that and try to do the right thing now.

Which as uncomfortable as it is, is showing up and walking through the discomfort of the situation.

It’s like walking up a steep hill.

I don’t want to do it, but I bet the view will be amazing when I do the work to get there.

I had some council last night and I found out that I do actually have a lease!

In legal terms it’s called a “de facto contract.”

Which means that every time my landlady cashed one of my checks she was acknowledging that I was paying rent for the in-law.

What a huge relief to hear that.

I got a lot of sound advice and some next directions and I was told, once again, that she doesn’t have just cause to ask me to leave and a verbal notice to vacate is not legal.

I was told to keep paying the rent.

So.

I’m going to keep paying the rent and see what happens next.

I’m sure something will happen.

I was also told to watch for whether or not my checks were getting cashed.

What do you know.

My rent check for June, that I gave to my landlady on May 25th, has not been cashed.

I will most certainly not be foolish enough to touch that money in my account, it stays put and all other monies that would be directed towards rent shall also stay put.

It’s going to be ok.

I tell myself this again and again.

I am being taken care of.

Focus on solution.

I did that today, I went to hang with my fellows after seeing my client tonight instead of coming home, even though I am working early tomorrow.

I have to focus on the solution rather than the problem.

For me that solution is spiritual.

And when I heard that God’s fingerprints are on those big things that happen out of the blue, when you’re least expecting it, well, it fucking resonated.

There is beauty here if I allow myself the discomfort of the unknown.

There is opportunity.

There is growth.

Therefor.

There is gratitude.

So yeah.

My landlady went on my gratitude list this morning.

And she will everyday until this has been resolved.

I am grateful for this opportunity to learn and to grow.

Seriously.

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No More Tears

June 5, 2018

What a freaking relief.

Yesterday, last night I should say, because technically yesterday was a vale of tears from morning until about 6:30p.m. when I had to pull it together to take care of my Sunday night commitment, was the first night since my landlady gave me notice that I did not cry myself to sleep.

And!

Oh.

So good.

This morning too, no tears!

I did a lot of work yesterday, and throughout the week when I think about it, to get through the fear.

A lot of self talk, a lot of letting the tears happen when they did.

Granted.

I did holler a couple of times, “stop, just stop.”

But.

For the most part, they just kept on coming.

Yesterday was by far the worst day of it.

Of course, it was pointed out to me later that I had actually time to stop and have the feelings, I have been a busy lady and not being able to do much sitting still when I did have the chance to the emotions just ran away with the house.

I cried a lot.

But.

I think it moved things along and by the time I met with my person up at Firewood Cafe I was almost cried out.

Almost.

I still cried for the first half hour or so and then I slowly started to get relief.

And perspective.

And that it was more than just the threat of losing my place, it was also the past few weeks of busy and go, go, go, graduate, and hang out with my mom, and get all my paperwork turned in so I am really done with school, and have an endoscopy, and maybe I have cancer, but probably not, but maybe, and having to terminate with a client and all sorts of stuff, it was all the things.

All the things needed to have a word with me and then did so in a grand sweeping emotional way.

I seriously thought a few times that I was hormonal, I never cry like this for this long, unless really depressed, but then I’d still be crying and that crying is a different kind then what I was doing.

The crying I was doing was all fear based.

Not so much sadness based.

Fear based and anger based.

I have had some angry moments, let me tell you.

But it got worked out and the more I talked, cried, muddled through, the easier it seemed to be until by the time I walked into the basement of Most Holy Redeemer to take care of my Sunday night gig I was almost wholly myself.

And then!

Oh.

My old friend from my early days in recovery came prancing into the room with another dear friend and it was so good to connect and reconnect and catch up.

She’s been living in London for the last seven years, New York before that, and it was her first time back to SF in ten years.

I mean.

It was good to see her.

And hear her.

And then go out and hang out afterwards with all the friends and people and go to La Meditereanee and have some good food and laugh and get perspective.

I also heard so much advocacy for me getting to be taken care of and that there is abundance and that I do deserve it.

I sometimes forget that.

All the time.

That I am allowed to embrace abundance.

So.

My attitude changed and I began to see this whole thing as an enormous gift.

Oh.

Like many gifts I have received I did not like the wrapping paper it came in, and I have wanted to give it back, but there it is, in my lap, begging to be opened, to be revealed.

More will be revealed.

There’s always more to learn.

I get to take this situation as an opportunity to grow and to manifest what I want in a living situation.

I also get to take this as a chance to let my voice be heard, to not be run over by the circumstances, to advocate for my rights.

I listened again to the voicemail of the woman from the SF Tenant’s Union who reached out to me the day prior to my going in to the drop in session and was assuaged again to hear that what is happening is not legal and I have loads of rights.

She reiterated a bunch of them and I found comfort in that.

I know my rights and I get to speak up for myself.

Not something I have always done.

Not something that I am great at.

But fuck, what an opportunity to learn.

So.

I’m going to get to learn about something new and in the process I will find a new place to live and it will be done with grace and dignity.

At least on my part.

My part is all I’m responsible for anyway.

Speaking of my part.

And taking responsibility.

I have filled out my BBS (Behavioral Board of Science) application for my AMFT#!

Yesterday I got passport photos taken so that I can turn in a recent photo to the BBS.

All I need to do now is get LiveScanned fingerprinting done.

I will be doing that on Wednesday.

The hope is to have it all taken care of and ready to send into the BBS by Saturday.

It was strongly suggested that I send it in registered mail and insure it and track it and make sure it gets signed for.

So a trip to the post office before my internship on Saturday.

It’s a really exciting thing.

Once the BBS gives me my AMFT# I will officially be able to take payment for my therapy sessions.

At which point I will be transitioning from my current internship to my private practice internship.

I am really excited.

It feels so nice to have positive, forward motion actions happening.

And though I do not know how long this hallway of uncertainty is in regards to where I live next.

I do believe.

With all my heart.

That is will be fucking fabulous.

Seriously.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

February 3, 2018

The Nourse Theater in Hayes Valley.

COMMENCEMENT!

The date is set, the place has been set, now I just need to get through the next four months of school.

My God.

It is actually going to happen.

I am going to graduate in May!

I’ve never been to the Nourse Theater, but it looks lovely.

I had, for some reason, thought it would be at the Palace of Fine Arts, I seemed to recall having seen photos from a previous cohort’s graduation, but it’s not there and though I love the Palace, I’m happy the commencement ceremonies will be held close to my school.

It feels right somehow.

I’ve a few ideas for what I want to do to celebrate, definitely toss the hat up into the air.

Which reminds me I think I’m going to have to purchase a cap and gown.

An expense I really don’t fucking want to deal with since well I’ll only be wearing it once, but I don’t believe the school rents them.

What I have heard from a few people in my group supervision at my internship, is that folks from previous cohorts may lend them out.

Unfortunately both the people in my group supervision who graduated last year from my same program are a lot shorter than me.

Like, a lot, I wouldn’t be able to fit in a cap and gown that either of them wore.

I’ll suck it up, just one more expense that I wasn’t counting on when I applied to the program.

Like the $5,000 I will have spent on a licenced therapist while I’m in the program.

I love my therapist though, she’s great, also a graduate from the same program that I am in, and I do get her sliding scale fee, $120 an hour, since she knows I’m a student and my school requires that I see a licenced MFT while I’m in practicum.

At first it was really hard to think about spending that kind of money once a week, but having been with her now for 33 sessions, I track them on my Track My Hours BBS app, I can say with not one doubt in my head that it’s been so worth it.

Having an outlet, having support, having a place to explore whatever I’ve been going through while I’ve been in practicum has been such a huge help.

I have worked around a lot of family of origin trauma’s, incest, neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, violence in my family system, with my father, with my step-father, a five-year relationship that went sour and led to being a statistic on domestic violence, my alcohol and drug use, and abuse and subsequent journey into recovery.

It still amazes me that I am sober, that I didn’t do a rehab or a recovery house.

The thought of having to do that scares the living shit out of me, I see a lot of folks in and out of recovery houses and there doesn’t seem to be an answer there.

Perhaps an introduction to a solution, definitely a clean and safe place off the streets, but so often the folks I see from those places don’t seem to have much hope.

Then again, my own perception is probably skewed.

Anyway.

Therapy.

My therapist.

So fucking glad to work with her.

I have worked on self-esteem issues, self-advocacy, self-care, setting boundaries.

I have worked through transference and counter transferences with my clients.

Frankly such a relief to have that as an outlet.

I had a couple of back to back days of intense client sessions.

Really good, don’t get me wrong, but super intense.

Grateful that I get to show up for my clients and be a good therapist.

At least I think I’m good.

The feedback has been good, both from my supervisors and from my clients, but my God, there’s always so much more to learn.

And then there’s all the learning that I have done.

All the work that I have done over the last two and a half years, so much work, so much processing, so much learning, so many articles and books and videos, so, so, so many fucking papers, so much practice, so much showing up, being vulnerable, leaning into the vulnerability and growing.

Painful growth and glorious growth and heartbreaking growth.

I can’t wait to graduate.

The ritual is important for me.

I know it will probably be boring as hell, but there is something here that needs to be done for me, an enactment, the crossing of the stage, the flipping the tassel on my cap from one side to the other, to signify that I have graduated.

I need that ceremony.

It feels very important to me to acknowledge the rite of passage.

And I want to have a party.

I really, really do.

I really have thought quite a bit about having it at Ocean Beach, a bonfire, blankets in the sand, some snacks, I don’t really care about food, but some cold bevvies in a cooler, all non-alcoholic thank you.

I think it would be easier for me to facilitate than making reservations for a big dinner party somewhere.

It’s not so much the food that’s important, it’s the people.

I see a big bundle of balloons on the beach, a bonfire, and a bunch of folks standing around and hanging out, simple, easy, sweet.

The only drawback to Ocean Beach is that the beach doesn’t really have bathrooms, there are port-a-potties, but that’s it.

Then again, like I can’t handle that, how many times have I gone to Burning Man?

Heh.

I did have it suggested that I have it at my house, and there’s some appeal there and also not, I can’t decide.  I could have a fire in the back yard, there’s a fire pit, there are tables and chairs and the yard is big enough to accommodate plenty of folks, and there’s a bathroom.

I’d probably need to clear it with the landlady, but I can’t think that she would say no.

There’s also a grill I could use.

I just get a little edgy about having people come in and out of my house, but then again, it could be sweet.

Oh, so many things to plan.

But not right yet.

Not right now.

Now is time for sleep.

It’s been a long week.

Grateful that I made it through.

Grateful for all the love in my life.

So.

Deeply.

Deeply.

Grateful.

For all the love.

 

Birthday Weekend Wrap Up

January 15, 2018

It was good.

So good.

I mean.

Super sweet and special, and full of so much love.

And dancing.

And hugs.

And love.

I know, I mentioned that already, but it was just a lovely weekend.

I mean.

Not all of it.

Going over the bridge yesterday, the Bay Bridge, the traffic was so bad I had a moment of why the fuck am I going to Oakland to do this party?

But it was worth it.

So worth it.

I had such a lovely time and got to see folks that I haven’t seen in a while and hear great music and dance and giggle and laugh.

I laughed a lot.

I felt very happy, joyous, free.

It was spectacular.

I still feel like that and also a wee tiny bit emotional, not a lot, but a tiny bit, I was surprised just a few moments ago when I was up in the Castro Most Holy Redeemer to find myself having the anticipation and anxiety of getting a little round metal chip with the Roman numerals ten and three ones on it.

Thirteen

Thirteen years.

It still astounds me.

It felt really, really, really special.

I saw folks there that saw me when I first came in, who helped me and talked to me and bought me coffees and bummed me cigarettes and made suggestions about what to do and shared their experience, strength, hope with me, in such strong graceful ways that their message still stays with me.

Show up.

Suit up.

Be of service.

Say yes.

And extraordinary things will happen.

It is astounding how many things have happened for me.

I had an inkling that this past year was going to be a big one, I remember writing about it in a blog that would have been around this time last year, feeling that it would be fortuitous, that big, big, big things were happening.

My God.

Did the big things happen.

They really did.

I am not the same woman who turned twelve, I have grown so much this past year and really walked through some things that I had no idea I was going to get to experience.

I am so loved.

So blessed.

Graced.

And grateful.

I cannot imagine how, but I feel that this year moving forward will be much the same–full of excitement, growth, travel, love, adventure.

School.

Graduating from one program.

Starting another.

Work of course, internship, of course, recovery, the big of course.

Travel.

I will go to Paris to see my best friend there, although I don’t have set dates yet, I’m still waiting for my work to sort itself out as far as their holiday, summer, travel.

I may be going with them for part of it.

And I want to do other little trips too.

Fun things.

Weekends out of the city.

New places to go and experience.

I feel abundant.

Expansive.

I feel that my capacity for love has grown and opened wide my heart so much.

I have all these images of things  and words and endearments in my head, I am suffused with this feeling of love and I am so happy for it.

My love.

So happy.

I have a feeling that this year is going to be beyond anything I have yet to experience.

It’s a wondrous thing to have faith and be taken care of and show up and really live.

I mean.

Passionately live.

I am so alive.

I am so lucky to be alive.

Frankly.

I should be dead.

Or.

Just scraping along the gutter, in the filth and the muck, trying to make beautiful things and failing.

I have made so many beautiful things since I started this journey thirteen years ago.

Poetry.

Photographs.

Friendships.

Love.

I have made huge leaps of faith.

I have made decisions that I didn’t even know I could make.

I have made music, or collaborated in making music.

I have been in a film.

I have made my way into foreign countries, sat in cafes under many different skies, and scribbled away in so many notebooks I lost count long ago.

I have ridden bicycles all over the place.

San Francisco to LA.

Oakland to Berkeley.

The Outer Sunset to the Outer Mission.

Over the Golden Gate bridge numerous times, down into Sausalito and over to Tiburon, and one memorable day, up to the top of Mt. Tam.

And in Paris.

Nothing says amazing adventure like bringing your own bicycle to the city of Lights and taking a ride down the Champs Elysees.

Although.

Truth be told I only did that a few times.

The Champs Elysees is cobblestone and that was not a pleasant ride but fuck, it was fun to do it a couple of times and say that I had.

Or past the Eiffel Tower.

I did that ride a lot on Sundays.

I have ridden my bike at Burning Man too, not the same bike, but one that I loved for many years, ridden off into many a dusty sunset to dance at the edge of the desert and sing with joy at the heavens.

I have gotten up in front of people and performed my poetry.

Spoken word in Paris at Le Chat Noir.

In the downtown office of Form4 Architecture for their principle architect.

On stage at The Elbow Room and in the studio of Sunshine Jones.

I have done plenty of mundane, every day, simple, day-to-day things too.

Often times, more often than not, with gratitude for just getting to stay in San Francisco.

That’s some kind of miracle, that I still get to live here.

The miracles are innumerable, the gifts astounding.

I can only keep it by giving it away.

The paradox that I love.

Here out by the sea, in my little studio, listening to jazz, writing to you and letting you know about my day and how important you are to me.

So important.

I am overblown with gratitude.

Love.

Love.

Love.

Thank you for thirteen years.

It’s been freaking amazing.

Really?

January 3, 2018

Already?

FUCK.

I just read over the syllabus for one of my classes.

Vomit.

Vomit.

Vomit.

I am not ready.

No.

No.

No.

Sigh.

I got an e-mail from a friend of mine in the cohort, we take almost all of our classes together and I switched out a class to be in the this last class with her, tipping me off to a website builder that I could use for class.

I was like.

What?

Wait?

Is the syllabus already up?

And fuck me, yes, it is already up.

I read it over, I got a little tired reading it.

I think I just want to go back to reading my pleasure reading book and not look at a syllabus again for a day or five.

My next weekend of classes is January 19-21st.

It’s still a few weeks away, but it’s looming.

Fortunately the class that has the syllabus up has no readers or textbooks I will need to buy.

Unfortunately and I’m super annoyed by this, I do have to use readings, readers, and textbooks from my previous classes.

The class is Integrative Seminar, and it basically requires that I write a 22-29 page paper with a personal narrative of when and where I had revelations in my classwork and what those looked like and how I will bring those insights into my therapy sessions with future/current clients.  Plus a part of the paper has to be a clinical review of one of my current clients.

Ugh.

That’s a fucking pain in my ass.

Not that I can’t write that many pages, I won’t have a problem doing that so much, but um, I didn’t save my notebooks from my previous classes, I recycled most of them, I also don’t have the majority of my textbooks, I sold them back.

ARGH.

I do have one ace up my sleeve, I just now literally realized.

I have a program on my computer called Perrla.

It basically is a graduate student’s wet dream.

It helps format papers in APA (The American Psychological Association) and it builds your bibliography for you as you’re writing the papers.

I should have all my papers from all my classes, except for maybe the first couple I wrote, that are saved in my Perrla program.

I can reference those papers to write the bigger paper for this class.

That will be my saving grace.

So grateful I just remembered that.

Really no need for me to get all anxious about shit anyway, I’m a writer, I will write.

I have had some pretty transformative moments in school and I have grown so much in my personal life that I am sure I will be able to knock out a 30 page paper with ten references pretty damn quick.

Plus, thank God!

Thank fucking God, I keep really good notes from my supervision sessions with my solo supervisor.

And I am fairly certain I have all my notes from supervision and now that I know I’ll be presenting a case I can take more prodigious notes while in session with him.

I don’t know what I’m bitching about.

All things considered I will be writing more than 30 pages for a PhD dissertation.

God only knows how much writing that will entail.

I talked my therapist a lot about that today, amongst other things, like coming up on my 13th sobriety anniversary and what I will be doing to acknowledge that, and how I sent out an inquiry to the dean of the school I’m thinking about applying to.

My therapist is way behind me going for it.

It’s nice to have that support.

And she made a really good observation that by the time I will finish up my PhD I will also be close to accruing all my hours for licensure.

That sure would be swell.

My PhD and my license.

I’m so down for that.

I got a response to my inquiry late afternoon today while I was at work.

I probably had gotten it far earlier, but work was a busy one and I didn’t check my phone until nearly end of day.

And there it was, a message from the dean in response to my ask.

She told me two very valuable bits of information–the program only accepts students in the fall and the deadline for the upcoming fall semester is the end of February.

My timing couldn’t be better.

She asked that we make time to chat soon either in person or over the phone.

I asked for a phone interview to discuss the program after I get out of supervision next Monday morning.

I am going for it.

I can’t believe I writing that and at the same time it feels exactly like what I am supposed to be doing.

I am genuinely excited.

Sure.

It will be more work, but I’m used to it at this point, I’ve been doing the work now for over two and a half years, I know what needs to be done and the time it goes by so quick.

“How’s school?”  A friend asked me New Year’s Eve.

“I graduate in May!” I told her, I might have squealed, jumping up in down a tiny bit.

“Oh my god, didn’t you just start?”

Yeah.

That’s what it feels like, like I just started, and I also feel like I’ve been doing it for a really long time, the school bit has very much informed my last two and a half years, it has colored literally everything I have done.

And not done.

Oh the social stuff I have missed out on.

Then again.

I cannot fathom the growth that I would not have had if I not been in school.

The growth I have had is astounding.

Nothing says personal growth quite like going to school to be a counseling therapist.

Shit.

Let me process some stuff ok?

On top of getting back into therapy.

Thank God for therapy.

It’s been so good for me.

So I’m not mad at what I “missed” I have gained so very much.

And I’m just going to keep growing.

What a magnificent thing.

To be on a path where I am always learning and growing.

That is a gift.

Seriously.

Step Up

November 20, 2017

Do some service.

Get the fuck out of your head.

Worked like a freaking charm.

I sat and listened to an amazing woman today for hours.

I did a lot of reading.

I did some client work.

I got asked to do a speaking engagement and did that too.

It was fantastic.

To get to be my complete self, lit up, on fire, alive, in love, all the things.

I don’t remember what I said, which is good, that means I wasn’t trying to manipulate how people saw me, I was just sharing.

And my God.

The gratitude.

I smiled so hard.

My face actually got a little sore from smiling so much.

And.

Yes, of course, there were some tears, and love was talked about and I got to reflect on how much love I have been given and how much I still get to give back and out into the world.

It’s amazing.

I was also told this, “you sound like a psychologist!” A sweet man told me after.

That was really nice to hear.

I am grateful for so much in my life.

I have a life, I am alive, that is the start, and you know, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, it bears repeating, if life were fair, I’d be dead.

Life is not fair, I have more than I can have ever imagined or asked for.

I have extraordinary people in my life.

I have people I love and who love me.

I have a full heart.

I don’t do so many of the things that I used to under the guise of it makes me feel better, but really it just made me feel worse, temporary solutions to the pain I was living with.

Like smoking cigarettes, man, I still forget that, I haven’t smoked in twelve years!

No sugar.

No flour.

No booze.

No cocaine.

Sure.

I still use salt, but please, really, don’t take away my last white powder!

I also do things that I always wanted to do but I would just talk about doing them, I didn’t actually do them.

Like.

Oh.

Writing.

I write every motherfucking day.

How amazing is that?

That I consistently give myself the gift of sitting down to paper and pen and getting honest with my heart.

It is no easy task and it always gives so much back to me.

So too, this little blog.

I do love the writing, I love how my fingers fly over the keyboard, I love how the words pour out of my hands, a direct conduit from the love in my heart.

I have a great job.

I have a site to get all my practicum hours so that I can graduate in May.

Jesus.

I get to go to grad school!

How many people actually get to do that?

Granted I was getting hella frustrated with the FAFSA online tools which kept telling me my passwords were wrong and wouldn’t let me access my student account.

I have to file for the 2018 financial year.

I have not applied to school yet, but I have some fairly serious ambitions to do so, to go for the PhD, I’m thinking that I would get in Transpersonal Studies, which is a two-year program at my school.

I have to flesh some things out, when I would apply, what I might want to dissertate on.

“You should totally do it!” My therapist enjoined me.  “You find so much richness for yourself in the academic world.”

I had not thought of it like that.

I had thought of it, like I want a PhD, ego stuff.

Then.

When a professor I highly respected told me that I could be of more service in my community with a PhD I thought, yeah, I should do that.

Then.

Well.

I know this sounds kind of crazy, but it also sort of makes sense to me, it would mean being in school two more years and that would give me two more years to acquire hours at my internship before I have to start paying back on my student loans.

I am not in a paid internship.

I’m not sure that I could swing paying back student loans on top of getting my hours.

Then again.

I just keep saying, it’s God’s money, it will work out.

I do believe that.

But.

When my therapist reframed the continuation of school by reflecting to me how much I have gotten out of school, just personally, how much I have grown, that I am giving myself an opportunity to learn more and grow more.

I really liked thinking of it.

So grateful for my therapist.

We started in on a hard piece for me last week.

It was something that I have been holding for a while and I knew eventually it was going to have to come out and the work would need to be done on it.

I have done a lot of work, but there is still more to do, still places of pain that need to be touched into, places I need to grieve, things lost that I don’t know I’ve really let myself see that I had lost.

I don’t want to wallow in my past.

I don’t.

It doesn’t really serve.

But I do want to integrate those experiences, grieve what needs to be grieved, and let it go.

My therapists face when I was getting into some of it, how she pulled me back, grounded me, settled me back, ran over time with me to make sure I was calibrated and strong enough to leave the office.

I had tears on my face and many crumpled tissues, but I also felt a kind of inner awareness that this is where the real work is going to happen and I can get through it all the way.

I wasn’t collapsed in, I was strong, I was lightened, I lightened the load a tiny bit and left a good bit of it in a tissue in the wastebasket.

I have the strength to get in there, dig it out, and let it the fuck go.

So grateful for that.

I am resilient.

I have inner love and joy and strength and light.

I have been given so much love in the last few years, so much more than I thought I deserved, so much appreciation for who I am and what I do.

I really am loved.

I really am lovable.

I am enough.

I have enough.

And.

I get to give it all away.

Which.

Oh.

Glorious paradox.

Is.

The only way I can keep it.

The only way.

 

People Who Don’t Usually Lecture

November 1, 2017

Holy crow.

They picked me!

I am so blown away and honored.

And nervous, fuck, if I think about it too long I might get myself in trouble, but overall, wow, wow, wow, just amazed.

People Who Don’t Usually Lecture is a lecture series that is a kind of anti-TEd Talk where the focus is on people’s personal stories and journeys.  They were given my name by my mentor and friend who commissioned some sonnets from me after a chance (chance, my ass, that was grace, God, the universe if you will) encounter at Burning Man.

They have been doing the series in Tel Aviv for the last four years or so and have gone global this year.

There will be shows in New York, Buenos Aries and, yes, here in San Francisco.

I interviewed with them today before I went into work.

I wasn’t even sure what the hell I was going to talk about, and if I think on it real hard I know that I told a good bit of my personal story, my journey, how I got from here to there and back again, but I didn’t choose my word so much as just let them come out, I just asked to be a channel and let what needed to come out come out.

I’m not sure how I got to be so lucky to be a story-teller, but I did.

I do think it has something to do with remembering to say yes to things.

When my friend had first mentioned it I was intrigued, but really had no clue what was being talked about and I sort of forgot.

Then we had lunch this past Sunday in North Beach and I got a bit more of the back story.

It sounded fascinating.

So, yes I was nervous taking my scooter up into the hills over Dolores Park to meet with the people who run the show.

But, well, you know me, half the battle, three-quarters, 7/8’s haha, of the whole deal is just showing up.

Take the action.

Let go of the results.

The results are God’s anyway.

They really seemed to like my story and I saw one of them was moved to tears, more than once and it was amazing to watch their reactions and then to hear them say they could listen longer and wanted to know more and that they didn’t usually offer a spot the day of the interview to a lecturer.

But.

Well.

They did to me.

Oh my God.

I’m going to do a lecture!

It will be short, ten minutes, and I will be speaking with others in the community, I believe my friend will be one of the lecturers as well.

And when I had mentioned our poetry project and creativity and my experiences I actually got a soft, but firm, no, that’s not what we want, we want your story.

They talked to me about what they had heard and themes that came up in my telling my personal journey, I think I talked for about twenty minutes or so, straight before they started asking questions and collaborating with me about what they would like me to focus on in my story.

I will be covering the thematic of resilience and gratitude.

Two things I have in spades.

Oh.

Do I ever.

I have to write-up my narrative for them to go over by Monday morning.

I will go in and speak with them again and they will go over my story and give me pointers on what they want me to focus on.

I have to write-up the piece and get it to them by Monday a.m.

I will go in at noon next Monday and see them again.

I have the rest of the week to think about it and then to write it out.

They asked me to give them a ten minute piece.

It will be off book as well, so even though I will have a narrative to hand into them so that they can help me polish and pull out the tasty bits, I will be on my own up on that stage.

Just me, myself, and I telling a little story about how I got where I am today.

I am so honored and a bit in awe.

A bit in wonder.

I’m grateful, so grateful I get to do stuff like this.

It will just be ten minutes of my life, but I suspect it will be a lot more, it will be a gift to my community, without whom I wouldn’t be where I am today and certainly not fucking asked to give a lecture before hundreds of people.

The lecture series will be held at The Chapel on Valencia Street in the Mission, Tuesday, December 5th.

I’m not sure of the time yet, but in the evening.

I’ll have a dress rehearsal there on December 3rd and then do the deal on the 5th.

I’m really over the moon.

And though I, of course, it is my story after all, know what I’m going to write about, I don’t know exactly what I am going to write about.

Which is fine.

I’m ok with extemporaneous speaking I did it through high school as well as debate, as well as doing French forensics and poetry.

I’ve spoken in front of loads of people, I will be able to do this too.

It’s a little scary, it’s on stage and I know there will be a lot people there.

But.

Really.

I just need to show up and open my mouth, just show up and ask to carry the message, my journey, my story, my resiliency, and not the mess.

I’m good at the mess, I want to carry the message.

Which is often that, if I can make it through the terrors and traumas of my life, then so can you.

And.

Not only that, I can share how, I can share my experience, I can share my hope, and that I did it and how I’m happy now, have been happy now for some years, and I’m loved and my life is fulfilling, rewarding, and full of service.

Life is not a vale of tears and when it is, well, it is gold, a kind of coin I can spend helping another in their struggle by sharing how I got through.

Which is the greatest gift, after all, isn’t it?

Having experiences to share with others.

Love and gratitude tonight.

So very much.

I’ll keep you posted.

Night all.

Sweetest dreams.

 

 

Tiny Pockets of Perfect

October 20, 2017

Little precious moment of complete and utter luminosity in my day.

Small things but grand, full of beauty and quiet happiness.

An hour before work with my favorite person in the world having coffee.

Getting a car downtown to meet the family I nanny for and the baby falling asleep in the carrier, I sat and watched the children playing and was warm and snuggled up in a corner and basically got to be still for an hour and a half.

Oh.

I suppose that is not everyone’s cup of tea, but for someone like me, who often moves fast, slowing down is a grand luxury.

Going slow on my scooter and missing the rain that happened.

Although the streets were slick when I went into my internship, they had dried by the time I left and I got home safe and dry.

The best leftovers from a dinner I made last night for my best friend.

Delicious and it reminded me of our time together.

Time that is precious and valuable to me.

Human connection.

Love.

Having a client consult cancel on me and having a full hour to do homework reading and the best, the text is really interesting.

I was a little concerned when I saw that I had to read a 184 pages of a book for just that one class for my next weekend of classes, but the book is quite compelling and I knocked out 58 pages in the hour that I had with no client.

A really good session with another client to end my evening.

And now.

Some Yo Yo Ma playing Beethoven.

I’ll take it.

And tomorrow is Friday.

Oh sure.

It’s still a full day, but it’s payday, which is nice, not that I’m spending any money on anything right now, I am trying to squirrel away for a new car next month, but it’s still nice and I worked over time for the family and when that happens I get it in cash instead of taxed, which is a nice bonus.

So I’ll use that for my “fun” money for the next week.

I’ll work 9 hours tomorrow at work and then take two clients afterward.

But then the weekend.

Yes, I will have group supervision on Saturday and I will also have to sit through an additional hour of supervision since my solo supervisor was away on vacation, but it will feel like a day off, this Saturday.

A day to get in a yoga class, to go do the deal, to not be too pressured to perform.

Group supervision really is just marking time and I don’t have to get highly present for it.

Solo supervision is another thing entirely and that will feel like work, but it will be just an hour.

Then.

Maybe a manicure, maybe a coffee in a cafe, maybe some stickers.

Heh.

I do like my stickers and I discovered a small stash of stickers from Paris this morning when I was doing my Morning Pages.

I had thought I was all out.

It was nice to find a few more.

I have tons of notebooks still from Paris, but yes, the sticker supply is fast dwindling.

I will need to re-up soon.

I am such a girl sometimes, but I’m alright with indulging my inner child, she didn’t get much indulgence growing up and sometimes, hahahahaahaha, I’m writing this sentence and out of the corner of my eye I note my fashionable bunny slippers, I need to indulge her.

Hence stickers and um, ha, bunny slippers.

I did not have slippers growing up.

Hell.

I didn’t have slippers as an adult for a very long time, but man, when I finally indulged, happiness!

Especially now that the seasons are fully turning and it’s getting chilly out there.

I was a touch overdressed on my scooter today, thinking it was going to be colder than it was, but the days grow short, the nights grow long, and the temperatures have dropped.

And now the rain.

A touch of melancholy.

A soft stirring of sadness.

And I remember that I am allowed to hold more than one or two or three emotions.

I can hold many.

Even the painful ones that hide in the pretty ones.

Tender and sad and soft and sweet and let myself have them so they don’t stay stuck.

I can get stuck sometimes and the words don’t come out right and I feel tongue-tied.

All of that too.

Even in the starred days, in the ways that light affects me and the pulling at my heart as it wanders far above in the night sky.

Sings to me this lullaby.

Loss and sorrow and surrender and unmitigated love and struggle and joy all of it.

Perfect in my imperfections, still making mistakes and growing.

Pain, the touch stone of spiritual growth, I remind myself.

The way that I can see all the loveliness and feel all the joy because I have experienced the other side and have something to compare it to.

I made myself sad without meaning too.

And left adrift in my melancholy I will listen again to the sound of the cello, winsome and low against the piano and the story it tells me slides inside my heart and falls like the soft rain outside my door onto my face.

I am not always good at this.

Being human.

But I am always, oh so very.

Very.

Human.

Which is perhaps.

The most perfect of all.

Perhaps.

A Good Cry

July 12, 2017

And then back to living.

I saw my therapist today.

Yes.

A psychotherapist has a therapist.

Especially since I am a therapist in training, although, let me tell you, I felt like a therapist today, seeing clients, filing paperwork, checking all the boxes, circling all the things that needed to be circled and doing the work.

I can get super caught up in how much longer this road is and how the hell am I ever, I mean, ever, going to get 3,000 hours, but I can’t, I just can’t focus on that.

One hour at a time.

Fortunately I have some practice living a day at a time and when I reflect on how those days add up and all my accomplishments have come in small increments, but come they have, then I don’t have to get too caught up in the numbers.

It’s just a numbers game and I’m doing it the best I can as fast as I can without killing myself in the process.

I mean.

I still have to process all my own stuff, plus carrying around my clients in my head.

I do that now.

I have them in my head and sometimes I will think about them and once in a while I have a momentary flash, a connection, a thought or feeling and a little aha moment, that feels pretty special.

But.

Yes.

I do have to process my own stuff too, I have to look at my own emotional life sift through the chafe and dander and see what is needing to seen and what is needing to be let go.

I knew.

For instance.

I needed to titrate my social media intake today.

I woke up a bit emotionally hung over.

I cried a lot yesterday.

On and off all day, with one really big cry in the evening when I was talking with my person on the phone and going over the shock of what had happened and how the death of my friend had not just hit me, but many others, the numbers of people who showed up to be present for each other and for the family of the deceased was extraordinary.

Not to mention all the people in so many other places he had affected, who’s lives he had touched–Portland, Seattle, Memphis, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Oakland.

Gah.

I can hear him saying “West Oakland” in my head and such joy at his goofiness suffuses me.

For he was joyful.

Oh sure, sad and fucked up and scared and young and insecure, who hasn’t been those things, but also bright and kind and funny and so there for you and warm and sweet and musically talented.

Oh the music the world has lost.

So.

Seeing all the pictures, all the photographs, all the expressions of heartbreak, my social media feed was just awash in tears and sadness.

I really had to not look after a while.

And I knew when I woke up having felt puffy eyed and sluggish and a bit off kilter that I wasn’t going to allow myself to wallow in the emotionalism of social media.

I needed coffee, some ibuprofen, and a good breakfast.

Sounds like a hangover, right?

Except instead of booze or blow it was emotion.

And as I expressed to my therapist today after plopping down on her couch and telling her I was going to cry and then immediately doing so, I also realized that some, a lot of the emotion I had in my body, on my heart, in my head, was not mine.

It was the communities.

And I’m grateful.

Really grateful.

I got to feel it and touch into it.

But.

I could not continue swimming in it any longer.

So I talked it out, processed it, linked it to other things, made traverses, expressed emotions, cried a lot in the beginning, but by the middle of my session I was going other places.

Oh.

It was all interconnected.

I am good at making connections.

And it was honest and insightful.

I am pretty good at those things too.

Not always.

I am a work in progress, people, don’t expect perfection, I am far, far, far from perfect.

But.

I am loving and kind and sweet, I would hazard.

I am compassionate and more importantly, I am empathetic.

Sometimes too much and I get overextended and I give too much, I have been trained well in that way of life, being my mom’s caretaker, taking care of my sister, my oldest niece, an ex-boyfriend of five years who might as well have been my mother for all the caretaking he required, but I have grown a lot.

Oh, so fucking much.

And I know when I need to caretake and when the other person needs to do the job their own damn self.

And there’s no irony that I am in the care taking profession.

A. I am a nanny, I care take all day long.

B. I am a psychotherapist.

But it’s not my job to care take as a therapist and that’s a really intriguing thing for me.

I am also not there to make my client feel better, to sugar coat, or to shoo away uncomfortable feelings.

Uncomfortable feelings need to happen.

There’s nothing wrong with them.

I like to look at them as signposts, directions, “hey this thing you do, it doesn’t work for you.”

For instance.

There’s nothing wrong with anxiety or depression.

They are signs that the way things are going, the tools being used for living, well they might not be working so well.

I mean.

Booze was one hell of an amazing solution for me.

Until.

It was not.

So was cocaine.

My God.

I remember the first time I did a line of good blow.

It was like I had all the answers.

ALL of them.

And I was fine with the way those answers were conveyed and I rather scoffed at a friends warning that perhaps I like that drug a little more than was perhaps healthy.

Um.

Yeah.

But when those solutions failed I had to find a better way, a different way and there was depression there and there was anxiety and all sorts of other juicy psychological terms and conditions.

And slowly.

One step at a time.

I got to change what I did.

What I ingested.

What I thought and felt.

For something else.

I was given a significant solution to my problem.

Of course.

I won’t tell that to a client, they have to find their own way, I think that I am a mirror, an attachment figure, a person who can and will have to withstand the disappointments and anger and discomfort of others so that they can learn how to use that information and devise their own solution.

Therapy is not for symptom relief.

Just like alcohol, ultimately, and every other drug I took, weren’t for symptom relief.

I had to find a different way.

And I did.

And today when I walked out of my therapist office I felt a lightness and a joy.

I am alive.

I am not guilty for being alive

I have so much joy and passion in my life, such happiness, I felt light and though there is still sadness for the loss of this beautiful person, I have also a deeper connection to how alive I want to be and how alive I am allowed to be.

To be alive, in this moment, sober, and free.

It is amazing.

Happy.

Joyous.

Moved beyond words for my experiences and this amazing place I have been lead to.

Grateful.

So very grateful.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

May it bless you too.

Just Keep Writing

June 19, 2017

Very, very, very few hits on the blog yesterday and today.

Of course.

It is Father’s Day.

Folks have things to do, people to see, loved ones to celebrate.

I sent my dad warm thoughts, it’s how I can show up today, loving from a distance.

I did try last week on his birthday to call the cell phone number I have for him, but the call did not go through and I took that as the time is not now.

I may never have the time for my dad.

I have acceptance for that, some sorrow, but mostly acceptance and a kind of peace around it.

There are times that I have wished for more from my father, but I have always known, despite not having much contact with him through the years, that I was loved by him.

Who am I to say that how he expressed his love was not the right thing for me?

I cannot choose how people express their love.

I have a certain idea how it should look, but my ideas are often wrong.

So often wrong.

It’s rather ridiculous.

But hey, I’m trying.

I may fall, but at least I know that I am trying.

And I love.

So, so, so hard.

My God, I love hard.

And it may not be what someone wants either.

I have tried being softer and kinder and easier with my love, for myself, for others, to not squeeze too hard, to be gentle, to be flexible and have deeper perspective and appreciation for all forms of love.

I’m not sure where I am going with this ramble, just that I am glad for my father and I hope he is well and I love him.

I do.

So many kinds of love, so much vastness of feeling.

So many memories.

Some easier to recall than others.

Grateful for them all.

Grateful for today.

It was a good day.

I woke up earlier than I was planning, but then again, I hadn’t planned on staying up late last night, but the cup of coffee I gleefully, rebelliously drank with my friend at the anniversary party last night had its way with me.

I was going to let myself have eight hours of sleep.

But the light in my room woke me up and I knew I would feel better if I got up and got myself going.

So I hopped up, put on the yoga clothes and went to the studio down the block.

It was a great class and I was very happy with the teacher.

Then a nice mellow, slow morning.

Met with a lady, did the deal, did some laundry, did some shopping, did some cooking.

And.

Holy cats.

I read some fiction.

I read a book.

In the sun.

On the back porch.

It was sunny in San Francisco and the beach was packed and the parks were packed and it was Father’s Day all over the place.

I did go down to the beach for a little bit, but when it’s nice out, and it was, it was over 80 degrees, the beach gets really bombarded and add a national celebrate a parent holiday and the traffic and people were off the hook.

I sat in a dune for a while and enjoyed the sea and the sun, but after maybe twenty minutes I just decided to go back home and read on the back porch.

I knew it would be quiet.

And it was lovely.

I definitely got a few freckles today and I got warm in my bones.

It felt nice to put up my feet and relax a little.

The next week is a busy one.

Aren’t they all?

But.

It does make the time go faster and I’m excited to be seeing clients now at the internship.

I also peeped the weather for the next week and it looks gorgeous and sunny and the June gloom that is so often the weather in the city for the summer seems to have abated and I am grateful.

There is so much in my life to be grateful for.

So much learning.

As I navigate through my days I see where I have stumbled and where I have been selfish and when I am not being of good service to a situation.

I can make things about myself really fast.

I catch it more often than I have in the past, but I am always a bit chagrined when I do it.

I get to recall the feeling in my body when I hurt someone or make something about me when it really has nothing to do with me, out of fear, that’s usually where I am acting from, fear.

Fear that I won’t get what I want or I will lose what I have.

And the fear is baseless.

Groundless.

Silly.

I have been given so much and I have so much, that to live in any kind of fear is a kind of waste, a superfluous worry of time, when I could be enjoying the sunshine, the daydream, the revery of sitting still in the back yard and feeling the warmth on my skin where I am caught and held in perfection.

I am human, but that is an excuse.

I have to also change when I see things in myself that I don’t care for, I can’t wish them away.

I can, however, pray about it and hope to be of better service in the future.

Remembering how it feels when I have done something that doesn’t serve another because I am in fear of not getting what I want.

Ah growth.

Painful growth.

I heard it said once or twice, though, that pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth.

I definitely grew a little today.

And the pain is not as tender as it has been in the past, but it is there so I chose now, in this moment, to remember what I felt and what I was feeling and to not let those fears get in the way of enjoying my day.

The sun.

The soft warmth.

The dreamy.

I do like the dreamy.

Please God.

Don’t let me fuck up the dreamy.

 


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