Posts Tagged ‘Master of FIne Arts’

All The Books

August 4, 2017

I got rid of almost all of my books today.

Parting was sweet and not too sorrowful.

Although I am always astounded by how little I get back, get back something I did.

I got back enough for lunch.


A mani/pedi.


I made room for more books.

I received my first textbook for school in the mail today.

Which is great.

Since I want to have as much read for school as soon as I can.




I roll like that.

I like to be prepared I like to take the time to do my readings and though I have been told by quite a few people who have done the grad school grind before, nobody reads everything, I do try to read it all.

I don’t always succeed.

Especially in my first year and my first semester.

I was caught off guard by having to have so much reading done before the first weekend of classes.



I get it.

The classes are so condensed, we cover so much information, we only have so much time and the weekend cohort has to do in one weekend what the regular cohort covers in one month.

That’s a lot.


I have to do the readings sooner.


It helps me.

It helps me because I have a way of writing and doing my papers that depends on me having done the reading.

I get it all done and I live a full life, I have my recovery, my personal life, my work life, my internship, and soon.

I will have this next semester of school.

Three of my syllabi are now up.

I found out that I have a conflict with one of my days at the internship and an evening class on Fridays.

I either will only be able to do consults on Fridays during the fall semester or once a month my clients won’t get to see me.

I can offer them three meetings a month.

And of course that will change as each semester unfolds.

I am officially a third year student.

I will graduate with my Masters in Integral Counseling Psychology in May of 2018.

I will have a Master’s degree!

It is not the Master’s degree I had always thought I would get.

That one is an MFA.

A Master of Fine Art.

I always thought I would get a Masters for Creative Writing.


As it turns out.

I am supposed to be a therapist and that means a Masters in Psychology.

Which is great and by no means negates my undergraduate degree in English Literature.

I used to think that it would, but language is so important in therapy.

What is said.

What is not said.

The psychology of words of body language, or what and how things are said and being able to articulate and name things and be aware of what is happening for a client.

This is huge.

I have a tremendous vocabulary and a way with words.

And yes.

Sometimes I am.




There is a difference though, and also that is beneficial too.

I mean.

I have lived a full life with many, many experiences.

Good and bad and all varieties of the spectrum.

I have a wealth of life experiences to draw on and that makes me a better therapist too.

It is a gift.

I never knew how much my experiences would play out into what I am doing now and it is extraordinary when I let myself see it.







All of it plays into the therapeutic field.

I mean.

Before I was in school I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as narrative therapy.


I can do that.

I probably do that every damn time I sit down to write this blog.

I am telling a story.

It may only be the story of my day.

It may only be about me selling books to Dog Eared Books on Valencia Street.


It may also be something else.

There are layers here.

Dog Eared Books was the first bookstore in San Francisco that I went into.

It was the first place I bought a book.

It was also the first place I sold books to.

It was and is a store that I can spend a lot of time wandering around and just smelling the books and looking at the tables resplendent with words, the magazine rack can enthrall me for great gobs of time, I can get lost in the stacks.

Dog Ear also has a great free box.

I mean.

After hauling the books clear across town, the nearest book store to me Green Apple on the Park, doesn’t buy back at that location, I didn’t much feel like hauling away the books that Dog Eared didn’t buy.


I had an inkling that I could still sell a few.

I left nothing in the free box.

I took the $45 I got for the books they accepted and was happy to know that I had earned a lunch out and would be able to pay for my mani/pedi.

A total treat and a splurge.

I like being girly you know.

I scootered over to Aardvark at Church and Market and they took nothing!


I also was by Jade Chinese, so I treated myself to yummy Chinese food and then took my scooter to the Castro and sold up there to the new Dog Eared on Castro Street.

They didn’t buy anything.


When I said, well, I’ll just put them in the free box, the buyer looked at me and said, “how about I give you some store credit and throw these in the sale bin, I bet we will sell a few.”

It was such a sweet gesture.

I took him up on it and now I have a little credit at the store.

Good for when I buy postcards for sending to my friends and loved ones when I go to Burning Man.

That is one thing I always do, send a postcard with a Black Rock City postmark on it.

A girlfriend whose birthday always falls the weekend of the event, my mom, me, I know, I like sending myself postcards, hush, it’s my joy.

I got to let go of the books.

I got to come home to a clean, tidy house, with fewer stacks of livres and!

I got a new book in the mail.


I just needed to make space for what was being sent to me.

I am a very happy girl.


Although I’m not quite ready for all the school reading.

I am a head of the game.

For that I am hella grateful.



I used “hella.”

Shut up.


March 7, 2015

Greetings, and congratulations on your acceptance to California Institute of Integral Studies!

Dear Carmen,

Congratulations! I am delighted to inform you of your acceptance to the California Institute of Integral Studies.  You have met all of your admissions requirements and have been fully accepted to the  Master of Arts Weekend program in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Integral Counseling Psychology for the 2015-16 Fall Semester.   You will soon receive an acceptance letter in the mail.



I’m going to graduate school.

Oh my.


I’m going into debt.

Who cares!

I’m going to graduate school, graduate school, graduate school.

Gonna get me a Masters of Fine Arts.

And learn how to spell.

Or at least sit quietly and listen to what other people need, that’s the point of being a therapist, and being of service, that’s a nice thing too.

I ran upstairs to tell the mom at work.

I had put down the monkey for his afternoon nap and coordinated with the mom at lunch about what marketing needed to be done, what I was going to make for dinner, and retrieval of said grocery items that needed to be bought.

I picked up my phone from the counter where it had been re-charging, I re-charge my phone frequently, I take a lot of photos of the boys at work and that will zap the juice from my phone faster than you’d expect.

I have been in the habit of checking my e-mail of late and I did just that before heading out the door.

I caught my breath.


There it was.

I could barely read it.

I just saw the congratulations part and my whole body filled up with light and love and gratitude and I could feel the breath tangle up in my chest and tears stung my eyes.

I got in.

“I never once thought you wouldn’t,” my dear friend told me later on the phone, “I never doubted.”

I didn’t really either, but I also didn’t want to be too cocky about it.

I felt like it was happening almost without me giving it much thought, I just kept taking these little tiny steps, little bursts of faith-based actions, and there it was the culmination of those efforts, ever since the confrontation with my employer out at Burning Man.

I am reminded of that day, the morning after I got yelled at by my boss, and how it changed me, how I allowed the change to happen within me.

There was an art piece out on the playa that my darling friend and I walked to the afternoon after the ridiculous rain storm hit and the gates were shut down and I had spent five hours hiding out in the Commissary.

It was “The Wheel of Fortune.”

A circle of doors that led where?

As it turned out one opened the door of a Major Arcana Tarot card.

I walked in through Death.

How apropos.

I had come to the realization that I was no longer going to be a nanny, or at least, that I had to do something different, and that graduate school was in order and that I had to change, my employer didn’t have to do a damn thing.

I had to change.

The death of self, the death of the idea that I knew better, the death of my old hopes/dreams (being a highly sought after published writer with all sorts of fame and monies), the surrender to the Universe that I really did not know what was best for me.

But that I hoped.


To live a life of purpose and meaning and service.

My friend and I walked around the circle and looked over the cards on the back of the doors–the art work was superlative, dandy steam punk inspired, gothic, rich in rendering, there was a circular velvet covered bench to sit on in the middle, the open blue sky above.

I, in my mind, had decided I was going to exit through the Lovers door.

I mean, that’s what Burning Man is about, another of my unrealistic hopes, to find a lover and partner at Burning Man, get me some LOVE on.



But after talking and sharing with my friend about the epiphany I had when I did some inventory on my job and shared it with a fellow the previous night and the perspective he gave me, I completely forgot about exiting through the Lovers Door.

“Let’s go see some more art,” she said.

We got up off the bench, still chatting, and without realizing it, I walked, not through the Lovers door, but rather.

The High Priestess.


The goosebumps on me when I realized what I did.

I walked out with my friend into the open playa, we had little adventures and saw much art, but that door stood open in my heart and I embraced what I needed to do next.

Then I took little actions.

I”m not saying that Burning Man completely made it clear to me that I was supposed to follow this path, but yes, as a matter of fact, it did.

I was also ready for change and despite being in a lot of fear about what it would look like, I knew that it had to happen.

I remember that night when I got back to camp after the event had opened the gates and the masses held back with the rain had been let in, I sat down in the little Bambi Airstream, my gilded cage, and booted up this very laptop.

I looked up CIIS on the web and I RSVP’d the open house for fall 2015 admissions.

And well.

Jesus on a raft.

It looks like I’m going.

Especially as I just paid the non-refundable enrollment fee of $300 to hold my spot.

I also tried to navigate the financial aid forms too, but I got a little overwhelmed and stopped.

Enough actions for today, I need to remember to enjoy this, this feeling, rich in gratitude, love, abundance, joy.

I can take tonight and bask in the glow.

I believe I have earned it.

I won’t be resting on my laurels for long, I promise.

But for the moment.


It does feel good.

It does.

I’m going back to school!



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