Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

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September 5, 2018

With a huge stack of books and notebooks and pages and pages and pages of syllabi.

Oh my God.

What have I fucking done?

I went from feeling pretty good about it all to feeling super overwhelmed after my last class.

The irony being that it was the class I figured I was going to enjoy the most.

Of course, with some perspective, I still think I am going to enjoy it the most, but I am awash in the anxiety of having to produce the work.

There is a lot of work.

Yesterday’s class blew me out of the water at the intensive.

I really liked the professor.

In fact, I am quite fond of him as he swooped in one morning seeing me sitting by myself at breakfast and made me join his table at the intensive.

We had a great talk.

He loves Paris.

I love Paris.

We are now friends.

Plus, he has had an extraordinary life, three marriages, multiple degrees, Harvard, Brown, CIIS, somewhere else I forget.

Of course he has a PhD as well.

And a lot of papers that he’s written and he seems to be the co-collaborator of the way the course work is designed.

First of all.

Let me say that I had some, well, not exactly contempt, but a little wiggle of worry that because my PhD is an “online” program, that it would not be academically rigorous.

Fuck my life.

Academic rigor galore.

In fact, as one second year told me, she thinks that we actually do more work than a traditional PhD program and I think she’s right.

Second.

I was in the dark a little about the length.

I had this idea that the program is only two years long.

The course work is only two years long.

Then there’s methodology, the comprehensive exams, research, the writing, the proposal and the defense of said proposal.

The course work will be four semesters.

Then I can expect at least another four more semesters of work to finish the dissertation.

Which means two more years.

And the professor made it very clear that the fastest anyone could possible do the whole shebang was 4.5 years.

What I heard from most of the people in the program was that if I did the course work and stayed the course with my research, readings, writing, methods, etc, that it would take in total about 5 years.

So.

It’s no different from any other doctoral program with the exception of the majority of the coursework is submitted online and that a large component of all my classes is to interact and engage with the learning community on-line.

There are 30 of us in the cohort split into two sections.

There are three classes.

Introduction to Transformative Society; Self, Society, and Transformation; and Creative Inquiry: Scholarship for the 21st Century.

I am the only student from San Francisco, though the school is located in San Francisco.

There were a lot of students from the East Coast, New York mainly, I think six of my fellows were from New York, one from up state New York.

One from London, a University Professor of Psychoanalytics and Psychodynamics.

One student from Hong Kong.

One student from Oakland.

Another from somewhere in the East Bay, a few from up North, somewhere in Canada, I totally forget now, another from D.C.

The woman from D.C. was also an MFT and teaches as well at university level, specifically Art Therapy and Play Therapy for adults, she was super sweet and insisted I call her if I have any questions about marketing or setting up my private practice internship.

Said internship that although I took materials with me to work on I did absolutely no work on at all, I was so immersed in the classroom experience and the work at the intensive.  And I read a lot while I was there on my breaks, as much as I could without totally isolating myself in my room.

Anyway, a lot of high-caliber, smart people.

Majority of them women, which was very, very cool.

Grateful to be part of some smart, intelligent, driven women.

Very grateful.

One of whom came up to me with a piece of paper today in a notebook that she was keeping to show to our future selves, our name with Dr. in front of it.

I was more than happy to write mine down.

Dr. Carmen Regina Martines.

Fuck that looks good.

And now I can stop giving myself grief that I maybe was in an “easy” PhD program because it was two years and online.

Silly rabbit.

It is not easy at all.

The great thing that I realized though, after having a bit of panic and overwhelm when I was in my Creative Inquiry class yesterday, is that the material is not beyond me.

I understand the concepts, they make sense.

Oh sure, a lot of the material is new to me, I haven’t studied these things before, but I have been reading academic papers and books now at a higher level of understanding for the last three years and the materials are not cowing me.

Nope.

Not at all.

That was a nice realization for me to make.

What was causing the panic was the number of deliverables that I must have for Creative Inquiry.

8 papers.

8!

And though some of them are short, I have a couple that are not, and two that are quite big.

Plus I have to get published.

Are you fucking kidding me.

I have to actually publish a review of a scholarly journal.

Holy shit.

Now.

I am excited.

But yesterday I was just overwhelmed.

What the fuck?  I remember thinking I have to get something published too as a requirement of the course, Jesus, plus, oh, great, thanks, I also found out that I have another book to read, in addition to the books already lined up for the course, I had to pick one of four others that were presented.

Let me say this.

I will not be going anywhere without carrying a book or an article to read.

That’s why I got overwhelmed, 8 papers for this class, three for Self and Society, and one big whopper for Intro to Transformative Studies.

Plus weekly discussions and comments and interactions with my cohort.

I worked a lot on my calendar yesterday and I’m not 100% certain, but it looks like I will have to read two to three books per week to get through all the material.

Well, not quite, more like 2.5 per week.

Plus the articles, many of them big, long, academic papers of over 30 pages, and every class has three or four of these a week.

So yeah.

The material doesn’t scare me, it’s just getting the time to do it.

I’m not sure what’s going to have to go out of my schedule, but somethings definitely are.

Maybe a few less blogs a week.

Maybe.

I’ll let you know.

For now, I’m just happy I’m home and all my stuff is put away and I get to sleep in my own bed tonight.

Very happy for that.

Very.

 

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In The Right Place

September 3, 2018

And if there were any doubts about my PhD program, they were all erased today.

Replaced by a feeling of knowing, really knowing that I am in the right place, at the right time, in the right program, with a cohort of people who I am really beginning to like and  respect.

I had my second full day of classes and the class today really (and when I say class let me say that one class was six hours, with a meal break in between, these are not your standard “classes” that are 50 minutes long) brought it home for me.

The first part of the class was really a sort of getting to know you exercise that took a bit longer than I was ready for and made me squirm a little bit as some folks began to go over time, but it was a good way to hear more about the folks in my cohort, and that was nice.

But.

It was the next part of the class, when the professor introduced to us the realities of the work and how the course was set up, the readings, and what he hoped to accomplish that would allow us to do our dissertations and get through to the final doctoral degree.

He expressed what we were going to do and how we would get there and I could see al the ideas that have been percolating in my head start to coalesce.

I had gotten really good feedback from the Dean of the school when I interviewed with her, she had never heard of anyone covering the topic I want to do and that excited me.

But that was back in February, March?

Back when I was still in my Masters program.

And I still have had the idea, still have had the interest in pursuing it.

But here.

At the intensive, it suddenly felt alive and very, very real.

The course work is no fucking joke.

I am going to be reading until my eyes bleed.

However

The cool thing is that I won’t have to write as many papers as I did for my Masters program.

Of course, there will be the dissertation and God only knows how long that will end up being.

God willing it will become a book.

I mean.

I really could see the culmination of the effort not just netting me the PhD, but also getting to work on putting out a book.

I’m really excited about it and my fellows in the cohort have been asking me questions and really into my inquiry.

Makes me happy.

After we had our lunch break and came back to class for the second half of the six-hour class, I was ready to dive in.

I had a nice lunch break and had gone for a little walk to get some fresh air and a coffee and sat down at the beach for a little while, got some salt spray on my face and some sun and felt refreshed and ready to jump back into the material.

Material that I was excited by, work that I am looking forward to doing.

Oh.

I’m a touched overwhelmed too, won’t lie about that, the reading load is really quite heavy, but if I consistently read, every day, as much as I can, I will get through it.

And that the writing is far less substantive heartens me.

I will have to have a big online presence, which will be a little new for me, but I have done it before with a couple of my former classes, so it’s not a completely new experience, it will just have to be something that I am consistent with.

There is going to be a lot of me working on this for a long time.

I’m grateful though, I’m grateful for the opportunity to do the work and I’m grateful to be excited and I’m grateful for the talk I had with my professor after class ended.

I went up to him and thanked him for presenting the class how he did and I told him that he had assuaged the last tiny feelings of why wasn’t I just going for a PhD in Psychology versus doing a PhD in Transformative Studies.

He asked after my inquiry and I told him what I was thinking about and he got excited.

HE GOT EXCITED!

For a tenured core faculty professor who has published over 50 articles and written I don’t know how many books, but more than one, he published his first when he was just 30, and he speaks five fucking languages, for this professor to be excited by my idea was really such a great feeling.

I think I floated away from the classroom.

I mean.

I am tired.

It’s been a lot of showing up, being present, paying attention, taking copious notes, reading, although not as much as I did yesterday, I tried to connect more with the cohort today and hung out with my fellows and talk, but I still did read, and being out of my comfort zone, in a new environment, yeah.

Tired.

But good tired.

And tired happy.

Tired that there’s going to be so much.

But also tired with a purpose.

I have a purpose, there’s an end goal and the program is exquisitely designed to get me to that finishing point.

In fact.

As far as PhD programs go, they have one of the highest success rates of programs in the United States for actually getting PhD students all the way through the process to the doctoral degree.

Most programs see 30% drop out in the first year.

So seeing the mechanics of how it works and what I have to do to get there and how thoughtfully it was all laid out.

Well.

It made me smile.

It really did.

IMG_E4816

 

It’s Almost Time

May 19, 2018

I literally just watched a video on how to put on my cap and gown for tomorrow’s commencement.

I sort of had to.

I have tried on the whole outfit once, but forgot how to put on the hood, which as a Master’s Degree recipient you don’t actually wear.

As a doctoral student when I graduate they will place the hood on your head, but for the Master’s you just wear it draped over your shoulders.

When I first tried it on I put the hood on backwards and I looked like I was a priest.

The cap and gown are black and my Master’s hood is gold with navy.

I ahem, actually got my nails done to match my hood.

I know.

I know.

Hush.

I don’t think I will often rock gold glitter nails, but you know, once in a lifetime when I get to walk the stage and accept my Master’s Degree I think gold glitter is appropriate.

hahahaha.

I will be a professional and have the nail polish removed by the time I see clients on Monday.

But I did have fun at the nail salon picking out the color, I saw it and I was like, oh snap, I can totally match my graduation gown.

I also had fun getting the damn wire removed from my nose today.

I did not write my blog last night as I was horrendously uncomfortable.

I had my endoscopy yesterday and they did a test that required me to wear a wire for twenty-four hours and record when I ate, drank, or slept, it measured the Ph level of the acid reflux when I had it.

Although, to tell you the truth and a bit to my annoyance, I did not have any reflux yesterday!

But there was nothing to do but wear the damn thing, I wasn’t going to take it out.

I had trepidations about sleeping, I was hooked up to this little machine all night long and I was afraid if I rolled over in my sleep that I would knock the box on the floor and it would pull the wire out of my nose.

Very grateful that did not happen.

And extremely grateful that when I went back today to the GI lab at Sutter on Buchanan that a nurse took it out in less than two seconds.

She asked me how the experience was and I reported I had been pretty uncomfortable with it.

It hurt my throat where it was laying and I lost my voice a tiny bit and it constantly tickled my nose, I had a slightly runny nose all night and all day until I had the wire taken out, I also sneezed a lot.

Nevertheless it’s done and then I was able to go over to the Inner Sunset and meet my mom.

My mom that I haven’t seen in four years.

Oh.

We keep in touch, but she lives in Florida and I live in California and what with work and school and internship, life, etc, four years.

It’s very sweet that she and her partner have come out to see me walk.

I can tell she is very proud.

We had coffees and tea and caught up and then went and met up with some of my fellows in the neighborhood for an hour and then we had dinner at Marnee Thai at 9th and Irving.

They were very happy with the food.

I was happy too.

It was nice to share my school experiences and it was nice to introduce them to some of the folks in my fellowship.

I felt pretty grateful.

And.

Tomorrow I walk.

I’m actually doing it.

I’m actually walking.

I’m graduating.

I’m still not 100% sure what I’m wearing, but I have some ideas and I will have plenty of time in the morning to work all of that out.

I’ll probably leave the house around 12:15/12:30p.m.

The commencement ceremony is being held at The Nourse Theater in Hayes Valley.

I have to be there at 1:15p.m.

There’s a dress rehearsal for the graduating classes at 1:30p.m.

They will open the doors to the theater at 2:15p.m. and the ceremony begins at 3p.m. lasting until 5p.m.

I’m going to have to bring some lunch or a snack with me.

Then.

Off to the beach!

Super excited about the party.

Although a bit bummed about how chilly it’s been today, and looks like it will be for tomorrow, cool, overcast, breezy, cold, got to wear layers for sure.

I usually wear leggings under my dresses here in the city, San Francisco is mercurial with its micro-climates, but I’m thinking I may also want to stash a pair of tennis shoes in my trunk and some cozy socks, so that once I finish with the formalities of the graduation ceremony I can hop into some kicks for the beach.

I plan on driving straight from the event to the party.

I have a feeling some of my guests are going to be there early, like the family I nanny for, since they have kids, and I want to make sure I get out there when guests start arriving.

Plus.

Well.

Bonfire.

I do love a good beach bonfire and I haven’t had one in quite some time.

It feels fitting to have the celebration with a big fire and a sunset at the beach, despite the coolness of the weather, it will be fun, I’m going to pack a scarf in my car too.

I should just have a bag of warm things in the car at all times anyway.

Anyway.

Enough about the weather.

It’s time to wind down so I can be ready for tomorrow!

So.

So.

So.

Excited!

Done!

May 7, 2018

I’m done!

I’m done!

I’m done!

It feels so good.

I walked out of my last class of my last weekend of my last semester of my Master’s in Integral Counseling Psychology today at 4p.m.

Every paper turned in.

Every presentation done.

Everything finished.

Well.

Heh.

Almost.

I still have two pieces of paper that need to be signed by my supervisors that I will have to return to the campus by May 23rd to be officially finished.

But class is done.

No more homework.

At least not for the summer.

Don’t even ask me what it’s going to look like for my PhD.

I can’t even go there yet.

And I shouldn’t.

I need to bask in the moment.

It really hasn’t hit me yet.

I was asked what I was going to do to celebrate and that won’t really happen until I have my graduation ceremony and party.

I was asked if I was going to take any time off.

Ha.

God.

I would love to.

But I dive right back into work tomorrow.

And although I don’t have supervision with my supervisor, I do have to go to his office and get paper work signed off.

So.

I will actually be heading into Hayes Valley to see him.

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to go back to his office, but I do, and thankfully I won’t have to stay for too long.

He told me to just drop off the paperwork to his mailbox and he would send it back to me, so I’ll do that, I’ve got my self-addressed stamped envelope all set, and then when I get it in the mail I can drop it back off to CIIS.

It’s a bit of a hassle, but it’s doable.

And since I don’t have a session with him and since I don’t have to actually see him in person I will be taking my time getting there.

I’m going to let myself sleep in a little.

Not a lot, but at least an hour longer than I have gotten up for the last five days.

And then off to my regular day, full-time work, and then two clients in the evening.

There will be no real break for me until next weekend.

I’ll still have to attend supervision and group supervision, I’ll be doing that from 2-5p.m. instead of 2-4p.m. to be able to cover all my clients.

I still have to have more supervision until I get my Associate MFT number from the BBS.

But.

When I get that bad boy.

Well.

Shit is going to change.

I’m going to exit from my current internship and start-up with my private practice internship.

I can’t wait.

It’s going to be so nice.

And I’m actually thinking that I won’t pick up any extra clients at my current internship.

I will be terminating with one client on Thursday and I think that I will stay at 7 clients instead of 8, give myself a little break, and if I want I can take a consult but not pick up a new client.

Especially since I would just be transferring them as soon as I start the private practice internship.

I cannot wait for that.

It will be such a nice change for me, and it will have some of the trappings of my current internship since it is in the same building space.

Grateful for that.

I know where it is, I’m comfortable with the location and I know other therapists in the building.

That feels really good.

But for now.

Let me pull back and just reflect on the fact that I got through.

I got the fuck through this Master’s program.

I have a Master’s Degree!

God damn.

It’s done.

Three years of grinding and hard work and reading and reading and more reading and writing paper after paper after paper.

Three years of skipping out on all sorts of fun to do all sorts of work.

Three years of growth and deep learning.

My god.

I have learned so much.

And now I’m an Associate MFT, number pending, with the BBS.

I’m a post-graduate intern.

That’s nice.

It’s really nice.

I just updated a bunch of stuff on my LinkedIn account.

That was fun.

I still have to figure out how to change my signature on my internship email to reflect the Master’s and the next level on the BBS ladder to licensure.

So much work.

My God.

I’m tired.

It was a big weekend.

And I’m pretty grateful it’s done.

I think it’s time for tea and chilling out.

A little quiet reflection to allow myself to recognize and appreciate all the hard work I have done.

It was a lot.

So much.

So very much.

And so fucking worth it.

Every last-minute of it.

Every.

Single.

One.

Hold That Thought

April 18, 2018

I was supposed to register today for my fall semester in the Transformative Inquiry PhD program.

But.

Nope.

Holds on my registration.

My first thought, “but I don’t have any over due library books!”

Literally.

Second thought, “or videos!”

When I was in my undergraduate program at UW Madison Four Star Video was affiliated with the UW system, I don’t really know why, but it was and I had a video that was over due.

By like a year.

And the school wouldn’t release my financial aid funds until I returned the video.

But I had already.

Or so I thought.

I had given the video to my boyfriend, my first boyfriend, now that I think of it, Rob, to return to the video store.

He said he did.

But as it turns out, he did not.

I hadn’t been dating him in a while, a while for me at least, six, seven months, and had barely seen him around the campus, he wasn’t a student, but his father was a professor in mathematics at the school.

I was so broke.

I remember it so distinctly.

I really needed my financial aid and I had to pay out $90 to the video store to replace the rental.

It was “Gone With The Wind,” I have no idea why they hell I had rented that movie, although I do like it, though the book is so much better, and was astonished that to replace the video it would be $90.

Partially because it was a double cassette movie, two different cassettes.

I am so dating myself.

I couldn’t track down Rob, but I could track down his father.

I went to his office and I waited until he had office hours.

He remembered me fondly and asked after me and I was suddenly shy to say why I was there, but I needed that money and the financial aid office refused to let it go, I mean, I reasoned, wouldn’t it make sense to just give me the fucking money and I pay the fine?

But no.

I had to pay the fine first.

I girded my loins and told Rob’s dad and he was so sweet, he opened his wallet pulled out the money and wished me the best of luck.

I ran back to Four Star Video, which was a haul, UW Madison is a huge campus and Rob’s dad’s office was on the other side of Bascom Hill, it was probably a two-mile hike, but I feel like I did it in twenty minutes.

I paid the fine.

I got my financial aid.

As it turns out, I don’t have any outstanding video rentals or over due library books, note to self, I do have a book I need to return next class session.

LAST CLASS SESSION!

I can’t get too excited yet.

I am not there.

I still have two papers to write.

I still have work to do.

My therapist and I talked a lot about it, how it feels surreal, how it doesn’t feel like it’s actually happening.

I’m having my best friend over for dinner tomorrow night to do party planning and catch up and I have to say it feels weird to be planning the party as it’s not really hit me yet that I’m going to graduate.

My therapist look at me at one point in the session and said, “you’re going to graduate.”

I’ll take her word for it.

Therapists are supposed to hold the hope.

heh.

Anyway.

The hold seems to stem from the fact that I am not yet graduated from my Master’s program and I can’t register online for a PhD while my grades are still out.

I have been provisionally accepted.

Which means I have to graduate before I can be in the program.

But.

I can register for classes.

I just have to go to school and do them via hard copy.

Hard copy!

Shit.

That sounds like craziness.

I remember when I went for my undergraduate the school had just switched from the stand in line and hand register and hope that you can get to all the classes you want to get to, to using the phone.

And man.

It was so important to call ASAP.

Once your time was up it was a hustle.

I remember waiting with my booklet of classes and the phone, dial-up, though at least not a rotary phone (although, yes we did have a rotary phone in middle school and high school, a big yellow one that hung of the wall in the kitchen nook in the house in Windsor, that had a super long curly cord that my sister would stretch tight so she could have phone calls in the bathroom without anyone overhearing her), and I would have to put in my student id pin number and then punch in the code for the class.

Sometimes I was lucky, especially by second semester Junior year and most of my Senior year, and I would get right into the classes I wanted.

But often.

So often.

I would not get what I wanted and thus began the negotiation of what class to pick up that would fulfill my schedule needs, I worked full-time (nothing’s changed, well, that’s not true, I don’t work in a bar anymore), my school requirements for my degree, and whether or not I had any interest in the class.

Sometimes I would get home from work and comb through the class lists, looking for an interesting class that I might have overlooked, sometimes I would sit on the phone, continuously dialing and re-dialing the number.

I was persistent.

Persistance paid off.

Someone would drop the class I wanted and I would be having one of my twenty-minute or half hour tries at getting into a class.

It was always the best feeling when I would dial-up a number for a class that I had been trying for days, sometimes weeks (happened a few times) and suddenly there was a spot open.

And it was tricky.

I would not be able to register for the class and then drop the one I didn’t want, I’d have to take a leap of faith and drop the class first, knowing someone might grab the class I’d drop or that someone else might be trying for the class I wanted.

It always worked out.

I remind myself of that now.

Things will work out.

I will get my papers written.

I will get it all done.

I will get registered for my PhD.

And I will have a party.

All the things.

They will happen.

I have faith.

Thank God.

So Glad

March 11, 2018

For my car.

The fog.

My God.

I don’t know that I have seen it this thick ever.

I am so glad that I rode my scooter home today in between school and my evening commitment.

My scooter was hit and run and I had ridden it home yesterday from class without too much worry, the guys at the shop pretty much said it was just some body work damage that was slight and nothing that was mechanical so go ahead and ride and bring it back in the morning.

Which I did.

And it was foggy this morning, but nothing like tonight.

I had the sense that it was going to be bad and I decided that I didn’t want to be out and get caught in it, visibility is just awful, the fog is so thick it condenses on my helmet and it might as well be rain, the roads getting slippy and if I’m riding close to the park, the fog condenses in the trees and drops down in big fat heavy wet drops on you.

No thanks.

My fear was that if I came home I might not leave, but after getting my scooter from the shop I just knew it was the best idea.

Besides, I was, I am all caught up on my homework and had nothing to do.

I suppose I could have found something to do to kill time, but I really just wanted to get my scooter home and get it covered up and put it away far a while.

I love my little car, I have become spoiled.

But the truth is.

I’m also safer in my car and I know it.

I am more visible and I drive safer and I feel so much more comfortable being warm and dry and having music.

I love having music in the car.

The fog was so dense coming home I had my windshield wipers on.

All the way home, it would have been a nightmare on my scooter.

I’m happy that I was safe and let myself have a home cooked meal as well and make a phone call with my best friend and get caught up on the day.

Plus.

I got my new glasses!

I like them.

They are different and I had a few moments of fear that I wasn’t going to like them as much as I did when I tried them originally, I also couldn’t remember what they looked like.

And they are a different look, but I think they flatter my face well and I am already used to the prescription, except when I look up quickly.

Yes.

They are progressives, the optometrists nice way of saying bifocals, so they are for both near and far and when I originally got my first pair of progressives, my just recently retired frames, it took me days to get used to the prescription and I was off-balance in very alarming ways.

I actually fell into a door at work and I walked around like I was drunk for a couple of days.

My entire equilibrium was off.

But once I got used to them, it went away and hasn’t really ever come back.

I had a touch of it for the first half hour I wore the glasses and now, well, now it’s gone and I really am happy I updated my prescription.

It’s not that much different from my previous one, but it is a little stronger and I have noticed the difference.

I like clarity.

I like seeing things well.

It’s nice to have them and I am sure I will get used to the frames as well and how they look on my face.

I’m already wondering about how to wear my hair tomorrow.

And.

Fuck.

Also being annoyed that I am losing an hour of sleep for Daylight Savings time.

I was already planning on getting up early so I could get in a shower before class and I forgot I have to turn my clock ahead.

Ugh.

I guess I’m getting up really early.

Which is fine.

I’ll show up to class and be on time, like I always am.

I do like being in school, even when it annoys the piss out of me, like it did yesterday, I do like showing up and seeing the people in my cohort and I also like running into people who haven’t seen me for years who are all excited about my upcoming graduation.

That happened tonight when I went out to do the deal.

I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in four years, possible a little more.

And it was so good.

It was good to talk about life, she’s gotten married, I have gotten 3/4s of the way through grad school, and get caught up.

“You’re going to be an amazing therapist!” She said tonight.

That feels really nice to hear.

It’s been such work.

And I’m grateful for the work, it means I’m alive and I get to keep learning and that life is not, no it is not, at all boring.

I can say that without a shadow of a doubt.

My life is not fucking boring.

It is full of love, passion, adventure, emotion.

Oh.

All the emotion.

I have feelings.

And they tell me that I am very much alive.

Grateful for those, feelings, even when they are hard to hold or I want them to be different from what is coming up.

I find that today, in this moment, after much work, and I know it is not done or even near to completion, that I have a great container to hold those feelings.

A vast, enormous heart that is ever expansive.

To feel is to know that I am alive.

Oh.

Man.

I am so alive.

So in love with life.

So.

In.

Love.

With.

Well.

You.

Darling.

Of course.

You.

Just Do The Next Thing

March 10, 2018

In front of you.

I was talking to a friend of mine in the cohort at school about a particularly challenging classroom situation today.

It was the first class of the day, the first day of class, third weekend, last semester.

Many of the folks in my class described having a feeling of “senioritis” and not wanting to do the work.

I was like.

Shut the fuck up bitches.

I did the fucking work.

You can do the god damn work too.

Alas.

I did not share that.

I took my judgmental ass and sat on the floor for a student led guided meditation for the class.

Guided meditation my ass.

I laughed inside, someone, me, has some contempt about this.

I sat quietly while the person leading the meditation walked around the classroom and beat on a drum.

Are you fucking kidding me?

I could not follow.

I instead choose to ignore the spiritual bypassing schlock and said the serenity prayer in my head on a loop and slowly relaxed.

Until the drumming got intense and insistent and intruded into my nice quite brain.

And that was sort of how class was.

Insistent, annoying, intrusive.

My issued with my cohort or certain members of the cohort is that when they haven’t done the work, many of us who have, bear the brunt of them having to be informed again and again about the nature of the work and their responsibilities thereof.

It’s a waste of fucking time.

My time is precious.

I’m paying a fuck load of money to be in school, I have made constant self-sacrifice to be there, I have taken on tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, I have had little social life over the last two and three-quarters years, and less sleep, I have missed fellowshipping opportunities to do school, have worked and worked and worked and read and studied and, and, and.

SHUT THE FUCK UP WITH YOUR WHINY ASS BITCHING.

Ugh.

There.

Sorry.

I don’t mean to yell.

I just got overwhelmed with it today.

There is a kind of refusal to take accountability for ones actions that rubs my fur the wrong way.

I was rubbed the wrong way a bit.

I felt like a frazzled cat that had fallen in the bathtub.

I did manage to self-soothe and breathe and pay attention to the information the professor was giving us.

And man.

There is a lot of information.

There was a two page  hand out with fine print and websites and dates and timelines and schedules and paper work in triplicate and my God, I don’t know, the encryption codes to the lottery is what it felt like.

There are a lot of hoops to get licensed and today I sat through a three-hour long class on what hoops I have to jump.

There were some folks who had no idea the number of hoops and were bogged down in the why didn’t anyone tell me all this information before and why am I now learning it and fuck, I didn’t do that thing that you’re telling me I need to do, what am I going to do?

Well.

I don’t know.

But you can get your whiny ass self to shut up and listen and perhaps instead of interrupting and wanting to change things to fit your agenda better you could just go with what’s happening, read the material, write the papers, and pay attention.

Works for me.

Anyway.

I am obviously taking someone’s inventory here.

And you know what?

I don’t want to make that persons amends.

That person has their own path and if truth were to be told, which is what this blog is about, trying to get as close to the truth as my skewed vision can get, I don’t want to be on that persons path.

I like mine just fine.

I have my challenges, obviously, low tolerance for bullshit being one of them, who doesn’t, but I don’t have to allow myself to be affected by another’s.

So I just sat and let the drama unfold and when I needed to take a break I texted with my best friend and connected to the outside world for brief moments.

I am so grateful I did.

Good juicy little reminders of my life outside of the classroom.

Which is sort of the whole point of being in the classroom, to learn the things that I need to know so that I may carry them out into the world and be a better person and for damn sure, a better therapist.

My own personal issues lead me down great paths of discovery and learning and I am not blind to this knowledge.

My biggest challenges over the past year have shown me the depth of love I have, great huge reservoirs of it, and where I really need to grow and allow more in.

There’s always the growth.

And today I got to grow by acknowledging that I’m not doing it perfect either.

I got anxious in class.

I got nervous about all the requirements and the “t’s”to cross, the “i’s” to dot.

But I also gotten to deepen my faith a little more and just focus on the next thing in front of me, having faith that the things that need to get done, will, in fact, get done.

I do have to do some more paperwork for graduation and I do need to get some signatures from my supervisors, my therapist (my Master’s program requires that I am in therapy with a licensed MFT while I am in practicum, therefore I have to get a piece of paper signed by my therapist that says I have done 50 sessions with her–I will actually hit session 50 four days before I graduate) and there are a few other odds and ends I want to make sure that I do.

But overall.

I got this.

Oh.

I know there will be moments of panic, or anxiety or fear that I am doing it wrong but I think of the people who I know who have graduated the program and I know more than a handful, and I relax.

They did it.

So too can I.

I know I can.

I know it.

So all I have to do tonight is pack my bag for classes in the morning and have a nice hot cup of tea.

I have done all that I possibly could have.

And then some.

Almost There!

February 25, 2018

I am almost done with my PhD application!

I have submitted my writing sample–ten pages of an academic paper I wrote for my Transpersonal Spirituality class.

I figured that was a good paper to submit to the program as it, the PhD, is in Transformative Inquiry.

I refreshed and polished my resume and updated it so that it was applicable to the application and I sent that in as well.

I did the online application and submitted that.

I contacted both of the people who wrote me letters of recommendation and confirmed that they had sent said letters to the department.

And.

I ordered my transcripts from UW Madison and CIIS.

I was a little miffed at first that I had to order transcripts.

Can’t the admissions office just look up the transcripts I already sent in from UW Madison when I applied for the Masters program?

And.

Really?

Does the admissions department need a sealed envelope from the registrars office.

Can’t someone just walk that shit down from the 4th floor to the second floor?

I mean.

Fucking come on.

But.

Then I was like.

Ok, not my rules, not my bailiwick, not my place to criticize, not going to change anything by getting all fired up and I certainly am not going to fucking sabotage myself by not getting the transcripts to the admissions team.

So.

I shelled out the $40 bucks and ordered them to be delivered.

They should get there by the time the deadline closes for the applications.

And if they don’t, which I think they will, I will contact the dean of the Transformative Inquiry program and show copies of the receipts indicating that the materials are on the way.

I don’t think it will be a problem and I will also, now that I’m thinking about it, draft her an e-mail and just let her know I was unaware that they would need my transcripts again since I am currently enrolled at the university, that I paid to have them rushed delivered and shit, she can just look me up online and see that I have a 4.0 for my Masters degree.

It’s silly stuff, but I’d rather pay out the little extra and make sure that I dot my “i’s” and cross my “t’s.”

And really I am happy to do the work.

Although it is a little nerve-wracking.

I had a moment earlier today when I just didn’t know if I was going to get it all done and it felt really overwhelming and I had a mild fuck it moment.

But.

Then I remembered the glowing letters of recommendation that I have received and I thought about how disappointed I would be in myself and I just told myself to take some deep breaths and just do the next action in front of me.

Nothing more.

Just that.

Which at one point was just wash my breakfast dishes.

Then.

It was to do my morning writing.

I had hit a place in the online application process where I felt I was too anxious to continue doing it and I realized that a good way to quell that anxiety would be to do my morning pages.

So.

I just stopped working on the application and wrote three and a half pages long hand and then I did my hair and make up.

I got sassy today too.

I was feeling it.

It helps sometimes for me to get sassy when I am working on something like this, it brings my energy up to be playful and dressed up.

I dare say it worked.

I also focused on doing what the next thing was all day long.

After I got my transcripts ordered I had to mail out a piece of mail and I had to go to group supervision.

So.

I did just that.

I got in my car and I drove to the nearest mailbox and I sent off a signed document for permission to send my transcripts from CIIS to CIIS.

I let go of resentment and judgement around it and just sent in the request.

Then I drove to my internship.

Getting there with just enough time to run to Gus’s Market and grab a to go box and get a salad for lunch.

I sat through two hours of group supervision, I discussed clients, I talked about personal self-care, I checked in about a new client and I supported the other trainees in the room with their processes.

After group supervision I dashed over to Optical Underground, which had moved from Grant Avenue to Linden Alley.

The traffic was hellacious, but I made it there on time and I was able to pick out two new frames for my new prescription.

I, yes, splurged on some prescription sunglasses, and I got a nice new pair for progressive glasses for every day use.

I also asked that they tighten up my current frames, which had gone all loosey goosey on me.

I am really happy I got the glasses and then I bounced to the bank to deposit a check from my employers for the over time I worked this past week.

They always pay me for overtime in cash rather than having me get taxed, which is really quite nice.

Filled up the car with gas and found parking close to my nail salon.

Manicure and eye brow waxing.

Then off to do the deal.

And back home.

I wasn’t going to do a bunch more work on the application.

But I had a moment of realizing that I could do it, that there were in fact, a few things that I could just address tonight and get out-of-the-way.

Thus the resume, the transcript order (first one I did earlier and I couldn’t figure out how to access my UW Madison account before I left for group supervision) for the second set of transcripts, the academic writing sample (ten pages that I went back over and combed and edited to tighten and polish), and the resume.

And.

Voila!

I only have to do the autobiographical statement tomorrow and a statement about my goals for the program.

I should be able to knock that out in an hour.

Very happy with everything I got done today.

God damn.

I am almost done with my PhD application!

How crazy is that?

I’ll Just Leave This Right Here

February 9, 2018

For: CARMEN MARTINES

To whom it may concern: I am writing this letter on behalf of Carmen Martines, in strong and unequivocal support for her in applying to the Transformative Inquiry doctoral program. I have known Carmen since she started here in the Master’s Degree ICP Weekend program in 2015. She was remarkable, astute, smart and dedicated then, and she has only gotten better in all the areas of competence, of heart and of relatedness that are central to being a therapist. Carmen has been a consistent, always ready and engaged learner, able to manage course load, timeliness and presence in classes. Evaluations by faculty of her clinical and theoretical work and progress have been consistently high, but more importantly, have emphasized her empathic presence, social justice awareness and interpersonal care. Overall, she makes good choices, works hard at staying personally and interpersonally aware and engaged. I trust her, and truly believe that she will benefit herself, the TID program and the community by getting that doctorate. There are many more positive things I can say about Carmen in support of her application, but I think you get the picture! Please contact me right away if you have any questions or any hesitations about accepting her in this journey! Thank you,

 

Um yeah.

THANK YOU!

So freaking happy when I read this.

I reached out today to my advisor, who also happens to be the head of the department for the program I am in at school, and asked him how my letter of recommendation was coming for my PhD application to the Transformative Inquiry Department at the school I am currently enrolled in as a Masters in Integral Counseling Psychology.

Wow.

I was not expecting the quick response.

And.

The funny thing was that I was so busy at work that I had forgotten I had even reached out to him.

I had this little moment today when I was putting the baby down for a nap that I should check in with my advisor about the letter.

The application to the PhD program is due by the end of this month.

I haven’t done a lot of work on it as of yet.

I have filled out the really basic stuff and I have notified the school that I will be graduating my program in May and thus able to apply to the PhD program.

My transcripts look great.

4.0.

And even if I was to get less than perfect grades for the last semester, it wouldn’t matter, my application will be processed far before I graduate, two months, perhaps even two and a half months before I will wrap my last weekend of classes.

So for all intents and purposes I’m applying with a 4.0 to the program.

Thank you, thank you very much.

I have done a lot of work in the program.

So much.

Intense personal work.

And let me tell you, never was I more grateful for it than tonight.

I had the client session to end all client sessions.

I obviously cannot divulge what happened in session.

Confidentiality.

But.

It was one of the most intense sessions I have ever had, if not the most intense.

I had to work, consciously and with great compassion and awareness of what was happening not just for the client but for myself.

I had to not let myself get swallowed up in the session.

I held my own.

But I have to say, it took some time to shake it off after the session wrapped and the client left.

I did a lot of deep breathing.

I shook myself out.

Literally.

I stood up after writing my progress notes in the file and I shook my arms and legs and stomped my feet and brushed off my arms and prayed.

Then I went to the bathroom and slowly went out to my car.

There was a lot of activity, drug activity, happening on the street, and though I wasn’t parked too near it, I was hyper aware of being a solo woman walking down the street where there were a good-sized group of men using openly.

I got into my car and called a friend of mine in cohort.

I told her what was happening.

Not the contents of the session, again, that’s unethical and illegal, and breaks the client confidentiality.

But.

l was able to share with my friend that I was deregulated and that I had just walked past a bunch of guys using, and I was alone and I just needed to connect with a human.

Thank God for my car.

So, so, so grateful to be warm and safe and able to use the bluetooth to talk to my friend while I drove home.

We caught up, made lunch plans to eat together at the break tomorrow, talked about her kids, my job, life, and by the time I was home and parking my car, I was calm and together.

But wow.

That was one hell of an experience.

Super aware too how much I will have to process with my supervisor on Monday about the session, but for now, well, I can shelf it and attend to getting ready for the weekend of classes.

I am pleased to report my lunch is packed, my books and notebooks and folders are all set, I have my coffee ready to go, all I have to do is take my lunch out of my fridge and put it in my bag and off I go.

I will be taking my scooter to class.

My campus is downtown, a block away from the Twitter HQ.

There is no parking.

None.

Not for a car.

Not on a Friday.

But there is plenty for a scooter.

Parking aside, I also have a lot to do tomorrow.

I’ll be leaving class a little early to go to my first optometry appointment with UCSF.

Then some doing the deal at Irving and 7th and then back to my internship to do a consult with a referral.

I got a referral!

And after.

Dinner with my best friend.

It’s a full day, and a day where I will need to be in multiple places with expediency.

I will need the scooter.

Grateful for the option to use it.

Although, I admit I was sad to park my car, I have gotten so fond of driving her, I even briefly entertained driving it, but to park, if I even found a spot, would be exorbitant.

So, the scooter it is.

I’m ready for classes, all my work done, all my reading, the paper turned in.

I just need to show up and participate.

I can do that.

And if I play my cards right.

I will get my PhD application done this Sunday after I get out of class.

If I don’t, I still have a couple of weeks.

I’m just super happy to have gotten the letter.

It was so nice to read after I got home.

Really.

Really.

Really.

Nice.

I’m Going To Try

January 30, 2018

And I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do it.

But.

I am going to try to get up and go to a yoga class tomorrow morning at 7a.m.

Which means getting to bed really soon.

Like almost now.

I thought.

Maybe I won’t blog.

Haha.

Yeah.

Like I could even do that if I wanted to.

My day seems to hinge on my writing practice, in the morning and in the evening and it feels so integral to who I am that to not write feels to wierd.

Especially to not write so that I can get enough sleep to get up to go to yoga before I go to therapy before I go to work before I see two clients in the evening before I do the deal before I pass out from exhaustion just reading that sentence.

Run on sentences, no bueno.

Anyway.

The thing is I have been saying pretty much every week that I want to try to get to this morning yoga class.

It’s just super tight on my schedule.

But not so tight that it’s not doable.

It means a few things.

It means having to get my shit together really fast once the class is done, shower, dress, make up, hair, breakfast–which would probably be in the car on the way to therapy or after therapy.

It would mean no coffee.

I don’t have my coffee set up in a way that’s expeditious to make and drink and slam out of the house.

Sure.

I have cold brew in the fridge, but it’s not cold brew weather and it’s not my super yummy vanilla almond milk latte I make myself in the morning.

And breakfast would be cold too, probably a couple of apples or a green drink that I can whip up and throw in a Mason jar.

This is when I think to myself that it’s time to get a really good blender so that I can make a smoothie to take out the door with me.

I’ve had this thought before too, the blender smoothie thing.

Then I think about how I’ll miss writing my morning pages if I go to yoga.

Then I think.

But yoga.

And it feels good.

My brain argues, sleep in, rest, don’t get up.

Just take a nice morning like you usually do and do your routine.

That being said I have also told myself every damn time that I make a yoga class that I wish I was going at least one more time a week.

And what with my current schedule and the schedule at the studio I don’t have another option.

So.

Yeah.

The great Tuesday morning 7 a.m. yoga debate continues.

I really have had this discussion in my head every week for the past month or so.

Ever since I saw it pop up on the yoga studio schedule.

And.

It’s taught by my favorite teacher, so I know I’ll like it.

Ugh.

I should just compromise, write a short blog, drink some tea, eat an apple, watch a little tasted of Peaky Blinders and go to bed.

Sleep is also important to me.

All the things that I try to balance.

I don’t always succeed, but I do find that I am efficient with my time.

For instance.

Today I had some time between supervision and work so I drove to work and sat in my car parked on the street in front of the house and read from a text-book for a half hour.

I also read from that same text-book for the twenty minutes I had before my first client tonight.

I knocked out three-quarters of what I needed to read in that book.

If I keep that going I will be able to have a lot of my reading done for the next weekend of classes.

Just finding the little spaces and places where I can do that is important.

Especially since I have another paper assignment due next weekend.

Well.

Not exactly due next weekend, but by February 8th one part and by February 9th the other.

The thing is because of my work schedule and my internship schedule I find myself having to write my papers the weekend before they are due.

So I’ll be writing it this weekend.

And I also need to put together my application for the Transpersonal Inquiry PhD program.

I have one of my letters of recommendation and I can fill out the rest of the application.

I have started it, but not finished.

I need to also write-up a personal statement and put together a writing sample.

Prove I can write, you know.

I wish I could just send a link to this blog and say, “here you go, just read that.”

Not that it would necessarily be the kind of writing the department is looking for.

However, it would show that I have a strong writing practice.

At least I think so.

Anyway.

Grateful to be home, in front of my laptop with a nice dinner in my belly.

I had an upset stomach again today, the acid reflux is better some days and worse others and I’ve now gotten a second prescription filled and I’m just hoping that it stops soon.

If I have to refill the meds a third time I’m going to have to go back in and be seen again.

Fingers crossed.

I also know that it’s been a super emotional past ten days, to two weeks for me.

Two weeks, it’s been two weeks of super big emotions, mostly sad ones, so the tummy being upset is not unusual, not at all.

But I am grateful, again and again, to keep walking through this and doing the work.

I know what a gift this experience has been, painful as fuck, but beautiful in its own way too.

For there is no lack of love, there is in fact, so much love that I am constantly awed by it.

Awed.

The love is so big.

I am besotted and graced with that knowledge.

I am loved.

And.

I love.

To love and be loved.

It is.

Absolutely.

The best thing in the world.

Seriously.


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