Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.

3Apr/200

Gifts Gratefully Received

Standing beneath trees
Abundant with bright blossoms;
Hopeful, tender Life.

I went out today and saw a dear student, physically distant as I admired her garden. She made CK and I each two cotton masks, beautiful creations that will allow us to more safely do necessary errands.

I’ve felt increasingly anxious about my rare trips out. A student asked if we wanted some and I took her up on the offer, gratefully, and shared with her hoe it was helping my anxiety! Ironically, as I was on this errand the CDC issued a statement recommending masks!

I feel loved. I am taking it in, trying to really pay attention. This gift, the sweetener of including CK, the money I’ve been making, the generosity. It is this reminder that I am valued, worthy. I’m not a toxic person who destroys people.

1Apr/200

Poetry and Gratitude

Hey, it's April, which happens to be National Poetry Month, and I'm trying to think of creative projects. Reviving the old 30 Poems in 30 Days challenge!

April Haiku

Raindrops fill flowers.
Delicate cups overflow.
April showers fall.

I'm grateful for these fancy primroses CK grew from seed. I'm grateful for her exuberant return to gardening. I'm grateful her job is secure and she likes it.

I often have moments where I'm grateful that my Mother is dead. This ghoul of a President at least wasn’t elected by her, because she would have voted for his “straight talking” ways. She would have been the Boomer playing down the seriousness of COVID and telling me I’m overreacting, being a drama queen.

Her death freed me to heal, to finally see the full scope of the abuse, to really connect to the terrified child I was. Connecting to that child self is helping me to see how remarkable I was.

How remarkable I am.

17Mar/200

So it Goes

Today has been harder.

Anxious Brain got all wound up seeing peers already offering online classes, on top of the anxiety of these terrifying times. I'm making a space that will work well, which brings up shame for having any chaotic stress in the house at all, which brings up worries about money with everything shutting down, which brings up money shame, which makes Anxiety Brain certain I'm Not Doing Enough!

That’s my Tuesday. This is the state of Anxiety Brain and there’s very little reasoning with it, just have to soothe and wait it out. It is just whether it’s at today despite recording 2 videos, creating, and scheduling a newsletter yesterday, doing several chores, and figuring out how to move prescriptions to the mail-order pharmacy today. Despite several emails from students grateful for my newsletter.

Anxiety Brain is a jerk, mostly.

I contemplated takeout and was overcome with fear of sick people being obliged to make because they don't have healthcare and capitalism is built upon misery.

So we've learned that fear might be the best motivator for not getting takeout in favor of cooking the food you already have in there house.

In good news: my wife loves having me home to play Magic with her at lunchtime, plus my making lunch. I’ve received really touching messages from people who are missing me teaching as much as I am!

9Mar/200

The Gift of Comfort

I’m wearing a hoodie my wife gave me. She’s given me several over the years. When I’m feeling low one of her hoodies or one that she’s given me will help me feel comforted.

I was thinking the other day of my ex-husband, AP, who once took me on a shopping trip where he bought me a strapless party dress to wear out to an event he was taking me to. We had a polyamorous marriage and over the years I watched him repeat this act with other women. I recently saw a social media post that referenced that this is still something he does.

It was not a comfortable dress. It required a special bra and I was often worried about a “wardrobe malfunction”. I felt, as I was meant to, all dolled up. I made a great accessory, I was pleasant to look at and could decent conversation.

This felt so familiar. My Mother regularly dictated my clothing choices to me, either through manipulation or the financial control parents exert over children. When I’d display my own flair, she would copy me.

She had almost no boundaries and raised me to be afraid of establishing any with her.

I was folding hoodies on Sunday, putting away the laundry, and thinking of all the gifts she’s given me over the years. There’s been purely ornamental, decorative items, artwork, beautiful scarves, and jewelry. Many really clever, helpful, thoughtful tools and toys. Art supplies, even adding out to her wedding vows to keep me stocked! Many comforting, comfortable things, like hoodies.

Gifts of comfort, gifts to bolster me on hard days*, gifts to build up my creative side. The gift of supporting my non-lucrative second career. Gifts that demonstrate how much attention she gives my happiness.

Not gifts to turn me into a suitable ornament.

*The image is the gift she gave me this past Tuesday, after a tough session of trauma therapy. These are sleeves for our Magic cards, I like arty ones. This “Easter Dragon” is adorable!

13Nov/170

Marking Art Gratitude

Getting my studio space useable again has meant I can create again. At an artist's meet-up I help organize someone presented a project of a collaged light plate switch cover. Since I'd got my desk available, and have continued to improve the space, I was able to finish the project I began the very next day and install it in our practice room.

While I've not been writing as much, I've been creating pages in an artist's journal I began at the beginning of the year. My depression hits hard around the holidays, with the death anniversaries of all my parents falling within a few weeks of each other. My Mother's death anniversary is the day after Thanksgiving this year and this is the first year I'm coming into them without my studies to distract me. Having the ability to go make something artistic is really a helpful tool for me, especially when my energy feels too low to write.

Having weekly art therapy appointments this past month has helped me see how having this outlet is a big benefit to my healing. Art, as my friend SJ likes to say, helps us express what words cannot. Despite my skill as a writer, there are times when words fail me and the more I learn to turn to creating art during those times, the better I'll be.

5Nov/170

Studio Gratitude

I'm grateful for having space for making art. I have a big desk with decent lighting. My desk sits near a sink for clean up and cabinets for storing canvases, old magazines, boxes, and other media I use in my art.  It hasn't been really usable space for a while, but the past week I've started to really make it a workspace again.

While I was doing my training and internship in Integrated Movement Therapy I really stepped out of making art. I wasn't doing much at all, having stopped creating when we were dealing with the last years of my Mother's life. Time to create art seems to be the first thing I cut as being a waste of time, not really "practice".

I know this isn't really true, the research demonstrates that making and creating is what helps make us feel whole. Still, it is the activity that seems to be least important. I'm trying to change that. Art not only feeds my creative side, but it is a way to express the things that are too difficult, too elusive to put into words.

Seeing an art therapist keeps things really in mind and is giving me some motivation. I do think I want to create a body of work to show. As part of my clean up and reorganizing I've made it so I can see finished works from my desk, to help keep me inspired and focused.

31Oct/170

Sunset Walks Gratitude

Today we didn't get a chance to walk the dogs during the afternoon, we ended up going as the sun was setting. Being out later, and on Halloween, meant we saw pumpkins lit up and the first groups of kids out trick-or-treating. The air was crisp, the leaves underfoot crunching. Several times our younger dog, the bulldog, went running into piles of leaves just for the fun of crunching through the leaves.

I love our walks together. Seeing the way the neighborhood changes and being out moving has become an important part of our week. We don't always get to walk together, sometimes I just take the dogs for a brisk walk, quickly around the smallest loop that our house is on. Today I had thought we might do that when my wife decided she'd join me. I just loved spending that time together, enjoying an especially vivid sunset.

30Oct/170

Flexible Schedule Gratitude

Right now I have my schedule set up so that I don't have to rush on Monday or Friday mornings. I also only work 3 evenings a week now, teaching at the same place on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening. I gave up a class that was doing fairly well on a Tuesday night because I was so tired all the time. Having the ability to have a slow start some mornings, not be out in the thick of traffic trying to get somewhere, really helps me a lot.

I am teaching 12 classes a week these days, usually seeing one client as well. I've added back in appointments with a new therapist and that's gone well so far. I feel like I'm getting to a good balance of teaching, seeing clients, caring for my own health, and household stuff like errands, grocery shopping, etc. Ideally I'd like to be where I'm seeing a client one day each week, I could add that many in and not feel too overwhelmed.

Having a schedule that's relatively flexible means that I have opportunity to do things like write, do business planning tasks, and rest if I need to. As my training wrapped up, I have found myself having more energy to tackle more things.

29Oct/170

Learning from Others Gratitude

Today I've managed to finalize a draft of an article I've been working on, publish a post to my business site, do some social media prep for posts this week, create a card of classes in town this week, and prep a new blog post for my business site for later this week. No wonder I'm feeling tired out.

I began this flurry of computer-related productivity this morning, reading a post from a friend online. A response she received hinted at how to fix the communication between two social media applications, enabling easier cross-posting. I started digging into this, fixing something I've been meaning to figure out. The ensuing conversation on this post gave me some other great resources for using media via web pages.

I just love this kind of sharing of information. The ability to learn things from people, via random connections in online conversations, is one of the things I love about the Internet.

I love to learn stuff, on my own for certain, but particularly getting to learn from someone else is particularly great. I am filled with gratitude for the connection and for the knowledge. I love it when people share their passions with me, not only do I learn more about them, but I often learn about things I might never experience.

28Oct/170

Cats Gratitude

Like dogs, I'm sure I will write more then one gratitude about cats. Today is the first of those days. While more complicated than dogs, there is so much to love about our cats. They're playful, curious, loving, and infuriating in pretty much equal parts. Cats were around growing up too, my Mother seemed to view them as the right pet to have, requiring minimal help from herself. There were a lot of times when it felt like our cat was my only source of comfort in my family.

Today I really enjoyed spending time sitting on the sofa with our tuxedo kitty. Of the two cats we have, he's most bonded to me. He's anxious, particularly about food, and really never lets me sleep in. He's attacking the bedroom door before 7am most mornings, anxious he won't get a meal and needing comfort. At night he often sits on my cushion next to me while I meditate, occasionally even bugging me to do my bedtime sit if I'm still on my laptop late.

In the words of poet Charles Bukowski:

My Cats

I know. I know.
they are limited, have different
needs and
concerns.

but I watch and learn from them.
I like the little they know,
which is so
much.

they complain but never
worry,
they walk with a surprising dignity.
they sleep with a direct simplicity that
humans just can't
understand.

their eyes are more
beautiful than our eyes.
and they can sleep 20 hours
a day
without
hesitation or
remorse.

when I am feeling
low
all I have to do is
watch my cats
and my
courage
returns.

I study these
creatures.

they are my
teachers.