What do you choose NOW?

What do you choose NOW?

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Liz grew up with both parents drug addicts. They would spend their nights shooting up while Liz would watch. Hardly ever going to school, Liz talks about how she would be lucky if there was mayo and bread to eat. Liz’s mom gets AIDS and her dad goes to a homeless shelter when Liz is in junior high (Liz is still really not going to school). When 17, Liz realizes “If life could change for the worst, i thought, than maybe life could change for the better…it was possible I could change everything.” Liz went on to graduate from an alternative high school and then was accepted into Harvard and graduated from Harvard.

This is the story I’ve been telling my patients the last few days because this is the book I finished last week. It’s called Breaking Night by Liz Murray and it’s an amazing story.

And then I came across this quote the other day which I immediately saved and will share with patients: “A lot of people feel like they’re victims in life, and they’ll often point to past events, perhaps growing up with an abusive parent or in a dysfunctional family. Most psychologists believe that about 85 percent of families are dysfunctional, so all of a sudden you’re not so unique. My parents were alcoholics. My dad abused me. My mother divorced him when I was six…I mean, that’s almost everybody’s story in some form or not. The real question is, what are you going to do now? What do you choose now? Because you can either keep focusing on that, or you can focus on what you want. And when people start focusing on what they want, what they don’t want falls away, and what they want expands, and the other part disappears.” ― Rhonda Byrne

 

Slowly Seeing More Light

Slowly Seeing More Light

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I’ve been looking at the computer screen lately and wanting to write but not feeling up to writing…I’m going through a funk and I just haven’t felt like myself. I think I’m slowly seeing more light now.

I realize I have no desire to move to Denver so I haven’t been looking at jobs in the Denver area. I’m staying focused on the area I live in…I guess, after 8 or 9 months if I still haven’t found full time work, I’ll start applying for jobs in Denver.

A friend recently wrote this to me: “I am aware that you’ve encountered a variety of hurdles in getting situated in the right work at the right time in the right place, etc. I salute your persistence.” And I’ve been thinking lately why is life so difficult for me?? I’m tired of moving, tired of being fired, tired of being single…So I think these things BUT then I tell myself what I tell my patients at the jail: If I continue to think of all of the things that suck in my life, I’d be miserable. So I have to tell myself STOP thinking about those things and put my mind on something positive (family, friends, my health, etc.) I tell those at the jail this and then I say: “I just met you so I don’t know what will make you feel better, but you gotta put your mind on something else or you are going to drive yourself crazy.”

With therapy, I like to give clients reading material so they don’t feel all alone. At the psych hospital, for those dealing with depression, I gave out over and over again a quote from one of Jenny Lawson’s books. For those who dealt with anxiety, a quote from https://jolenemottern.com/ And now for those at the jail, I give them the following from Damien Echols:

”For those who aren’t familiar with my story, I grew up in West Memphis, Arkansas, and I was sent to death row when I was 18 years old for three counts of capital murder. I spent 18 years and 76 days on death row before we were finally able to do DNA testing that led to my eventual release in 2011.

When I first went to prison, the day that I walked onto death row, there was a man in there who became a priest in the Rinzai Zen tradition of Japanese Buddhism. Before he was executed he told me, “You can either turn your cell into a monastery and learn and grow, or you can sit in here and go stark raving nuts. You can lose your mind.” And that’s what most people did in there. Most people couldn’t hold it together long enough. There’s no momentum in prison. ..You exist in a vacuum. If you want to keep growing, learning, expanding, you have to make yourself do it. And that was what I decided to do…I was trapped in a cell 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The last 10 years I was in prison, I was in solitary confinement. I had no contact with other people. It made it very, very easy to stay focused on the meditation techniques. Even if I reached a point where I was bored, if I thought, “I don’t want to have to do this again,” it was like, “Well, what else are you going to do?”

When it comes to karma, the number one thing I would like to say is that you can go through life being a victor or a victim. You’re going to have to face your karma. You can go through life with a “poor me” attitude—“Why me? Why this?”or you can go through it saying: “I’m going to honor my life. I’m going to honor my karma. I’m going to come through this. I’m going to be stronger, I’m going to be wiser, I’m going to help spread what I learned from this situation to other people.”

So starting today, I’m stopping the “poor me” attitude and going to honor my life.

 

 

What you do when you screw up…

What you do when you screw up…

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You keep looking ahead. Don’t beat yourself up because life is hard enough as it is. Believe the universe has a plan. That it will get better. And that anything can happen tomorrow.

I just realized this weekend that the past 2 years of time that I thought was going towards me becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker is not going to count. Why? Well, when I was going to school for social work, I was working full time plus I had an internship and so basically I was running around with my head cut off. My school gave me a 3 page handout on licensure requirements and I just didn’t read the steps in detail…I can’t believe I screwed up.  YET, I also know things will eventually work out.

Life Sure does get Messy Sometimes, Doesn’t it

Life Sure does get Messy Sometimes, Doesn’t it

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A couple of my friends are going through horrible stuff with their husbands. =( As a friend was telling me last night about her situation (husband cheating on her) I got shivers up and down my spine. I couldn’t believe this was happening to her because she loves her husband sooo much. It’s so sad.  Another friend’s husband is taking all his stress out on her and she said their relationship has not been healthy for the past month.  He’s been so rude and I said she doesn’t deserve to be talked to that way. I said she can stay with me for a few days if she wants. She didn’t take me up on my offer and said “marriage is hard sometimes.” I hope it gets better soon for her.

Financially, I’m not doing well at all. I’m making just enough $$ to pay the rent and my car payment. My credit card bill is really high now so I’m worried about that. I’ve been telling myself that I’ll make more $$ once I get my LCSW (which will hopefully be in a month) and then things will get better. Also talking myself through my worse case scenario (I don’t pass the LCSW test) so I’m prepared for that…I sure am a good therapist to myself…lol =)

After working more shifts at the jail, I’m feeling better about helping those in the detention center. Last week, I talked to a guy in his late 40s who said he had such a good life until he was 36. Now, he is having constant suicidal thoughts. He talked about how he has only been out of jail for a couple of weeks this entire year. I asked what he did during those couple of weeks and he said: “I did nothing. I didn’t eat and I was just using drugs.” So I let him know then this is why he is in jail: he had no hope when he was out and he had given up so he’s back to learn he does have options once he is released.

I talked to another guy who was only 18 and he said he didn’t understand why his girlfriend lied. He said he knew his girlfriend since he was 12 or 13 and they were in the same group home. He hadn’t been sleeping and I could see the dark circles under his eyes. So young to not be sleeping well. Then I talked to a woman who was sobbing because she received a letter from her teenage son who wrote he tried committing suicide.  She said she doesn’t know what she will do if her son kills himself. She also talked about how she felt no one in her jail pod liked her and she is afraid she is going to lose her “good time.” I don’t know what “good time” means (I’ll have to ask about this my next shift) but she stated over and over she doesn’t want to lose her good time.

I want to close with a quote I found one day…I sent this to one of my friend’s this morning and want to share it on here too:

“Your soul is requiring you to heal deeper, to elevate past the hurt, to transcend beyond what happened, to let go of what and who no longer serves you, to protect your energy daily, to get the lesson, to master your thoughts and emotions, to forgive yourself, to love yourself unconditionally and to honor your body temple; all in order to thrive and vibrate higher daily.” Lalah Delai

NEVER SETTLE

NEVER SETTLE

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I have had a pit in my stomach the past week because I realize I’m not going to get enough hours at the jail. I think I’m going to have to move back to the city.  And so, I’ve been doing lots of self talk telling myself that I had no issues with living in the city when I lived there before.  I actually LOVED the city. But see, I love the town I’m in now even more and that’s why part of me feels uneasy about moving. Yet, maybe this is the universe telling me that I’m not going to meet my soulmate in this town so I need to get back to the city where there will be more options. Plus, I’ll be close to family; have tons of options for live music, and the friends that I hold dear to my heart will be geographically close to me again.

So my plan is to take a LCSW study session class offered in August; take the test in September; and then start looking for jobs in an inpatient psych hospital after that….as we know, plans can change at any minute, but this is what my brain has been thinking about A LOT lately.

I just recently started following Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook…I read Eat, Pray, Love as soon as it came out 10 years ago. Anyways, I had time to kill so I was looking through her past posts and this is from her March 29, 2016 post on Facebook that I think everyone needs to read:

My mother “was talking about how frustrating she finds it that — somewhere around the age of 50 or 60 — she watched as so many of her peers stopped making goals and long-term plans for adventure and exploration in their lives. Instead, they began shutting down, and making their lives smaller, and their minds smaller, too. She got so weary of listening to them making self-deprecating jokes about how old they were, and how much their bodies hurt, and how bad their hearing and eyesight was getting… She felt they had surrendered to age far, far, far too soon. My mom said, “Nothing is more frustrating to me than listening to people who are still vital saying, ‘Well, at our age, you have to be careful…'”

No. She begs to differ. As you get older, there is no more time to be careful, and no more REASON to be careful — at least as my mom sees it. Instead, this is time to seize as much life and joy and adventure and learning and novelty as you possibly can. As my mom said, “I hate seeing people slide themselves into the grave far before their time. Death will come when it comes — but it’s crazy to sit around waiting for it. If you’re not dead yet, you’re not done yet.”

My mom thinks that everyone should have a five-year plan for their lives, and also a ten-year plan, and a twenty-year plan — and that every few years you have to revisit your plans to see if your goals and aspirations have changed…and that you should never stop making these plans, even as you age. (Especially as you age!) She has shared with me the travel she wants to do in the next 20 years, and work she wants to finish, the projects she wants to begin, the cultures she wants to explore, the people she wants to enjoy, her fitness goals…

It’s inspiring.

I have heard people speak of their lives as if they were finished at 30, done at 40, washed up at 50, too late to start over at 60, no more chances at 70…

But are you still here?

Then you aren’t done yet.

Don’t make your life smaller as the years pass. If it’s time to start over, then it’s time to start over. If you aren’t where you planned to be, then it’s time to make a new plan….Rise up, everyone, and keep rising. We are still here. There is much to be done and enjoyed.”