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

 

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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.

 

 

Life is Worth Fighting For

Life is Worth Fighting For

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Last week, some friends were getting together but I was in a horrible, shitty, depressed mood.  I was also heartbroken. The job that I loved and looked forward to going to every day was taken from me. I started sobbing.

“You coming tonight?! I want to see you!” A text pops up from my friend Francis. A few minutes later another text, this time from my friend Shannon: “Everything ok? You still coming?”

I wasn’t going. I had no desire to leave my apartment.

But then on Friday, I get the call: The jail wants to hire me as a PRN therapist. My new boss told me that she wanted to hire me for the full time position but since I don’t have my license yet, the higher ups said I could only be hired for the PRN position. And with that, I see a little light. And as much as I loved my last job, I have always been drawn to other populations I have worked with (children, developmentally disabled, seniors) so I am sure it will also happen with this job. Everyone deserves to be listened to…I’ve said that for years and years and I am glad I will be able to be that person for those in jail.

So as cheesy as it sounds, DO NOT give up. It will get better. Just be patient.

I’ll close with two quotes from books I’ve read this past week that I felt was written just for me:

“There was some relief at surviving what you might have thought was not survivable. No one would ever choose to have cancer or to be raped but you don’t get to choose. It is possible at least to understand what Ernest Becker meant when he said something like ‘To live fully is to live with an awareness of the rumble of terror that underlies everything.'” From the book About Alice by Calvin Trillin.

(And of course, I’m not comparing what I’ve been through to cancer or rape…I just loved this thought)

“Without the pain there is no relief. And I remind myself that I’m lucky to be able to feel such great sorrow, and also such great happiness. I can grab on to each moment of joy and live in those moments because I have seen the bright contrast from dark to light and back again. I am privileged to be able to recognize that the sound of laughter is a blessing and a song, and to realize that the bright hours spent with my family and friends are extraordinary treasures to be saved, because those same moments are a medicine, a balm. Those moments are a promise that life is worth fighting for, and that promise is what pulls me through when depression distorts reality and tried to convince me otherwise.” From Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

The Universe has something else planned for me. I just don’t know it yet

The Universe has something else planned for me. I just don’t know it yet

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I was looking at a new blog today and the person was unemployed and she talked about all she did last week and I at first I thought I should follow her cause I thought I’d be inspired. But today, as I was reading it, I was thinking “Dang, this gal accomplished way too much last week” so it was just depressing and I decided to unfollow her.

Unemployment is the best test for self love. If you can’t love yourself when you have no where to go and nothing to do, you’re screwed. The first time I was fired, it was after being at the same library for 9 years so I knew I needed a change. I spent my unemployment time excited that I was going to start a new career in social work. It also gave me time to start loving myself which I had never really done before. The second time I was fired, I was in a tiny town that had only had one stoplight so I learned to love myself even more. Now, I truly do love myself so it will be interesting to see what I discover this time around.

I don’t know anyone else who has been fired. Not one single person. And thinking about all three times that it has happened to me, every single time had to due with personality conflicts. And overall, I’m a pretty cool chic. And here is proof because this is what some of my coworkers had to say when they found out last week: “Will miss you my friend. Take care and keep in touch. You will go on to do bigger and better things without all the bull.” AND “Supper bummed out over here. Praying for you friend! I’m buying drinks next time too.” AND “You rock, I’m always here for you!” AND “What??? You are a very kind and an fabulous person!!! You are a super star!!!!” AND “Holy shit, I’m so sorry that happened. We will miss you terribly but maybe in some odd way what everyone thinks finally got back to her. Something better is headed your way girl.” AND “I’m so sad (and frustrated) after hearing about what happened today. You always brightened my day at work. You are such a bright, compassionate soul and i will miss seeing your face in the office. Let me know if I can do anything for you ❤️”

So as I get over being disappointed in myself, I’m trying to remember once again the wisdom I’ve given hundreds of others and telling myself the universe has something else planned for me. I just don’t know it yet.

It could be worse

It could be worse

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Every ounce in my body does not even like thinking about the idea of having to look for work again. But things could be worse, I’m telling myself today. I could have cancer and having to go to chemo. I could have been sexually assaulted and  having nightmares every night. I could have Schizophrenia and believe my parents have stolen thousands of dollars from me.  I have been reading inspirational quotes all day and I think my favorite is: “GRATITUDE…the thing inside all of us that gives us the power to turn any situation from shitty to shiny.” So that’s what I’m trying to do…Be thankful for what I do have.

I’ve received tons of support from my coworkers…My friend/coworker Stacy wrote me this: “You didn’t threaten her. She should have accepted your apology and handled it like an adult, not a vindictive child. That was nothing that couldn’t have been worked out. Shows her true character.”