Saturday, September 15, 2018

Thoughts from the Back Porch: Back to School

I've begun my 36th new school year and have had an opportunity to reflect on the transformation from my first year as an SLP in 1983 to today.  The arc of my life has been huge and I suppose that is a wonderful thing. I mean, who wants a life that remains stagnant? My final summer post is a simple share of some of the lessons I've learned, lessons that have improved my happiness and relationships.  In sharing, I hope you are able to find among these words one or two chestnuts that you can apply to your own life. It may just be the thing you need.
As you may have read, my husband and I have joined the ranks of the empty nester set.  I haven't embraced this happily, in fact it has been very hard for me and I find the hole left in our home to be akin to the Grand Canyon. I've been thinking about all the things I thought were a big deal while the kids were little and I was juggling motherhood, volunteerism, and a career and I sure do wish I had let more things go. I wish I had not flipped over laundry not in hampers or counters not wiped to my exacting standards. I wish I had said, "No," to early morning meetings scheduled on my time that required us to rush and leave our home in a flurry of frustration. I could have, I should have placed a premium on our time over my job. It's too late now. Now I'm left with memories of me being stressed. Folks, take it from me, if we allow employers to dictate our personal time, they will. So, I would encourage you then to have the courage to say, "This doesn't work for me. Would you consider finding another time?" You won't regret it.
Now for the transformation bit. I have always been a seeker and as a result I am in a perpetual state of searching. The upside is, I often find answers, solutions, resolution, and clarity. I have searched in some pretty wacky places, too.   I’ve explored Forum whereby you can “live an extraordinary life and redefine the very nature of what’s possible.” Ummmm, in just three days, mind you. Fortunately, I never followed through with that one. I was blessed with a UTI and had to cancel. Dodged that bullet!

The best was the energy workshop. At that one I was asked if I wanted to know how many alien implants I had in me. That was followed by whether I wanted to know how many implants were supposed to be in me, their host. By all means, please, tell me how many aliens are living within me, maybe that will explain my weight. I am eating for twelve! With a finger flick and a wave a fellow participant removed the alien implants that needed to reconnoiter with the mothership. I almost lost it when the presenter informed me that, yes, in fact, the x-files are real! Sweet mother of science, all I wanted at that moment was a close encounter with an earthling. Clearly, I am a seeker, I seek transformation, but change happens organically. It doesn’t start, then stop, it’s more fluid; sometimes trickling other times surging. Where I am today I can definitively say, “You’re right, God, I am destined to do more than I thought possible.”

One weekend in 2014 I was planning to attend a weekend workshop that had been recommended by an individual I trusted implicitly. The website got me: “Are you willing to be an empowered human being?” YES! 
Do you want to “eradicate your mind of generated fears while empowering your creative self expression, authenticity, connection, and aliveness?” YES, whatever aliveness is. 
“Are you still looking for the success you feel you deserve?" YES! 
"Do you see negative patterns affecting your relationships with loved ones?"  YESSSSS!! 
"Has the realization of your supposed goals in life, career and marriage left you unsatisfied?” YES, YES, YES!!! 
I’m in! I paid my $400.00, I packed my bag, I filled my cooler, and I was off! Woohoo, healing here I come! After six hours I was running for the door! The next morning roughly 20 insights came to mind and those insights were the impetus for the transformation that I live today. They are the source of my relationships with family, friends and colleagues. Here you go. Take what you want, mull over the rest, or stop reading now, although I do hope you read on.
  1. I don’t have to have a breakdown to have a breakthrough. 
  2. Often those who profess to hold all the answers demonstrate, practice, and exhibit the same “flaws” they point out in others. I am really okay. I am loved. I am valued. I am appreciated, by God, by my friends, and by my family.
  3. I love who I am! 
  4. Often those who profess to want to help are hiding behind their altruism. Beware of collusion.
  5. I am powerful. 
  6. I love who God created me to be. 
  7. I love my husband. 
  8. I love my children. 
  9. I feel a peace and purpose in my life. 
  10. I feel a patience I haven’t known. 
  11. I feel forgiveness for those in my past who had a hand in my trauma. It all really doesn’t matter. 
  12. I am powerfully in love with God who has blessed me with these insights. 
  13. I don’t have to do it all. I only have to do what matters. 
  14. Many will spin a situation to substantiate their design. 
  15. Many will make judgments without the facts and present them as truths. That’s their interpretation of the truth. Remain grounded in what's healthy for the mind, body, and soul. 
  16. The people you think you can trust will not be there if they are challenged, afraid, or want to preserve their agenda. Trust God. Lean on him, not man. 
  17. I am loved by the King of the Universe. What do I fear? Nothing! 
  18. I can be wrong; whatever! 
  19. My husband means more to me than anyone. 
  20. I don't need to search any further than my faith. Anything else is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Stay grounded.
  21. Group think is dangerous and disconcerting.
  22. I let go. I am free!
I am telling you, that at that point while I was a believer I was not willing to give all of myself to his work. I was not willing to give up who I wanted to be and that is where my anxiety came from. My anxiety stemmed from my resistance to being all that I could be. I could transform to a point, but I still wanted to be accepted by others and conformed by their standards. I now understand that I had to yield to what I have been designed to be. I had to transform into what I have been designed to be. I want to share all of me without fearing my inadequacies, my self-doubt, my concerns with what others will think.

I am entering this new school year empowered like no year before. I don't fear what I might be asked to do. I am transformed with courage and strength. My encouragement comes in knowing I am not alone and would never be asked to do more than what I am capable of doing. It will be a good year. I am sure there will be difficult days, with difficult situations and difficult people. Difficult days don't mean I have to dive in headlong into the drama, it doesn't mean I have to collude. I can practice my "art of the pause," breathe and behave in a reasonable fashion acting as someone who has done this for 35 years. Yes, there will be difficult days, but they don't stop the clock, tomorrow will arrive. Then we have a chance to start again knowing who we are and living as those who accept who we are designed to be. Have a wonderful school year!

My last shots of summer...