Looking for Inspiration…

inspirationDo you ever come to your blog and really want to write but not feeling inspired?  I even went for a run this evening without music and try to be inspired for a blog post.  I got nothin’!  Then I went roaming through my blogs I read and all though they were great and I enjoyed reading them, I still got nothin’!  So why write?  Cause I want to!  So now what to write about, well what about inspiration!  That’s inspiring!

When you lack inspiration what do you do to get it?  As you can tell, I tend to go for a run.  Sometimes I read a book or blog.  But then in the moments when I am able to be calm and reflect on my life I seek inspiration in things I have been through, things I have learned and people who mean the most to me.

One of my biggest inspirations was my Grandfather.  I use to spend Saturday mornings at his house baking cinnamon rolls from scratch (if you have ever done this you know it takes a long time).  When we finished, we had at least 10 pie tins of cinnamon rolls, as much as I wanted to, I could never eat that many.  So what did we do with them?  I use to take them to the neighbor’s houses and share our baking talents, funny the neighbors always answered the door for free baked goods!  I can’t remember ever going to a door that was not answered!

As I sit here and think about my Granddad who died over 21 years ago, I am inspired by his generosity and his love for others.  I feel like he is with me every day in my work when I listen to someone and a thought pops up to provide them insight it is like he is there either helping me or just providing me comfort in the thought that I can do this.  I know when I run, he is there.  He is cheering me on and at times even pushing me across that last finish line or last little bit of my training run.

My favorite picture of my inspiration.  Love him!

My favorite picture of my inspiration. Love him!

Although I live over 1500 miles from where I use to bake cinnamon rolls with my Granddad, there is a place nearby that reminds me of him and oddly enough I am there at least once a week (usually on Thursdays).  When I moved up to Massachusetts I was a little homesick and missed my family plus was unsure about this new state.  I found myself driving around a lot.  There was a place close by that was once an active military base that is now mainly public and driving through you can get a sense of what kinds of activities use to take place there.  A large field was once used for staging of military personal before they went off to war is now used as soccer fields.  The officer’s homes are now single family residences.  There is history all over and when I would drive around this place, I felt a sense of peace, of calming.

Then shortly after I moved to Massachusetts, I returned to OKC for my grandmother’s funeral.  When spending time with my dad after the funeral we were going through some of grandmother’s papers we found a poem that my grandfather had written to my grandmother on a piece of tree bark (I know odd right, I’m sure they had paper).  The poem was beautiful but what I remember the most about it was the fact that at the top he had written the date and his location at the time of writing the poem.  He was stationed at the military base in Massachusetts that I now lived near and it was written before he headed off to war.  Things started coming together, the peace, the calm I got, the feeling that my Granddad is always near me especially so far from home.

Now when I drive through this military base on a weekly basis, he is all I can think of.  I am comforted in knowing I am doing something he would be proud of (therapy), I am setting huge goals for myself and achieving in my running, and he is my inspiration.

Thanks for letting me share….(I guess I got inspired!)

What/Who inspires you?

One of my Granddad's favorite bible quotes.  I think it says it all about his life.

One of my Granddad’s favorite bible quotes. I think it says it all about his life.

I signed up!

Well that is how it always starts right.  We sign up for something.  We decide that we are going to do something that either we have never done before, want to do again or just want a change.  Well I made the commitment last night to run another half marathon, the Iron Horse Half-marathon.  Sounds like fun right.  But I made that commitment to do it in three weeks.  My thoughts went something like this, “why the heck not, you just ran a marathon a few weeks ago why not just do it and this one is closer to home.”  13.1

How often do you put yourself out on a limb?  Try something new or just try it again?!  Why or why not?  I’m doing it to get me out of the funk that was created from the completion of the marathon.  I have one main goal during this half marathon which is to complete it under 1:58:59 because that is my PR and I feel like my running has prepared me for that but I would never know that without actually putting myself out there.  That is what we are really doing, isn’t it.  We are putting ourselves out there, taking a chance at failure but with that a chance for success.  My hope is that we can all find something to put ourselves out there for on a daily basis because without that we never grow.  We never change.  We never reach a personal best or a new success.

Your challenge for the week is to try something new, reach beyond yourself and find something new to try.

Oh my!!!

bostonAs a person who lives in Massachusetts and always calls today, “Marathon Monday”, I am overwhelmed at the events that occurred today in Boston.  I have shed some tears and been sick to my stomach since I heard the news.  I could hardly wait to get home from work to see the results and feel the joy of marathoners to give me that last training burst before my marathon in a few weeks and now I just sit in shock while watching the coverage on the news.

A wonderful thing occurs in such tragedies like this, we reach out to each other and try to understand “why”.  We rely on each other and look for hope.  We become stronger.

I have no more words to even digest this whole thing at this time but I found this quote that I thought was appropriate right now.

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”

The Role of Faith

Tell us about the role that faith plays in your life — or doesn’t. – Daily Prompt

faith (2)Merriam Webster defines Faith as:

1.a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty

(1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions

2a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion

(1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust

3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction;especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestantfaith>

Faith to me is first a belief in a power greater than myself.  I define mine as God and have faith that there is some rhyme or reason to why things happen the way they do!  There have been many reasons I have this faith and they all date back to growing up in a Christian home with strong values.  My faith in God is and has always been strong especially through the challenges I have faced in 40 years of life.

More recently faith in myself has been what I have been working on.  Not to say I do not have self-worth or self-esteem, I’m just saying that as I try new things (like whether to train for a marathon or starting a new job after grad school) I tend to lack faith in my abilities.  I am starting to really understand that it is these challenges that make me grow and give me more confidence but it’s hard!  I know because each day I meet with people face to face who describe these challenges/trials/insurmountable obstacles and ask me for help.  I waiver in my faith in myself that I can do it and sometimes I can’t but I have found that I am just a director, a person to help steer them to grow and face their problems on their own helping them to have faith in themselves.  It’s crazy how that word keeps popping up in my day to day life.  So how can I not have faith? faith (1)

Right now I am challenged because I want to do something more with my running.  I am pretty sure I want to run a marathon (the longest distance ever in my life!) but my faith keeps wavering.  Nice questions pop up in my head like, “Really, do you think you can really run that far?”, “Are you crazy?” (that one’s my favorite because I know the answer is yes), “Once you get out there 13.1 miles you have to get back do you think you can do that?”.  So this is where my faith in myself and my ability to train and prepare need to get me through.  I feel like the little engine that could, “I think I can, I think I can.”

And isn’t that what Faith is really about anyway?!  Thinking we can, trying it, and whether we succeed or fail at least we tried and that in and of itself builds our faith.  Every day I am unsure whether I can give the right advice or really hear what a Client is trying to say, yet I try it anyway.  I do no harm and have faith in my ability to empathize.  Every day I am challenged to continue my faith in a power greater than myself, God, and I continue to believe that He will give me the words to say and the abilities needed to make it through.  Every day I am challenged to get a run in to keep training for the next race or just to stay in shape and when I am finished with that run/workout I have stronger faith in my abilities.  This is how faith plays a role in my life.  How about yours?faith

Nerves, Doubts, and Anxiety

Today was my first day at my new job, thank you Hurricane Sandy!  (It was supposed to be yesterday but we had a visitor instead!)  The nerves, anxiety and doubt began to creep in about Saturday but were full blown by Sunday evening.  It began with, “you seriously took a different job.  Now what are you going to do to convince this group you know what you are doing?”  This was all courtesy of my friend and yours “negative nancy”.   (You might have a different name for her but that is mine.  You are welcome to use it if you want because I find labeling it as a great coping skill!)

Anyway since I was unable to start work on Monday, I got to let “Nancy” take over my brain for a little while longer.  I woke up this morning with her in full control.  (see it happens to all of us!) The wonderful part (very sarcastic at this point) was that I got to drive for an hour and a half for orientation.  By the time I got to orientation I was fully convinced that I had made a huge mistake and I should call my old work and ask for my job back (which I did not do by the way!).   Why do we do this?  Why do we let our doubts, anxiety, nerves take over?

For me, my only answer is lack of self-confidence.  Again, like I have said in the past, we get stuck in our heads and all we can see is our negative aspects.  I guess that is why they say it takes 5 positive things to contradict one negative thing.  It is so much easier to believe the negative.  We seemed to be drawn to negative.  I don’t want to be that.  I want to be drawn to the positive.  I want to be a stronger person with more self-confidence.  But how do we do that?  Well here is what I am doing.  I gonna remember we are all human and doubts are normal.  My boss didn’t get her job knowing everything she was going to be doing but someone saw in her the skills needed to do the job.  They saw that same quality in me when I came for the interview.  They had confidence that I could do the job that they were looking to fill.  Also, I do have a degree in this field.  I didn’t just get that in a box of Cracker Jacks.  It took 3 long years of hard graduate work and now a year and a half of experience.  I may not know the job in full but I will learn it!  Every other clinician in my position started where I am today.

Back to the rest of the story… I was at my orientation in the waiting room with 7 other clinicians and we were talking about what the expectations of the job were.  They were all in the same boat, wondering if they could do the job.  It was great to hear others in the doubt phase and really made me feel more comfortable about making the right choice.

I really learned that you have to step out of your comfort zone to grow (I know I am my own worst client once again because I could easily point this fact out to my clients.  Just not ready to face it myself).  So I am stepping out of my comfort zone, meeting my nerves, doubt and anxiety head on and good news I know the coping skills to deal with them and I am going to really begin to listen to what I would tell others and use it for myself.

Motivational Monday

Found this  for motivational monday at this blog (http://notsalmon.com/blog/page/8/#).  You should go visit because she has lots of great stuff.

 

I am currently reading this book: 

because I thought it would be a great way to prepare for my new job and continue on my path to being a better, stronger therapist.  Here is the website that goes along with the book: http://happiness-project.com/

I hope you will take the time to explore it all.

Happy Monday!

Motivational Monday

My journey has been long and hard at times but I appreciate all I have learned along the way.  I look back on my journey and agree that it has molded me and I am better, stronger, and able to face situations better because of what I have been through.  I am excited for new things along my road.  I am optimistic that these too will be molding events.

Think about your journey.  Can you find motivation to continue on through all you have learned?  I hope so.  You are worth it!

 

 

Values

What does the word values mean to you?  Dictionary.com’s definition as a verb is “to consider with respect to worth, excellence, usefulness, or importance” and “to regard or esteem highly”.  So I ask, what are your values, what do you esteem highly, respect, or put in the highest importance?  Have you ever made a list and really looked at it?  Why not?  You should give it a try.

Well I have a job that makes me have others do this but I was wondering what my list would look like and would it surprise me?  So I did it and here it is:

  • Family
  • Faith
  • Friends
  • Financial Security (seem to be stuck on the F’s)
  • Knowledge/Learning
  • Exercise/Running/Health
  • Career

This is just a quick list but I think it pretty much covers it.  It doesn’t surprise me at all.  It actually just firms up what I already knew.  My relationships and health I value over my career.  This may seem weird but when you are a people person like me, it doesn’t.  My mom keeps telling me that she didn’t think I would ever work a 40 hour a week job (she knows me way to well, love you mom).  This was usually because I was in school all the time and couldn’t do it but the more I think about it, I’m not sure I want to work a 40 hour a week job.  I want to make enough money to be financially secure but in the mental health field 40 hours a week is very draining on your own mental health.  So obviously I am still looking for balance in the career aspect of things.

Now I look at my life as it is right now and compare it to the values I just listed.  Am I on track with my values?  I think so.  Are there some things I can work on?  Of course, I’m human and I go through times of placing more value on things than others.  So now I need to decide what I need to change.  I have a few ideas.  I need to spend some more time on making financially smart decisions, after all next year our last one will go off to college and somehow I have to figure out how to pay for that.  I need to spend more time with my friends.  Because of some recent circumstances, I have let relationships with friends be put on the back burner, but I think I am ready to bring them to the present once again.

We all know that my exercise/health is an important value and I try to work on that daily.  (Latest run of 6 miles this morning in what had to be 1000% humidity!)  Still working on eating better but I think I do pretty good (I’m not eating as many chocolate chip cookies and ice cream as I really want to eat!  Moderation!). 

So my overall reflection is that I have think I have strong values that I am working to make stronger and I am thankful I took a moment to really think about and explore my thoughts regarding them.   Now it is up to you.  Make a list of your values, examine your life and how they fit in.  If it is not what you want, then it is time to make some changes.  If it is, then congrats.  Keep up the great work!

Faith and Powerlessness

I spend my days working with Clients in a 12 step program.  If you have never taken a moment to read the 12 steps here is your chance:

The 12 Steps

  • Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  • Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  • Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
  • Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  • Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  • Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
  • Step 7: Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
  • Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
  • Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  • Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
  • Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this

Wouldn’t we have a better world if we all lived by the 12 steps!

I talk about this because in my work we generally focus on step 1: Powerlessness.  Have you have taken a moment and thought about that?  I have (surprise, surprise!).  But I truly have thought about this in the past 5 months.    We were faced with unemployment just as I was getting ready to graduate and start a career.  Notice I said start, not, I had already begun.  I became powerless over my life overnight.  Needed to take a job, which I currently still have, I needed to take care of my family but I was feeling out of control.  Here is where the Faith part comes in…

I grew up in the Midwest (bible belt) and I was raised in the church, which is not a bad thing, in fact it made me who I am today.  So I turned to my faith during this difficult time, not specific religious belief but faith in my higher power who for me is God.  Through my work, I see miracles happen everyday.  We even say to the clients, “Don’t leave before the miracle happens”.  This means from the small things like “Don’t worry your day will get better to guess what we found placement for you and you leave in an hour.”  To me these are miracles.  But when I am in need of a miracle, a new job for my other half and for my world to no longer be chaotic I tend to try to take my will back.  Try to control everything around me (I guess that could be the Taurus in me too).  I have to remember I am powerless over my world.  Only my Higher Power has that  understanding of why things happen and He knows I will learn from them.  But man, why does it have to take so long!

The good news… My other half started a job yesterday and things will get better financially and hopefully a little easier for me because I will not have to try and take more overtime just to pay the bills.  But I was wondering today when I had a very long drive taking my daughter to dance camp, what did I learn through this process?  Well here is what I learned… I spent a lot of time working on myself and my faith and trusting in the future that has already been mapped out for me but has not been revealed.  I learned to start my day with a devotional and focus on what I can give the world today, not tomorrow and not what I did yesterday, but today!  Live in the present!  Only focus on the moment right now and what is before me because as much as we try we can’t change what is going to happen in 5 mins because we have no idea.  It is the choice we make right now that matters.

I also started January 1 with a gratitude journal.  Even though the big event in our life did not happen until February, I had already challenged myself to take a moment each morning and be thankful for what I already had been given.  This is especially humbling when you work with people who only have the clothes on their backs and no place to go.  I noticed that when we are challenged by events in our lives it takes more to come up with the things we are grateful for, so this was a challenge but now 8 months in I still come up with new things each day (to be honest in the winter I was grateful  for that electric start on my car! especially in the snow!) and I start my day that way.

So why say all this and really do I have to be so wordy!  The answer is yes to the wordy part!!  But why do I feel like I have to say all this, because once we admit that we are powerless and we begin to have faith and trust, the load we carry gets a lot lighter.  It becomes easier to get through the day.  I look back now and realize all the things we as a family and me as the sole provider made it through.  I am stronger and have more faith in myself that I could do it again if called upon (where believe me in the beginning there were lots of tears and doubt).  I also have a stronger faith in my Higher Power because for me this verse kept popping up:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

So my therapy for you is… through hard times or even just everyday, be grateful for what you have already been given and trust in yourself.  You already possess the skills to survive you just need some faith because we truly are powerless over the future.  Be present in every moment!