Monthly Archives: March 2011

Holding Patterns

Sometimes I just feel like I’m in a holding pattern. Like an airplane circling above its destination waiting to land. I never seem to have my life completely together or balanced. For example, work is going well, but my personal life may be in shambles. So work could probably be even better if  my home life were not in disarray.

Right now, I’m making progress in therapy getting my head together. Unfortunately, my love life is down the drain and the rug was recently pulled out from under me at work. So needless to say, I feel unbalanced. I would really like to know what it feels like when everything is going right all at the same time. Is that possible? Is that what normal is? How long do I have to wait to land?

Have I Given Up Things?

Most people say that as you get old you have to give up things. I think you get old because you do give up things. —-Theodore Green

I don’t know who Ted Green is, but he got me thinking…have I given up things? I believe I have, but always rationalized it somehow. Thought it was part of growing up and being mature, the trade-off for having a family, etc. Was I supposed to let things go? Does everyone let things go? Do women just let things go?

Still having some deep discussions in therapy, a lot surrounding my career and choices. I have let things go because I made this career choice of nursing and thought I had to do certain things to be “successful.” Let’s just say I’m a high achiever, went to a high achieving college and nursing program and being “just a nurse” was not enough. I felt like I was expected to represent my high level of education and achievement by leap-frogging into management or something. So I did. This of course left little time for other pursuits as I was juggling being a single parent and fighting with my ex in and out of court. So I gave away little pieces and parts of what I enjoyed and had pursued before nursing dominated my life. Like ceramics and photography. Like needle arts and sewing. There were many things that I gave up along the way that I am slowly trying to retrieve. But now I am wondering if one of these things or perhaps something else altogether should occupy my work time instead?

More than halfway down the road and I’m questioning EVERYTHING. Doesn’t make for day-to-day stability. Some days I just want to escape and not have to think about any of it. I feel like a big goof. But then I think, I don’t hate nursing, I just don’t have a passion for it like some do. I’ve done a lot of good things during my career, and I’ve touched a lot of lives in a positive way. I am proud of that. It’s not a total wash. I don’t regret what I’ve done so far, although it has been a rough road at a number of turns. I just wonder if it’s time to take the road less travelled. Mr. Frost says it will make all the difference.

Saint Juliana – Patron Saint of Chronic Illness

Depression is a chronic illness for some people (lucky me!). Those of us in this situation are fortunate to have our very own patron saint, Juliana of Falconieri. She was the Italian foundress of the Sisters of the Third Order of Servites. Now I’m not Catholic, but I  think it’s pretty nifty to have a saint that is designated specifically for chronic illness. Her order dedicated itself to care of the sick and other acts of mercy. Not an easy task, for sure. They even wore specially designed habits with shorter sleeves to make working easier. Such industrious women.

Juliana led her order for thirty-five years. She was honored as a saint immediately after her death. Not that I plan on converting or anything, but it’s nice to celebrate someone who was so dedicated to doing God’s work and represents a certain need. She must have been an early version of Mother Theresa. In case you do want to celebrate her life, her feast day is June 19th, the date of her death.

I guess the point is, faith can help us deal with chronic illness and we can access multiple resources besides what we have been taught. Inspiration can come from more than just one source without being sacrilegious.  Hope you find your inspirations.

Listen, It’s More Than Just Shutting Up

Every once in a while I think we all take the time to be still for a moment and just listen…It can be in the midst of a hectic day at work or a lull in a Saturday afternoon. Right now I’m being still at home. The furnace just kicked on, I can hear the hum of the dryer as it tosses the towels about. I can also hear the twitter (how we used to use the word) of the birds outside that came back way too early this year. And the tick of the clock hanging on the wall above me. So there are lots of noises going on besides the constant noise in my head (and I’m not referring to the chronic tinnitus I’ve developed from ear infections either). 

But do we listen to each other? One of the skills I’ve developed as a nurse is the ability to listen to patients and families. Sometimes people just need to talk without interruption. Listening with intention is a skill. It’s becoming invested in what someone is saying, having empathy, being moved to respond meaningfully. Sometimes when we talk, we don’t want solutions or answers, we just need to be heard. It means we have truly connected with another human being, having communicated our thoughts and feelings.

At times it is ok to just be in the silence together. The unsaid is just as meaningful/powerful as what is given over to words. The old cliché of “reading between the lines” is an apt description of the power of the nonverbal. Listen  to the silence. What hasn’t been said? What might it mean? Perhaps we should just ponder it…in silence.

Thankful for Mud

So thankful that I have something besides work to keep me busy. Recently got back into pottery, and have been literally up to my elbows in mud. I love working with clay, both wheel-throwing and hand-building. It feels really good to do something creative, it nurtures the soul somehow.

Handling the clay is a process. Sometimes I have an idea in mind for what I’d like it to become, and sometimes I just let the clay have its way. Sounds a little queer to say that, but there are times it can’t be forced to do what you want it to do. You have to listen and relax. Not fighting with the clay is a challenge. I don’t want to experience frustration because this is a time of enjoyment for me. I sure don’t need any stress over mud!

Wheel-throwing takes patience for me. As a left-handed person, I’ve had to adapt to doing things as a right-handed person would do, just to make life simpler. Throwing is a metaphor for life. The first thing you do is center the clay. If it’s not centered properly, nothing else will go well. Certainly is a metaphor for my life. Being the slightest bit off kilter emotionally or spiritually can affect EVERYTHING ELSE. Fortunately, between the potter’s hands, a bit of pressure and water, the clay will become centered. I seem to take a little more effort to get settled than that. Perhaps I should  meditate or pray more, I don’t know. I’ll have to figure that out. Right now I am enjoying the physical activity of the clay. It helps me feel centered as my creativity is expressed.