As a clinical psychologist, I joined many other colleagues, switching from in-person to telehealth sessions, in the spring months. During this time I was unable to administer psychological assessment testing and evaluations, as the test batteries could not be conducted via telehealth. In mid-June, I resumed in-person evaluations and testing as well as psychotherapy sessions. Currently for psychotherapy only, it is the client’s choice whether they are seen via telehealth or in the office and so far the choice seems evenly split between the two options.

When sitting with clients in-person, we both wear masks, maintain the suggested six foot separation and the area is pre-and-post sanitized. With ongoing clients, we both have the benefit from knowing the others’ facial features sans the mask.

I am thinking about how this current pandemic is foisting multiple challenges upon us humans. Forcing us to consider our actions, change our behaviors and even amend and alter our thinking.  I am realizing, more and more, with each day of sitting with my clients, how COVID-19 is entering the therapy room, at least in adding another component to my clinical considerations and proffered interventions.

It used to be that my pre-greeting the client ritual, included a prayer sent to the Universe that I be able to do my best and be of some help to my client or at the very least that I do no harm. This prayer now includes that I am able to set any COVID-19 worries aside, that I exercise the ability to see my client as a human being in need and not a potential source of disease.

While in session, I have felt the dilemma of switching between being fully a clinician or a ‘mask wearing enforcer,’ as well as when/if to consider a client’s lengthy sharing of their opinion of the current pandemic being a hoax and/or another governmental effort to control us, as a clinical issue or political opinion, only.

The biggest challenge thus far has been when clients cry. When their cry, becomes a sob, increasing the force of their breath, the lowering of their mask, the blowing of their nose and the wiping of their eyes. First trial, maintaining the focus of positive regard and remaining a compassionate witness to their tears without fear of their breath. Without fear of their released droplets infecting me with COVID-19. Second consideration, the timing of reminding them to ‘mask up,’ again. And, if the tears return, the process repeats.

What is the therapeutic cost? What are the therapeutic benefits, if any, to these new considerations brought on by this pandemic?

No answers.

Not yet.

Acknowledging my weariness & flat out exhaustion. Drained from the years of noticed & felt injustices that I have experienced personally & witnessed in my immediate close circle, community & in the broader world. Microaggressions. Blatant balls in face aggression. And lest we forget the gargantuan rage living barely beneath my sweet underbelly culminating for years. Literally. Years. Of being told ‘oh, stop it.’ ‘You are just being TOO SENSITIVE,’ when I acknowledged felt racism. Named the happening. Refused to swallow ignorant, privileged oblivious words and actions.

Your message received loud & clear. SHUT UP.  Told, it is you who is faulty, not me, not us. We are not racist. Who do you think you are, to insinuate that we are? There is not ONE RACIST BONE in MY BODY, I have been told by you more than once; more than twice; more than… . We knew that you could not be trusted. Your bluster about us. Us being racists, is only a cover for your squinty-eyed, yellow-bellied, sneaky ways. After all, that is how you are, your kind. Can’t help it we suppose. Just the way God made you.

Wait. Hold up. Aren’t you supposed to be meek, mild mannered & good in the sack? Wink. Wink. Geisha Girl. Exotic One.

Dragon Lady.

Shut your mouth & don’t you dare challenge us about our ways. Our big round-eyed ways. We all know that you are just TOO SENSITIVE, always finding fault where none exists, assigning blame to age-old jokes, always looking for the slight. Well. You know what they say. You always find what you’re looking for, right? We create our own realities. It must suck to be you.

.          .          .          .          .

Guilt. Shame. I feel heavy & sorry. Sorry for not being out there, joining marchers, adding my voice to the outcry for justice. And yet. Today, I am just too damned tired from it all.

Dirty Words. TOO SENSITIVE.

Not.

Experiencing spring in the Far North Land.  A spring of many in my life.  Yet a spring unlike any other.  Typically, whatever winter blues that held me tight had loosened their grip by now.  Chased away by the light of long and longer days, warmer breezes, sensual earthy notes of the re-awakened soil and revitalized by the surge of greenery.  Usually, the blues were no match for the bright promise of summer.

Yet.

this spring, this past winter

havebeenlike no other.  and the blues simply wrapped their tentacles

their roots, deeper into my psyche, brain,

heart and person.

Thank my Higher Angel that last Friday

I spied, with my little eye      a

dandy~lion.   In all its yellow garb.

Yes.  Spring time has arrived in the Far North, Land of perpetual winter darkness.

Hallelujah.

and

Amen.

Break up.  That’s what the spring thaw in the Far North Land is often called.  Break up.  These two words encompass everything from the literal breaking up of sheets of thick ice to the gradual thawing of the mountains of dirty snow to the constant dripping of icicles from snow laden rooftops.

And then there is the gradual thaw or re-awakening of sun starved spirits.  In my case, not so much a break up as a slow unfurling of spirit shriveled & curled tight against the frigid temperature & darkness.  An audible sigh escapes my lips as I dare take in deep breaths of spring air without fear of frostbiting my lungs.  A turned up face to the blue sky & light that now stretches well into the evening hours.

Every spring finds me tripping on gratitude for having survived another winter.  A heart’s thanksgiving that the gradual thaw is progressing & taking me along for the ride.

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Sometimes when I pray, I wonder who or what is listening to my words whether said silently or aloud.  Where do they go?  These words.  My words.  Do the words arrive to the intended recipient or are they sometimes returned to sender in an empty envelope?

Garth Brooks sings that some of ‘life’s greatest gifts’ are Unanswered Prayers.  Meaning, I suppose, that another entity, in Garth’s case, God, knows better than humans.  I don’t know.

I do know that I pray regularly.  Having turned my back on organized religion moons ago, I continue to pledge allegiance to a spirituality which runs deep in my core or soul some might say.  I turn to this faith or trust in something bigger than myself frequently & consistently.  The fact that there’s a chance my prayers go no where, are undelivered to the correct address or denied out of hand, does not seem to stop my returning to this well of faith that someone    something is listening, receiving, hearing, considering my words    my meaning.

Prayer is a cornerstone of my life.  An anchor.  A comfort.  A strength.  A connection.  A touchstone.  A conduit to the all-things-are-possible, if I believe.

So whether my words are, indeed, unanswered   unheard  denied out-of-hand or temporarily lost in translation   sometimes makes no difference.  At least in the overall scheme of life.  Mine.

The benefits I receive daily   the solace & needed anchor that keeps me from being continually adrift in a too large an ocean of too-much, is worth any angst or temporary lapses in faith.

Peace be in my heart on this most sunny morning, I pray.

While perusing Facebook (FB) this morning, I read an entry titled Things I Was Convinced Would Change My Whole Life — But Didn’t. Curiosity. Mine. Hooked. Immediately. The FB author’s list also included things that did change their life. Thoughts. Mine. Whirring.

My list is relatively short, for now, but in the excitement of the moment I have no patience for delayed gratification to achieve a perfect selection. So here goes (in no specific order)…

Did Not Change

  • psychic readings ~ not one step closer to discovering my birth family origins or a myriad of other important-to-me stuff; a big step closer to being financially poorer
  • tea leaf reading ~ no second child has yet appeared
  • cabbage soup diet ~ just say ‘no thank you’ or just plain ‘no’
  • running as a sport ~ been there, done that & cannot remember why exactly
  • black leather jacket ~ maybe the leather wasn’t ‘buttery’ enough
  • years long search for birth family ~ nada
  • solo art exhibit ~ momentary rush, only

Did Change

  • down comforter ~ warmth as light as a feather (pun intended)
  • stopping smoking cigarettes ~ huge positive change
  • my daughter ~ no need to say more
  • writing memoir ~ although unpublished (yet), process clarified & aided healing
  • Annie Rosa Lee Dog ~ life changing, for sure; taught me joy
  • primary relationships ~ at least two, maybe three, truly altered my life’s course; okay maybe four
  • earning doctoral degree ~ better late than never

So, there you have it, my lists.  At least for now.  Something tells me that I will be pondering & adding for a while.

Tag.

You’re It.  Lists, please.

2015.

I’ve been away, elsewhere and not here since 2015.  Or the last time I was here, the calendar year was 2015.

And now I must re-familiarize myself on how to even post an entry.  Learn all of the new fancy bells & whistles of the blogging world.  Who am I kidding?  The most I will probably do is figure out how to add an entry.  At least for now, unless I re-commit to daily (or almost) posts.

While being not here for the past two years I have been a busy bee & much living & multiple adventures have washed under the proverbial bridge or down the river & multiple new moons have transitioned to full ones.  The most significant changes & life events have been moving out of state & then back again within a 12-month cycle.  Beginning a new job, accepting a promotion & then immediately resigning from said promotion within a month & returning to the ‘home’ state.  Within that 12-month period, I also lived in three different rentals, committed to the last rental & began putting down roots.  Literally.  Succulents were purchased, repotted & ultimately re-homed.  Furniture & home furnishings bought & assembled as needed & within three months, released.

Yes.  The Big Purge of Material Possessions took place, AGAIN.

Another very long Road Trip happened, AGAIN.

Reason?

My daughter’s medical emergency.  She needed her mama.  My daughter needed me.  And so…

And seven months later, I remain a virtual stranger in familiar surroundings & homeless to boot.  Not in the literal sense of the word I suppose as I have had a roof over my head & even my own bathroom as I have been existing (aka living) in my ex-partner’s whom I am still legally married to, condo. I have not worked or earned any money for the past seven+ months. My biggest accomplishment has been surviving the last seven+ months.

Huge. This accomplishment. Very large. Being still alive. Humongous. Weathering grief, winter’s frigid darkness.

Today I can believe spring has arrived or at the very least is well on its way. I can believe that Old Man Winter cannot & most importantly, will not, last forever. Today the return from a long long hibernation continues, fueled by renewed energy & long daylight hours. Ahhhh, yes. The light has returned to the Far North Land. Finally.

And I begin the preparations for or at the very least the hope of leaving ‘home’ once again. Yep. Yup. Affirmative. Yes. This tumbling tumbleweed is hoping to move, to blow this pop stand, to relocate, to begin anew, to head down the old highway. AGAIN.

A second job interview, this one in person, is scheduled in three weeks in a faraway place. I am on the path to a new adventure. AGAIN.

Life.

Horizons. New.

AGAIN.

the flies.  So many flies.  Small black flies.  Fruit fly size. Meaning = small.  Not tin\y but small.  Black.  Energetic.  Everywhere.  In the stair well and walkway to my temporary rental, that is.  That kind of everywhere.  Lots and lots of flies.  Black, small energetic flies.

I hate them.  I dislike them.

They disgust me.  They make me gag.  Reflexfully.

A fact of life, these small black flies.

Bummer.

Righteous anger, that is.  You may know the kind of which I write.  The kind of blazing rage that swoops through one’s entire being, igniting hatefulness and spite in its path.  But most of all, indignation.  The sort that says, “how dare you (to someone else)” or “I can’t even believe my freakin’ ears; how can someone (else) be so ignorant, mean spirited, dense… .”  The variety of anger that sits and stays for a long visit.  Settling in and stinking up the whole rest of the day or evening.  And even when the next day arrives, it’s hard to take that step back to assess one’s own part in the fracas.  Difficult to find the detour around the righteous indignation, past the poor me’s, leaving one in an emotional hungover state.  Wrung out but still sort of pissed off.  Too tired though to re-engage or rage on.

No good.  These times, those emotions.

Living large, happily, tragically or in tiny concentric circles, seems to matter little really.  The seconds, minutes, hours, days, years tick by regardless of our inner state or outward appearance.  This life, this breath, this beating of my heart continues until it all stops one day.  The exact second of the stopping is ahead of me and unknown and yet death will come as sure as the breath that I just took flowed in and out of my body because humans are not immortal.  For now, I am here on this planet occupying the space that I do in my little niche of the globe.  While I am here, I hope to contribute to the needs and care of others.  Contribute to the beauty and world conversation through my visual art, written and spoken word.  Contribute to the network of love that flows from one to another and onto others.

There may not be fame or a well known legacy left behind.  I may be remembered by few outside my family once I am gone.  And that is life.  Mainly, I wish to live the remainder of my days free of the gripping fears that beset me through much of my days and nights.  Free of the anxiety residing in my gut, muscles, heart and head.  These two conditions, fear and anxiety, serve me very little and inhibit the robust flow of life energy; dam it up, really.  Arrests the truer deeper life experiences while leaving hypertension, tense muscles and headaches in their wake.

How to release this fear.  How to let go of the anxiousness.

Sounds so simple.  Easy.  And I suppose it is.  However, I feel stuck in my fears.  I just keep walking, one foot in front of the other.  One breath after another with an occasional reminder to breathe deeply and exhale slowly.

May 2021
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