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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.

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.

Yes.  Remember to count my blessings.  Each and every one of them.  Big and small and humongo and tiny.  Yes. Count them all.  Every one of the daily blessings I am gifted with, deserve counting.  Deserve acknowledgement and gratitude.

Today, Daughter of Mine and her Husband took the time out of the their day and drove through rush hour traffic to come and have dinner with me before completing their drive to Husband’s family home.  Huge Blessing!  Their effort, company and love mean the world to me, particularly at this moment in time.  During this raw and immediate transitional time; blessings can’t be ignored or come too plentifully.  I welcome each and every one with open arms and an open heart.

Thank you Universe.  Thank you Daughter of Mine & my son of many years.

Even while I typed the title to this post, I caught up to the fact that even when it feels that we are all that we have in any given moment, that we are cradled in the arms of the Universe or surrounded by the love of those far away.  We are most likely never truly all alone nor all that we have.  Our emotions can tell us that we are totally alone.  I know this, too, as a fact because that is what exactly what my heart and gut felt earlier this afternoon when my daughter turned and walked away pulling her suitcase and disappeared through the hotel lobby door.  At that moment, I most certainly felt bereft and inconsolable.

And now here a few hours later and I am gathering my knowing, calling upon my faith and praying.  Hard.  Dear Universal Powers That Be.  Dear spirit of Annie Rosa Lee Dog.  Dear Guardian Angels.  Dear Whomever or Whatever Help Outside of Myself ~ Please be here with me right now.  Please help me locate and hold onto my own inner strength, faith and hard earned life wisdom.  Please help me know that I am being cradled, soothed and comforted in my hours of need.

Tomorrow holds yet more unknowns and new-to-me demands.  And I am alone, at least physically.  Loved ones are far away and I feel their absence mightily.

If I owned the perfect GPS, I hope it would direct me to my New Home.  Because I am without a home and want a place to puff up my not yet purchased inflatable bed.  So I can rest my weary body and perhaps turn off my over-processing mind.

Today I discovered that the address that I had thought belonged to my new place of employment, which was the address I have centered my rental search around, hoping to find a place close to or within walking distance of, is not even the address where I will be working.  It was instead, the administrative office address ~ 15 minutes away from where I will actually be showing up for work 5 days per week.  Fifteen minutes.  Not many minutes.  Unless those minutes are on a freeway or located on twisty twiney roads.

I am ready to find and secure my new-to-me home.

Please GPS, point me in the right direction.

We arrived today early afternoon to this hoped-to-be-my-new-home, land.  My daughter and I.  The two of us after having braved the 3,000+ mile drive south from the Land of the Last Frontier aka Land of the Mostly Frozen and Dark.  Yes.  The two of us, mother and daughter, drove my car who goes by the name of Little Guy aka LG, down the oft times twisty twiney highway from Alaska to the Land of Sunshine & Current Drought.  This drive encompassed 6 calendar days with daily drive times between 10-13 hours, through sun, high wind, rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog, smoke, thunder and lightening.  The terrain was breathtaking and wild animals ~ bunnies, bison, black bear, moose, elk, deer, porcupine, skunk ~ as well as domestic animals ~ sheep, goats, cows, horses, donkeys ~ were abundant.

My daughter will depart on Tuesday and I will stay, here.  Alone.

But between now and then, I have this Daughter of Mine with me for two whole days.  Two additional days.  And you can bet that I will be cherishing ~ savoring ~ every one of those moments.  I will also be benefiting from her support while I feverishly search for a rental.

Let the games continue.  And dear Universe, please help me enjoy this game.

That’s how my heart and general chest area feel right now.  Clenched.  Like it’s being squeezed in a vice grip causing shallow breathing, furrowed brow and a paralysis of my body, mind and spirit.  Fear.  So palpable.  And even with all the sayings about fear not being real or what we fear is really nothing but our projections of reality, which are not real ~ even with all of that ~ I sit in fear this moment.  The moments have strung together for some days and weeks now with occasional respites of sleep, although of the troubled sort, and temporary bouts of trust and faith in Universal goodness and my own capabilities.  Mostly, I have been locked in a clenched position for some time.

In less than a week I plan on being on the road heading south.  Away from my current every day life, job, family, friends and familiar surroundings.  I am choosing this move.  I am not being sent away to a prison facility against my will.  This is an adventure, another chapter in the life of me.  A chance to begin anew.  Even knowing that all of this is true, my chest remains clenched.  Breath, shallow.

Oh faith, please return.  Breathe deep.  And again.

August 2020
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