Learning intensely

My schooling has been really intense the last few days.  Not so much in the “I’m studying and writing a lot” kind of way, but in the “I am learning everything about myself and it is freaking the crap out of me!” kind of way.

Digging deep and really figuring out who I am, not just who I wish I was or who I try to be or who I think others think I am—but who I really am—is totally nuts and terrifying and also very eye-opening, of course.

The class I am taking now is called Lifestyle Analysis.  We learn how to analyze a client’s Lifestyle, which is a term coined by Alfred Adler.  It shows who a person is, who she strives to be, how she perceives and relates to people and her environment, and why.  It is all very revealing and interesting and gives a clear picture of the client.  A major part of collecting a client’s Lifestyle is through Early Recollections, which is another Adlerian term.  In Early Recollections, a person gives a series of different memories from before the age of 10, in no particular order, and it doesn’t matter if they are factual or not.  They are given in the first person, and described from the beginning to the memory until the memory ends. What matters in the Early Recollections gathering is the metaphorical data and what it tells us about the client’s perspective.  Early Recollections tell us how a person lives her life now, in the present, and how they perceive themselves and the world around them.

My Early Recollections almost all involve me being alone or being only with my sister, doing something that is either a form of escape or satisfying my curiosity and/or my senses.  They involve being outside, and feeling good in the situation.  Through my ERs, I am categorized as a “comfort seeker”, among other traits. It’s unbelievable what little snippets like this can reveal.

Through my Early Recollections and Lifestyle Analysis, this is what I have learned about myself that I didn’t really consciously know until now. These are my Mistaken Beliefs:

People in power and people I admire hurt me.

People I admire cannot be trusted.

I do not want to be hurt, so I prefer to be away from people.

I get comfort through my senses, and not from people.

I use my own power to control my experience.

I take care of myself.

I protect myself.

Men are angry and powerful.

I have value when men approve of me.

There’s probably more to come, but that is where I am now.  The tears have been flowing today.  Once you get to that core and you hit the truth, it just comes pouring out.  Oh my God, and holy crap.  This is the work I have to do in order to become the therapist I want to be.  It’s also the work I have to do to live a full life and be the person I want to be.

I am kind of terrified right now.

Change

Mercury retrograde is coming to an end and words are coming back to me, so here is my third post in two days.

Looking back at some of my posts over the years, I almost don’t recognize myself.  It’s good to look back at my journey, which has been partially recorded here.  It’s kind of embarrassing and humbling, too.

I feel like it’s time to start a new space. This blog is a part of my old chapter, and it no longer feels like home.  It was born and has lived through a period of great change in my life. So much has changed in that time. I don’t need to defend myself so much anymore, and I don’t need to protect my children so much anymore.  I am safe, and all is well, and I feel pretty content regardless of what my family or others may think of me.  I am worthy as I am, and this is my life to live.

We have health insurance now, my kids are in school, Anna will go to Kindergarten and everything will be ok.  Five years ago, I probably would not have imagined I’d ever be saying those words!

I feel the need to switch gears.  I want to contribute now; I want to take my journey and transform it into change and light for others.  I want to help other people find their power.  We all have the power to overcome and change our lives for the better; it’s just a matter of finding it.

I am not sure what I will do, and I know I have said this perhaps twice before.  I think this blog will be laid to rest, but to be replaced with a fresh new blog that represents something else.  I think my writing energy will take new life in my writings for school and eventually for my Master’s thesis.  And perhaps a blog that helps people find their own power, because that is what I really want to do.

Sweetness and belated Halloween pictures

I love my little family. I love waking up to the sweet voices of my girls.  I love that they sleep in bunk beds and giggle together after the lights go out.  I love that Alan is strong and stable and reliable.  I love that he is building a shed out of old pallets.  I love that Anna is in preschool and Mia is in school, and that they are so happy there.  I love that right now, I am sitting in a cafe by myself with a cup of decaf miele and my laptop.

Here are some pictures from Halloween.  They wore matching costumes for the second year.  That’s so cute.  I love them.

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A new chapter.

I started tonight.  I had my first class as a graduate student! It was great.

I am happy and excited to begin this new chapter and look forward to everything that sits ahead of me.  I have so much to learn and so much growing to do.

My first class has only 6 other students in it.  I am thrilled.  The small number of people in class put me at ease, especially since we have to make presentations–and my greatest fear until now has been public speaking.  Speaking to 6 people is hardly public speaking, so this is a good way for me to ease into it.  I am determined and fully expect to get over my anxiety with public speaking asap–it has been a pretty obnoxious problem for me and I am ready to let it go.  So, so ready to let it go…

Up unti now I worried that I was making a mistake by investing so much time, energy and money into this; after all, I could do a lot of other things instead of getting this degree.  But after tonight, I am completely sure that this is the right path for me to follow.  I love this stuff.  I may as well make a career of it.

So happy.

What I am obsessed with at the moment

It’s interesting to look back at the various things I’ve been obsessed with over the years and how many of them have actually stuck around.  They seem to come and go with the wind. I guess it’s just a part of who I am to be curious and explore all kinds of different things.  Sometimes I think it’s pretty exhausting and wouldn’t mind being less curious.  My curiosity pulls me out of my present life and into a different world.  My kids get ignored, chores don’t get done, and so forth–but the drive to discover these things is so strong that I can’t fight it.  I have to satisfy my curiosity or I will go nuts.

The last week I have spent many hours reading about astrology, and more specifically, about astrolocation.  Astrolocation is a theory that suggests that based on the location of the planets at the time and place of your birth, there are certain places in the world that impart energies onto us that are either beneficial or not beneficial.  Some places are neutral.  I am obsessed with this.  Of course I want to try this out and live somewhere for a while that has a beneficial impact on me, because I always want to try something new.

The other place my mind has been is on our finances.  I have had a strong drive to get a grip on them and pay off our debts–something I have been wanting and even planning to do for a long time.  Somehow I’ve always wanted it but not made it happen.  Now I am feeling a drive that I have not felt before and with Alan on board, I think it’s possible.  It means letting go of some luxuries for a while and not buying stuff unless we truly need it.  It means putting everything else on hold and putting debt payoff as the top priority.  Our goal is to be paid off 18 months from January 2014.

Another thing that’s on my mind is that I hate being told what to do.  It’s a recent realization I have about myself.  Whether what I am being told to do is right or not, I hate being told.  I want to figure things out for myself.  I am trying to get better at this and being more humble and open when I am told what to do–I really don’t know everything even though sometimes maybe I think I do, which is ridiculous.

I also realized in the last couple of weeks why I have a blog.  It’s because I love to communicate.  I love to listen to others and I love to have others listen to me.  Even if it’s just my blog listening, it’s something I am driven to do.  That is ok.  I can keep it going or I can stop, but if I stop, then I will need another outlet, anyway.  So I may as well keep it going.

On an unrelated note, I desperately need/want a huge chunk of quiet and alone time in my own house.  Like maybe every single day for a long time.  Noise and demands are driving me nuts, and I have been so crabby today.  I wish I were more stable and tolerant sometimes.  I wish people would clean up after themselves and be mindful of how they affect this space that we all share here.  That would be really nice.  In that regard, I suppose I could be a lot better at being mindful of how my emotional state affects all the people who share this space.

Fall vacation

Fall has been my favorite season for as long as I can remember.  This fall has been the longest and most beautiful and pleasant fall that I can remember. We spent MEA weekend in Taylors Falls and St. Croix Falls, and it was a treat.

On the way there, we stopped and visited Michelle and her family at their new farm.  My girls are still talking about the animals, and “Whitey” in particular–the cuddly white farm cat.

My family came up for one evening to celebrate Daja’s 34th birthday, and we ate at a fantastic restaurant, The Vegetarian.  It was top-notch food–such a pleasant surprise for a small-town restaurant.

For small towns, Taylors Falls and St. Croix Falls have a progressive feel.  They have lively downtowns with interesting shops and cafes, and even a real bakery that still makes cake frosting out of real butter. These, as well as the natural beauty, really appealed to Alan and me and we think we could be very happy living here on a nice piece of land.  We put this on our list of places we would love to live someday, maybe even in the number one spot for now.

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Places I would live

I have always loved the idea of newness and change, and frequently want to move.  I’ve always wanted to see as many parts of the world as possible and live in different cultures, or at least in different places.  Since this is not currently a realistic option in my life, I am sitting in the same house I’ve lived in for 13 years (which has been lovely), thinking about all the places I would live if the opportunity arose. I wonder what else is out there that I don’t know about yet?

1. Portland, ME and/or OR

2. Vermont

3. Near any major mountain range in the US

4. Santa Fe

5. Vancouver, BC

6. Labrador, Newfoundland

7. Alaska, summertime only

8. Southern California, anywhere

9. Near Shenandoah National Park or any other national park

20. Montana

21. Colorado

22. Denmark, islands or in/around Copenhagen

23. France, anywhere

24. Beaver Island, MI

25. St. Croix/Taylors Falls, MN and WI

26. Eau Claire, WI (although I actually did live there, but would move there again!)

27. Linden Hills, Minneapolis

28. Viroqua, WI

29. Maiden Rock, WI

30. South shore area of Lake Superior, WI

31. San Fransisco area

32. Italian countryside

33.  English countryside

34. Irish countryside

So it’s not the most exciting or exotic list, but they are places I am drawn to for whatever reason.  Maybe someday I will get my wish and try out another place for a while.