Posted by: Marie | February 22, 2014

(924) I’ll be back . . .

Post #924

Update

Hi, Everyone -

I just wanted to post a little message to anyone who was wondering why I’m not posting to my blog right now . . .

My life has taken some really cool turns and I’m in the middle of a big project that will likely keep me very busy through the end of March middle of April (2014) . . . after that, I’m hoping/planning to get back to posting my journal entries because I miss doing it and I really miss interacting with my friends in the blogosphere! I’m still creating journal entries, I just haven’t had the time to post them . . .

Until then . . . I wish you all the best . . .

- Marie

P.S. I don’t want to spoil any surprises in my storyline, but I’ll give you a hint . . . my project involves a lot of math . . . LOL.

————–

March 13 update: The project deadline got moved out to the middle of April, then to end of April. So, my production schedule is now a tad more relaxed. I have a certain amount of stuff I have to get done each day. If I get it done and if I have time left over at the end of the day, I’ll reward myself by working on my blog. So, while I won’t be posting regularly, I’m hoping to get a post published every now and then!

Quotes 834

Posted by: Marie | January 10, 2014

(923) Who I am – Part 3 of 3

Post #923
[Private journal entry about my CASA application – written on Thursday, August 16, 2012 – continued from previous post]

Here are excerpts from the essay part of my application . . .

————–

PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS IN PARAGRAPH FORM

Write a short summary about your interest in volunteering and how you hope to benefit from the volunteer experience.

In 2008, as I was in the midst of dragging myself through a very dark time, I began an intensive therapeutic process to address severe depression. Through that process, I became aware that my childhood history of physical abuse within my family of origin, and of sexual abuse by a trusted family friend has had a huge impact on how I experience life as an adult.

As a child, I was not allowed to have a voice with which to express what I wanted and needed. My sense of personhood was squashed and beat down; I took on the belief I was too broken and damaged to be loveable. That belief, along with other destructive beliefs, carried over into my adulthood.

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Photo by Martin Chen

As a result of a tremendous amount of therapeutic work, I have arrived at a much more emotionally stable and joyful place. Within this calmer and more grounded place, I am discovering a deep desire to help children who are currently having experiences similar to my childhood experiences. I desire to create space for them to have and use their own voices in a powerful way, and to be their voice when they are unable to speak for themselves.

I see this as a way to do something very good with my very bad childhood experiences. I believe being of service to others is a key part of continuing to heal. I can’t imagine a more powerful way for me to be of service to others.

————–

Briefly explain what led to your decision to apply for a position in the CASA program? (What attracted you to this particular program?)

In 2010, I was called for jury duty in a child sexual abuse criminal case. I was dismissed after two full days of jury selection; therefore, I was not in the final jury. However, because I had already heard the opening arguments in the case and because I had become emotionally invested in the case, I attended the first day of trial as an observer.

There was another woman observing the case. During one of the breaks, she and I had a conversation in which she told me that, in addition to being a real estate agent, she was also a victim’s advocate for the Sheriff’s Department and on the board of directors for the CASA program. She was observing the trial and then interviewing the involved parties to make sure the CASA program was meeting the needs of those involved.

She told me a bit of her personal story; it was similar to mine. She told me that this is her way of creating something very good out of something very bad. She called my attention to all the people – the police officers, the social workers, the attorneys – who were working so hard to protect, to get justice for, and to provide an avenue for healing for these kids. She said that, while she and I didn’t have that support during our childhoods, she is now helping to provide that support for the kids of today.

I was so inspired by her story that I knew, someday, when I was far enough along in my healing journey, I would become either a CASA or a victim’s advocate. After researching both programs, I decided that the CASA program would be the better fit for me.

————–

Briefly explain your philosophy of parenting, including the rights and responsibilities of both parents and children.

While I don’t have experience being a parent, I do have experience being a child; my philosophy of parenting is born from the experience I do have. I wonder if my philosophy would be more pragmatic if I had experienced being a parent. Either way, here it is:

Firstly, I believe children are full-fledged humans. They have preferences and desires and needs and emotions that authentically arise from “who they are.” I believe it is critical they have the space to express those preferences and desires and need and emotions without fear of being rejected, disrespected or invalidated.

For example, one of my piano students, a very outgoing eight-year-old girl, arrived to her lesson a few minutes after having a much-treasured toy taken away because she didn’t clean her room in a timely manner. She was very angry and then very sad. She was sobbing as she arrived.

While I supported the action taken by her mother, I knew it would be helpful and validating if I took a few moments of our time together to give the daughter the space to express her emotions. I knew I could validate her emotions without villain-izing her mother’s actions.

After a minute or two of crying and telling me about her experience, and of me mirroring back to her what I heard her say, she slipped back into her normal vivacious personality and we proceeded with her lesson. I believe that was the healthiest way for me to deal with the situation. I would like to think parents could/should do the same type of thing on a regular basis.

Secondly, I believe children should have the power to affect how they express themselves in the world, when being allowed to do so is appropriate and not harmful. I believe they should be given credit for what they know and what they are capable of doing. And, I believe they should be given the opportunity to experience the consequences of the age-appropriate choices they have been given, at least when it is not harmful to do so.

Finally, I think it is a parent’s “job” to heap encouraging and uplifting words upon their children’s ears. Obviously, those words need to not be patronizing; however, it is my experience that children routinely show up in ways that provide many, many opportunities for the adults in their lives to express genuine admiration and encouragement.

Quotes 833

Posted by: Marie | January 9, 2014

(922) Who I am – Part 2 of 3

Post #922
[Private journal entry written on Thursday, August 16, 2012 – continued from previous post]

Just for fun, here are some excerpts from my CASA application:

————–

EMPLOYMENT

Employment history overview: From 1989 to 2002, I worked in the defense and telecommunications industries first as a configuration manager and software developer (1989-1995), then as a systems development project manager (1995-2002). I maintained a top-secret clearance (which required repeated full-lifestyle background checks and polygraphs) for more than a decade. In the final two years (1999-early 2002), I specialized in managing high-risk and high-profile projects, managing as many as 250 people and four projects at one time while maintaining product performance scores in the highest/best ranges possible.

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Photo by Martin Chen

In 2002, the market in which I was employed (telecommunications in Colorado) dissolved. My employer went bankrupt and all 400 people on our contract were laid off. I was not able to find work in my field and therefore was unemployed for almost two years. This led me to realize it was necessary for me to reinvent myself professionally.

I tried several different options (as demonstrated by my employment history shown below), including several years of land use consulting. A significant part of my land use consulting involved performing legal research for, and then advocating on behalf of groups of people in county commissioner land use hearings.

More recently, I have found pleasurable success as a piano teacher. I started teaching piano in 2008. I have grown my studio to where I now maintain, on average, a base of 45-48 students. I specialize in teaching students with significant learning, developmental and emotional challenges.

————–

April 2001 to Present
Smith Consulting, Inc.
Owner/Principal Consultant

Duties: 2001-2004: Business process automation consultant; 2004: Electrical subcontractor; 2004-2009: Land-use consultant; 2008-present: Piano teacher (private lessons). This is/was my main or only source of income during 2004-2007 and 2011-present.

————–

September 2008 to May 2011
Mytown School District
School Bus Driver / Aide

Duties: As a driver, operated all types and sizes of school buses (first as a substitute driver, then as a regular route driver). As an aide, maintained order on the bus and addressed any safety/health issues arising during the trip. Resigned (on good terms) when my piano lessons business grew to full-time employment.

————–

August 2007 to August 2008
Farmer John’s Corporation
Office/Admin Assistant

Duties: General clerical duties including handling accounts payable via Quickbooks software with access to more than 30 bank accounts. Was laid-off during a downsizing of the office.

————–

VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE

April 2010
Laura Recovery Center
Duties: Led a 14-member search team as part of the search/rescue effort on behalf of Kayleah Wilson

————–

May 2008
Office of Emergency Management / United Way
Duties: Assisted victims of the tornado who had disabilities/special needs: provided emergency medical care, transportation and temporary housing; secured urgently needed medicine and medical equipment, facilitated creative communication (access to phones was very limited) in order to reunite family members and other caretakers, assisted with longer term relocations by moving furniture and other belongings and by securing basic medical, home and personal items for the new locations; secured the help of American Red Cross, National Guard and private citizens as needed to accomplish these tasks

————–

2004 to 2007
Anytown School District
Duties: Developed curriculum for and taught college-level courses (project management for software development, general management skills, public speaking) on a volunteer basis to high school students

————–

May 2003
Center for Citizen Initiatives
Duties: Designed the content for, and taught with the assistance of a translator, an eight-contact-hour class, “Management of Key Business Information,” for Russian delegates at [the local university]

————–

1996 to 1997
Community Safety Watch (a.k.a. Neighborhood Watch) sponsored by [the local police department]
Duties: Founder, director, liaison between the neighbors and the police department

————–

1992 to 1996
Anytown Volunteer Fire and Rescue
Duties: Volunteer firefighter (Level III FF, pumper driver/operator, aerial truck driver/operator, heavy tactical rescue, incident command) and EMT-A. The station was manned only by volunteers during the night and weekends, which resulted in the same incident load experienced by the paid staff during the day. Required 20-25 hours of duty time and training per week.

————–

Spring semester 1988
Casa de Esperanza, Inc and the Neighborhood Learning Center, Washington, DC

For college credit, participated in a cross-cultural inner-city “missions-type” experience doing volunteer work at least 25 hours a week for one semester:

Duties at Casa: Assisted newly arrived Hispanic refugees from Central/South America with utilizing the food and clothes bank and with navigating routine appointments (including translation assistance), general maintenance and stocking of the food and clothes bank

Duties at a junior high school in the same neighborhood as Casa: tutored newly arrived students, teaching them English and translating the content of their math classes into Spanish; privately tutored a brother and sister (elementary age) from the Dominican Republic in their home one evening a week

Duties at NLC: Tutored African-American elementary students, many of whom were suspended from school due to violent behavior

————–

1987 to 1988
Anytown Ambulance Service
Volunteer EMT-A

————–

1986 to 1987
Mytown University
Duties: Provided assistance to churches in the region (Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico, etc.) during school breaks: Made repairs to the church building, passed out invitations, provided special music for the church services

————–

October 1986
Mytown University
Duties: Assisted with the clean-up of homes after a major flood in the town (the college sent out teams of students, staff and faculty)

————–

LAW ENFORCEMENT

Have you ever been arrested, detained by police, or summoned into court (including traffic violations, arrests, jury duty)?

Yes, see below:

2010, Criminal Court
Called for jury duty in a child sexual assault / possession of child pornography case, but was released from duty after two days of selection process. I was not on the final jury.

2006, Small Claims Court
I filed a small claims court case against a client; the court’s decision was largely in my favor.

2005, Traffic Court
Contested a traffic complaint filed against me by a citizen (because I didn’t do it). The ticket was dismissed for lack of evidence.

2004, Bankruptcy Count
Discharge of my personal bankruptcy.

Approximately 1995, U.S. Marine Corp Base
Called as a key witness in an acquaintance rape case.

Approximately 1993, Family Court
Called as a character witness in a child custody case.

Multiple speeding tickets:

Approximately 1990: I have a vague memory of having to go to court because of earning multiple speeding tickets in a short period of time (or maybe because a particular ticket was for high-speed reckless driving?), but I don’t remember any details about the case. I do know I had a lot of speeding tickets on my record for several years around that time; I almost lost my license.

Approximately 1986: The first traffic ticket I ever earned required my attendance in court (reckless driving). The police officer offered me the option of going to court where he promised he would recommend to the court that my ticket be suspended. He did as he promised; the ticket was suspended and then subsequently dismissed.

————–

REFERENCES

Special note: My therapist, Dr. Edward, fully supports my decision to apply to become a CASA. He believes I am far enough along in my healing journey to handle the pressures that will surely come along with the job. Furthermore, he believes the act of creating something beneficial from my own painful experiences will facilitate my ability to bring healing to myself. He is strongly encouraging me to embrace this venture.

I have included in this application a letter authorizing Dr. Edward to fully answer any and all questions you may have relative to your vetting process. I have also given him a copy of that letter. He is willing and ready to assist you in any way he can in this matter.

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

Quotes 832

Posted by: Marie | January 8, 2014

(921) Who I am – Part 1 of 3

Post #921
[Private journal entry written on Thursday, August 16, 2012]

In the afternoon yesterday, I had some open time . . . I was very aware of the length of my to-do list . . . but I was finding it very difficult to sit down and actually do something on my list . . . my motivation was running low . . . and it has been for a few days . . .

So, I thought it would be helpful to provide a reminder for myself as to why I want to stay focused and get things done . . . I decided I would start working on my CASA application . . .

Well, it turns out that I completed the entire application within a few hours. I put in the name and titles / job descriptions of my references, but I didn’t include their contact info . . . other than that, I filled out everything else.

Filling out the application did what I hoped it would do . . . it got me excited about doing what needs to be done in order for me to be ready to start training as a CASA in a year from now.

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Photo by Martin Chen

My original plan was to contact Sabeena three months after the informational meeting and see if she has given any more thought to an alternative training program. The meeting was July 24th, so three months later would be October 24th . . .

So, yesterday, I decided I didn’t want to wait that long because I know there is a training class coming up in October . . . if part of the alternative training would include Sabeena (or whomever) to videotape the training, she may want to record this round of training rather than a later one. So, I decided it would be better to contact her now . . .

Besides, since I had the application filled out, I figured I could send her a draft copy of it now so she would get a better idea of how good of a fit I would be for the program . . . maybe that would help to motivate her . . . I want her to know how serious I am about this.

So, here is the email I sent to Sabeena yesterday afternoon:

Hi, Sabeena -

This is Marie Smith . . . I am the piano teacher from [my town] who attended the CASA informational meeting last month.

I wanted to follow-up with you to see if there is anything I can do to help you move forward on the challenge of creating an alternative training program that would fit with my teaching schedule.

I am attaching a draft version of my application. I’m not officially submitting my application at this time; it is my intention to submit a final version in July of 2013. I’m sharing this draft copy with you today simply to give you an idea of “who I am”.

I look forward to hearing back from you on this matter. Thank you!

- Marie Smith
Piano teacher
[my town], CO
[phone number]
[website]

Yesterday evening, as I was driving to one of my piano lessons, I was thinking about writing in my journal and how I might describe the chain of events that has put me in this place of planning to become a CASA . . .

I thought back to the business plan I wrote in the fall of 2007 . . . and to the words that I put in the introduction of that business plan:

The vision I hold for myself is:

I create space for restoration, humor and education.

I deeply connect with extraordinary people and communities.

I wisely spend my time, energy and money, using them to support what is truly important to me.

When I was a kid, I overheard my mother, on many occasions, tell people “Marie marches to a different drummer”. With that idiom, she gave me language for what I was experiencing. I knew that I felt a very strong pull, on a spiritual level, towards an unknown destination, an undefined mission. I felt compelled to walk towards whatever was pulling me.

Adults often remarked to me that my behavior was unusual for a child – and I could see it as well. It wasn’t difficult for me to recognize that my behavior was different from my friends’ behavior. I understood why they behaved as they did – they were behaving normally. I also understood that I behaved the way I did because of this strong pull I felt – the pull of my “mission” was stronger than my desire to be “normal”. I was aware that my friends did not feel the same pull that I felt.

I liked how my mother described it – that I heard, and followed, a different drummer – a different drumbeat. That made sense to me.

As an adult, I still hear that drumbeat. It acts as a beacon for me. As I make day-to-day decisions, I can feel which of my options are in alignment with that magnetic pull, and which are not. It is the “north pole” for my internal compass.

However, I don’t know where I am going. I don’t know what is pulling me. My mission is still undefined.

I feel like I am walking through a thick forest and I don’t know where I’m heading, I only know to follow the compass. I believe someday I will come out of the trees and into a clearing. I believe that, when I enter the clearing, I will finally know my primary life’s calling. Until then, I have to walk in faith.

I feel that my life’s work has something to do with public speaking and writing. I am clear that I am supposed to continue developing those skills. That is all I know for now.

I believe my life’s calling has not been revealed to me because I am not ready to know it. I feel I have other, more fundamental lessons to learn first. That is keeping me sufficiently busy for now. I don’t need to concern myself about what is coming farther down the path until I get there.

As I was driving, it hit me . . . I think my life’s work has something to do with CASA . . . or maybe it is CASA . . . or maybe CASA is the first step of my life’s work . . .

Writing and interviewing and speaking in public are all part of being a CASA . . . and going through my own healing journey, going to therapy . . . and all the life experiences I’ve had, both good and bad . . . all of that has helped to prepare me for this . . . and I don’t think I would be nearly as prepared had I not had the experiences I’ve had . . .

Of course, I got all emotional and almost had to pull over to keep from driving off the road . . . but, I was able to keep going without incident, I just blew my nose and wiped my eyes as I drove . . .

Obviously, I didn’t put that thought into the draft version of my application that I sent to Sareena since I thought of it after I emailed her . . . I guess I could add it to the final version . . . or maybe it would be more appropriate to bring it up in the interview . . .

Or, maybe it is something that is private . . . a private inspirational idea that is best kept to myself . . . maybe it is better if I don’t share it with the CASA folks . . . maybe it is only for my own inspiration . . .

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

Quotes 831

Posted by: Marie | January 7, 2014

(920) Don’t pretend you wouldn’t

Post #920
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, August 15, 2012]

Well, so, the drama with Kris continues . . . not bad enough to justify firing her as a client, but bad enough to cause me to be worried about her reliability . . .

Kris and her daughter, Bella, showed up on Saturday morning for Bella’s lesson . . . they had no toddlers in tow, so the lesson was relatively quiet . . . well, except . . .

I’m learning the Bella cannot sit still . . . she was sliding forward and backward on the bench, then pulling her foot up over her head, then rolling around until she was lying facedown on the bench, then diving forward until her head was down by the piano pedals and her feet were up by my face . . . I was afraid she was going to flip the bench one way or the other and either smash the back of her head on the floor or her teeth on the keyboard . . . or kick me in the nose . . .

Just as I’d get her to sit upright on the bench, she’d stand up on the footstool . . . and the footstool is not strong enough for a kid to stand on, not to mention that it tends to flip as kids stand on it (I know from experience) and then they hit their face on the keyboard . . .

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Photo by Martin Chen

So, I finally slid the bench and the footstool away from the piano and had her stand up to play . . . she is just the right height to make that work just fine . . . she can bounce around as much as she wants. So, that seems to be a good fix.

And, she really is a cute kid . . . very smart, very precocious . . . very full of expression and life . . . I actually enjoy her company . . . other than working with her for 30 minutes straight wears me out . . .

Anyway . . . at the end of the lesson, Kris told me that her husband was not happy with her for scheduling lessons on Saturdays because they go up to their cabin on many weekends . . . I find it strange that she hadn’t thought of that herself . . .

So, she asked if we could move the lessons to early afternoon on Thursdays . . . Bella goes to kindergarten in the morning, so she could do lessons right after lunch . . .

I agreed . . . but, Kris had a conflict the next Thursday (which is now tomorrow), so she asked if we could schedule their lessons (a lesson for Bella and a 60-minute lesson for Kris) for the following day (Friday) . . . just this one time. I agreed.

Then, we looked ahead to see what Thursdays I might have conflicts and we realized that we would have a conflict the week of Thanksgiving . . . so, we moved that lesson to the following Monday . . .

Again, noticing that Kris was not writing any of this down, I told her I would send her an email capturing the dates we have agreed upon from now through the end of the year . . . she said that would be very helpful.

So, I sent out the email within a couple of hours of Bella’s lesson . . . hopefully Kris will see it . . . maybe post it on the frig . . . maybe . . . one can hope . . .

————–

I went to the gym on Monday . . . I haven’t been in almost a month . . . I really need to get to the gym more often . . .

————–

On Tuesday, we had a chamber of commerce event at the old town hall. I had never been in that building before . . .

If I remember correctly, it was the town’s museum when I moved here in 2008 . . . I remember trying to visit the museum back then, but it was locked up tight . . . if I remember correctly, tours were by appointment only . . .

I might be thinking of a different building, but I’m pretty sure it was the same one.

Anyway . . . one of our chamber members, the owner of a bicycle repair shop, had an exhibit on display in there. He has invented a bunch of gadgets . . . some of them funny (games, novelties that demonstrate balance or gravitational pull, etc.) and some of them practical like a child buggy that attaches to the back of a bike . . .

It was fun to check out his exhibit . . . it really matched his personality . . . he is about my age and very playful . . . a bit geeky . . . very smart and creative . . . I always enjoy visiting with him at the chamber events.

During the event, they gave a tour of the building. There really isn’t much to tour . . . the main part of the downstairs is two rooms that have openings in the wall between them . . . the bigger of the two rooms is about the size of the courthouse and jail in Mayberry (in the Andy Griffith Show on old-time TV) and it served as the courthouse and the police station for many years. There is an additional small room attached to the back of it that used to be the single-cell jail . . . it still has the bars on the cell door.

The smaller of the two rooms was added in 1906 (I think) and it was the bay for the horse-drawn fire truck. It is just big enough for the truck and bedding for the horses. It still has the original ruts in the floor that the wheels ran in. You can see where the door opening was made higher for a subsequent fire truck a decade or two later.

There is a second floor to the building. Originally, there were no interior stairs, the only entrance to the second floor was via a staircase that was accessed by an exterior door separate from the courthouse/police entrance (which still exists). I guess there is now a interior staircase, but I didn’t see it.

The upstairs remained unfinished for quite a while, then it was finished (one big room) and was rented out for community meetings. At one point, when the high school was being remodeled (maybe in the 40′s or 50′s?), the high school band used it for their band practice.

Then, the courthouse and police department and the fire department moved to more modern buildings. The original town hall fell into disrepair . . . and in 2007, the local historical society gave the town a grant for partial restoration of the building . . . the restoration was just about to begin when the big tornado hit our little town in the spring of 2008.

The building was severely damaged . . . in fact, the roof peeled off and landed on the building in which I now have my studio, which is about ¼ mile away from the old town hall. (And, no, I didn’t have a studio in there at that time . . . I didn’t teach my first piano lesson until about three months later . . . I didn’t move into that building until the end of 2009 . . . but now one of the doors in the upstairs of my building doesn’t stay shut because the building was torqued in the tornado . . . )

Anyway, I digress . . .

The long and short of the story is that the town got a very nice insurance settlement from the tornado damage, and with the insurance money and the grant money, they were able to do a ton of restoration to the building.

One of the things they did was to put in climate control in the upstairs so they could use it for archival storage of historical artifacts. So, now, the room contains shelves upon shelves upon shelves of historical artifacts . . . all neatly cataloged and preserved . . .

Our tour guide took us upstairs . . . it was so cool to walk through the shelves and look at everything . . . it was such a neat experience!

By the way, one of my most favorite leisure-time activities is to learn about the history of a particular building . . . it doesn’t have to be a famous building or fancy building . . . just any old building will do . . . someone’s house, a general store . . . I just like to hear how it has been used over the years, who owned it, how it was remodeled, when the entrance was moved from one side to the other, if the building was moved from one location to another . . . I find that incredibly interesting . . .

————–

This morning’s conscious business networking meeting was a coaching session. One of the coachees was talking about how she had put out to the universe all the cool stuff she wanted in her life . . . and then all that cool stuff started manifesting quite quickly and it was taking her breath away . . .

She is very excited about everything that was happening, but she is feeling nervous and scared about it at the same time and occasionally has thoughts about how maybe she wished it wasn’t all happening so fast . . .

The coach laughed a bit and said, “Congratulations! Look what you have manifested . . . but, let’s not pretend that you aren’t going to say yes to all of it . . . obviously, you are going to say yes and it doesn’t serve you well to pretend that you might not. You might be scared about it, and it might take you a couple of deep breaths before you openly embrace what all has come into your life, but there is no way you aren’t going to say yes to all of this!”

As I listened to the coach’s words, it hit me . . . I think much of my angst around the dating thing is because I keep trying to pretend that I wouldn’t say yes if a healthy dating scenario manifested in my life . . .

And that doesn’t serve me well.

Quotes 830

Posted by: Marie | January 6, 2014

(919) Obvious progress

Post #919
[Private journal entry written on Thursday, August 9, 2012]

Well, my mystery reader came back a few days ago and read through Post #629 . . .

I’ve been watching for Post #630 to show up in my stats page, indicating that someone had read it . . . because that would be the next post he would read . . .

Well, someone read Post #630 today . . . and for a second, my heart started beating all fast and excitedly . . . he’s back, he’s back!

But, Post #631 had not been read . . . nor anything right after that . . . I wondered maybe if he had just started reading a minute or two before and hadn’t had time to get further than that one post . . . and I wondered if I checked back in a couple of hours, if I would be able to see that he had continued reading . . .

But, no . . . that didn’t happen. It’s nearly midnight and no one read Post #631 today.

He’s not back.

Part of me is very disappointed because I was really looking forward to what might happen once he finished reading all the posts.

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Photo by Martin Chen

Part of me is like: Well, what did you expect? It’s what happens, it is the way it is, you shouldn’t have let yourself get excited about it because you know better than that, things unfolded the way things always unfold. That’s just the way it always goes.

My internal dialogue continues with: Remember the conversation you had about not getting excited about George reading your blog? Yeah, there’s good reason for that. So, just turn your focus away from that, let it be a little throbbing pain sitting quietly in the corner, and get on with the rest of your life because you have some cool stuff going on in your life . . . you don’t need to spend your time and energy on fairy tales . . .

I’ve been binging tonight . . . I guess it’s to cope with the disappointment of the George thing, which is obvious done and over . . . and, I’m left feeling very lonely in the aftermath.

And, I’m binging to deal with the stress of getting ready for school . . . and the pressure of wanting to do well with the self-care habits I’m trying to establish . . .

Really, overall, I’m doing well . . . I’m upbeat and I’m getting things done . . . it’s just that I’m feeling stress on top of it.

And, it’s finally sinking in that the dating thing will always be a source of pain for me. I’m always going to be in pain to some degree around this matter and it’s not going to change. This is how it is going to be for me.

It’s like with someone who is in chronic pain . . . he decides to live life anyway, despite the pain. And that’s where I’m at with this . . .

So, yeah, I’m in pain tonight . . . so, oh well. I’m not going to dwell on it; I’m just going to live life despite being in pain.

When I’m in severe depression, I can’t force myself to function despite the pain . . . I can’t function at all. So, at least the severe depression is gone – which is the part that makes it impossible to get out of bed.

Right now, I’m in pain, but I’m going to live life anyway . . . which is a whole new way of living that is so much better than living [surviving] with depression.

This is actually not so bad. I can tolerate it and it’s do-able. I’m not very excited about living this way, but I can do it and be okay and be productive and leave a legacy of some sort.

Binging isn’t the only way I cope with the pain . . . I can ignore it when I’m intensely focused on something . . . right now, the thing I’m focusing on is getting organized for the school year . . . that is a huge task but it is one I enjoy . . . and it causes me to get excited about the upcoming year . . .

If I were to quantify the amount of emotional pain I’m dealing with . . . I would say that I’m in emotional pain about a third or half of my waking hours . . . that’s how much of my day I spend trying to function despite wanting to curl up in a ball and stop existing . . . and then, during the remaining time, I’m doing stuff that I enjoy and which causes me to forget the pain.

The good news is that I’m not severely depressed and hopeless anymore . . . or, if I am, it is only for an hour or two and then it passes.

————–

I had a lesson with Renee this evening . . .

Her step-mom was there, but not the little girls . . . so, it was a quieter, calmer lesson . . .

I went into the lesson with Edward’s advice to create a sense of “we’re in this together” playing over and over in my mind . . .

I didn’t want to just come right out and announce that it was my intention to create that atmosphere; rather, I wanted to demonstrate it to her with my actions and let her awareness of it develop on it’s own.

At a point early in the lesson, I asked her if she could play the piece she was assigned to practice this week. She immediately asked if I would play along with her. With an upbeat attitude, I replied that I would be happy to play with her . . . this time and anytime . . .

After a few minutes, she had the notes down well and we moved to the rhythm component of the piece. Again, I asked her to count the beats out loud as she played . . . she asked if I would count the beats for her while she played. Again, with the same upbeat attitude, I made it clear to her that I would be willing to participate in whatever way she would like for me to participate.

To my surprise, she very quickly relaxed and became more confidant in her playing . . . she was being very upbeat and cooperative . . . no sulking or helpless behaviors at all . . . in fact, she was smiling and laughing . . . and engaging in conversation about the music . . .

Awesome!!! I was so excited!

Because she was so engaged, we finished the song that she had been practicing and then we played it in a duet format (I played the teacher duet part) . . . and it sounded awesome!! She seemed very pleased with our success . . .

We flipped to a new song in the book . . . with me playing along with her, she learned the notes and she got the rhythm down . . . and we were able to play the duet together on that one, as well . . . although, because she hadn’t seen the music before today and was not as familiar with it, the duet was a bit rougher than the first song’s duet, but it was still awesome. I was so impressed that she was able to learn the piece, start to finish, within about 20 minutes. She is learning so very quickly!

Right after we played the second duet, I turned around and commented to her step-mom, April, that the duet was so beautiful and that Renee is doing so well with the music despite not seeing it before today . . .

April agreed, and then went on to say that the younger siblings have each tried many things (sports, music, drama, etc.) and then they found their niche . . . and that she (April) thinks that is what is happening with Renee . . . that she has tried several different things, including guitar, and has now found her niche with the piano . . .

April and I continued talking back and forth for a few minutes about how well Renee is doing with piano . . . how quickly she can learn pieces . . . how strong her ear is for music . . .

And Renee just sat there and listened with a grin on her face . . . she seemed pleased that we were saying those things about her . . .

I’m thinking that April is someone I can count on to be a positive support for Renee . . . she seems to be the type of parent who can be supportive while still holding strong boundaries . . . I’m glad Renee has April in her life . . .

So, after today’s lesson, I am encouraged and very excited . . . I think things are moving in the better direction!!

Quotes 829

Posted by: Marie | January 5, 2014

(918) Sage advice

Post #918
[Private journal entry written on Monday, August 6, 2012]

Today, I had a phone call about Renee with Jean, the school guidance counselor I met at the conscious business networking meeting this week . . .

I explained to Jean how Renee has been behaving. She said that Renee behaves that way because she has been allowed to behave that way, and it is probably a way for her to get attention even though it is negative attention.

I asked her if she thought I was enabling Renee by allowing her to continue sulking and acting helpless as long as she participates in the lesson. Jean didn’t think it was enabling, and she agreed when I mentioned I thought the sulking and helpless act will pass on it’s own in time, and the reason I think that is because there have been times Renee has come out of her shell and has become expressive . . . and, because she has hugged me twice – both times she initiated the contact.

Jean brought up Peter Benson’s concept of Developmental Assets. He identifies 40 assets (relationships, experiences, values, attitudes and attributes) that correlate with a student’s success in school as well as quality of life. Kids tend to lose these assets as they go through adolescence, and the more they can retain, the better chance they have of thriving later in life.

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Photo by Martin Chen

Jean said that it sounds like learning to play the piano, as well as Renee’s relationship with me, are developmental assets for Renee. Jean also felt that my relationship with Renee might be instrumental in her retaining some of the other assets.

Jean also suggested that I offer to be part of Renee’s support team, which would involve opening up a dialogue with her school psychologist. This would allow me to learn what steps I can do to support whatever the psychologist is recommending. Jean said it would be important to represent my proposed involvement on the team as a passive player . . . as opposed to someone whose main goal is to report information or affect the treatment plan.

She advised that I would need to make sure I have signatures from the parents as well as from the school psychologist giving me authorization to do something like that . . . wise advice, I’d think!

At some point in the conversation, I mentioned that her dad is overbearing while her mom is permissive with no boundaries. Jean responded that a situation like that likely causes Renee to feel that her don’t love her and care about her.

Jean went on to say that Renee must feel that I care about her because of the way she has opened up with me and hugged me . . . Jean asked how many lessons I had had with her . . . when I estimated ten lessons, she was very surprised . . . she said it is amazing that Renee would open up to me that quickly, and it indicates that I have significant influence with Renee.

Well, that’s neat to hear!

I mentioned to Jean that I had encouraged Renee to “be her own hero” and make choices that supports what is best for her and for her future as opposed to making choices that punish her parents . . . Jean said that might be too advanced of a concept for an 11-year-old to understand, but that it wouldn’t hurt anything to have said it to her.

I told Jean that kids like Renee are not my “ideal” clients, but that I wouldn’t dream of not working with them because they are the ones that keep me awake at night . . . I ache to make a difference in their lives.

There is no way I would push them away just because they have issues . . . just because they aren’t happy and cheerful all the time. I want to keep working with them because I really care . . . they are the ones that probably need help the most.

Jean’s responded by saying it is that attitude that makes me a great teacher . . . a caring teacher . . . a conscious teacher . . .

She told me to keep doing what I’m doing and to follow my heart because apparently my instincts are “right on the money”!

I thought it was cool she said that about me . . . that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

As we wrapped up the conversation, I mentioned to her that I have been in therapy for the last four years, dealing with my own history of abuse, but that I’m making significant progress in my healing. I told her that I’m starting the process to become a CASA . . . that I plan to take the training in about a year from now. She said she is so glad to hear that I’m planning to be of service in that way because that kind of support is sorely needed.

So, the conversation with Jean was quite educational . . . I appreciate her taking the time to talk with me!

Quotes 828

Posted by: Marie | January 4, 2014

(917) Finding what works for me

Post #917
[Private journal entry written on Saturday, August 4, 2012]

So . . . I had the lessons with Kris and her daughter, Bella, this afternoon . . .

Kris’ husband was supposed to have the two toddlers, but he had gotten held up at work and didn’t get home in time for her to leave them with him. The plan was he was going to swing by the studio and pick them up as soon as he could . . .

Kris more or less kept the toddlers occupied while I did a 30-minute lesson with Bella. Then, we tried to do Kris’ 30-minute lesson . . . of course, every 30 seconds, she had to jump up and rescue the toddlers from some danger . . .

I share space with a print shop . . . they have heavy machinery, chemicals, etc., and there is a long flight of stairs that would be nasty to fall down. While most of the machinery and chemicals are not in my immediate area, a child could easily walk over to them within 15-20 seconds.

I very clearly state in my studio policy that younger siblings are not to be in the studio unless they are old enough to sit quietly on the couch and stay occupied with something like reading or a computer. There is good reason for this . . . the space is not child-proofed.

(259)

Photo by Martin Chen

Anyway, Kris’ husband finally showed up half-way through her lesson. So, we got 15 minutes of peaceful lesson time . . . and we were both so frazzled by that point that the final 15 minutes of her lesson were not as productive as I would have liked them to be. But, that’s not my issue to solve . . .

During the interview, I had told Kris that 60-minute lessons, every other week, really work better with adults than the weekly 30-minute lessons because a longer lesson allows us to get into the material in more depth. However, she had insisted that the 30-minute lessons would be better for her . . . and I went along with it because I knew time would tell which of us was more correct.

Well, it only took this first lesson for her to decide I was more correct . . . and so we scheduled a 60-minute lesson for her on the Saturday two weeks from now, then every two weeks thereafter. Bella will continue with weekly 30-minute lessons and is scheduled for the Saturday one week from now and every week thereafter. As we made the changes to my schedule, I again called Kris’ attention to the fact that she is not to bring toddlers into the studio . . . she promised it wouldn’t happen again . . .

So, we’ll see how things go in the future . . . but, I noticed she didn’t write down any of the scheduling stuff . . . hmmmm . . . I’m thinking she better do better with scheduling if she wants to continue as my client . . .

————–

This evening, I checked on my blog stats and realized that my mystery reader started reading again last night . . .

He read all the way to Post #629 . . . that’s about 35 posts, which is quite a few, I’d say . . .

It would have been late last night, after I went to bed, because the hits were not there when I checked up on my blog right before going to bed. It must have happened around midnight.

My first thought was: If it is George, I’m guessing that means that he got everything done in preparation for his seminar and is all ready for it to start today. However, I realized that I didn’t know, for sure, the dates of his seminar, so I jumped over to his website and checked . . .

The seminar actually occurred on Thursday and Friday, so he would have been done with it last night. That actually fits better with the timing of the reading . . . it would make more sense for him to find time to read after the seminar was finished . . . not the night before it starts . . . not unless he is an anomaly and gets stuff done way ahead of schedule and doesn’t scramble to get things done at the last minute like the majority of people do . . .

I almost had him off my mind . . . for the most part, anyway . . . and seeing this activity brings it all back . . . and I’m fighting with myself to not allow the fantasies to start again . . . but they have . . .

I looked over the posts he read last night, and they include the time Edward and I hugged for the first time . . .

The day that George did the coaching session with me, he hugged me . . . and he did it without asking first. He also touched me on the knee a couple of times during the coaching . . .

The good news is that I was reasonably comfortable with all that, so it wasn’t a big deal. But, it did cross my mind that it very easily could have been triggering for me, and it did cause me to catch my breath a bit.

I wondered if, when he read the post about the hug with Edward, and as he has read posts where I’ve struggled with being okay with physical contact with men, if it has caused him to think about his habit of touching people uninvited.

I wonder if reading my blog posts makes him more aware that not everyone is comfortable with hugging, or what might happen with someone like me when the touch is not invited . . . I wonder if he realized that it would be good for him to be more careful with that.

On a side note, something I’m starting to realize is that the physical contact I have with men, because it is invited and wanted, is bringing me pleasure.

That feels a bit weird to write . . . but it’s what is happening . . .

At first, I was trying to simply be able to tolerate having contact with men . . . there was no pleasure involved, it was simply tolerance . . .

Then, as I’m getting more comfortable with having contact with Edward and James . . . and other men . . . I’m actually enjoying the touch . . . to the point that I can say at times it is pleasurable . . . as in, it feels good to my body.

Okay, that is just way to weird to write . . . but, I think I need to start acknowledging that . . .

Let me be clear . . . I’m not saying I’m getting a sexual charge from it . . . I’m saying that I often feel pleasure in my body when I have physical contact with the men in my inner circle . . . that’s all I’m saying . . .

It’s a whole new concept for me . . . and I like it!

Quotes 827

Posted by: Marie | January 3, 2014

(916) The value of clarity – Part 7 of 7

Post #916
[Private journal entry written on Friday, August 3, 2012 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]

————–

Edward: Your advocacy will hugely benefit the kids in your care. You are going into this already knowing how to work with kids who have emotional issues . . . you are already as ready as you are ever going to be to deal with situations like that.

Me: Well . . . of course, they provide training . . . that will teach me a lot . . .

Edward: Training can only prepare you for so much. There’s going to be a lot where you’ll have to just wing it. There’s no way for you to know how to handle some things until you get in there and just deal with it. But you’ll be able to figure it out.

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Photo by Martin Chen

Me: I agree that I have an intuitive knowing . . .

Edward: Yes, you do.

Me: (Looking at the clock again) I think we have about five more minutes . . . ??

Edward: Yes, something like that.

Me: Well, that’s all I have . . . do you have anything else you would like to touch on?

Edward: I don’t have anything in particular.

Me: Okay . . . so, let me ask you this: In your mind, what is it that we need to focus on in upcoming sessions? Is there anything in particular?

Edward: I can always come up with something if necessary, but it seems to me that you are doing a lot of processing between sessions . . . and whatever is coming up for you, you are processing it and moving it to a middle ground . . . as opposed to getting stuck with it in a harmful or destructive place . . . or a self-sabotaging place . . .

When you show up here, the issues may not be totally resolved, but you have taken the processing as far as you are able into new and unfamiliar territory . . . as far as you can without overwhelming yourself. As things come up, you seem to always take yourself to the leading edge of what you can handle. It is important to you to always stay on that edge.

That’s what I’m seeing . . . that whatever comes up for you, you push yourself as far and as hard as you can without being overwhelmed. You look for the position of optimum stress . . . the best place for you to be in that moment . . . and you’re finding that place of optimum stress on your own . . . you’re not depending on me to lead you there.

Me: Hmmm . . . I hadn’t thought about it that way, but I think you are right . . .

Edward: It seems to me that our sessions are now more about reporting on your progress, gaining clarity and finding well-fitted language . . . and getting validation from me . . . but, it seems that the clarity is what you value most in this process.

Me: Yeah, when I’m thinking through stuff, I often think about how I’m going to explain it to you.

Edward: That’s a way of putting words to abstract thoughts and feelings, which gives you clarity.

Me: I agree . . . basically I’m showing up here and explaining it to you after I’ve been working through it. Sometimes I come up with an explanation, and after imagining myself explaining it to you, I can feel that it’s bullshit . . . then I have to go back to the drawing board.

Or, sometimes I get triggered when I imagine myself explaining it to you. I might allow myself to have some ice cream to get through the triggering, then I tackle the processing anew the next day . . .

Edward: I see that as evidence of your commitment to sustainable change . . .

Me: Oh, absolutely . . . I’m in this for the long haul.

Edward: And, it seems to me that our relationship serves as a “ground zero” from which you can reach out and create other key relationships and other parts of your life . . . you can return back here for restoration and support when you need it.

Me: Yes, very much so!

Edward: Well, you are very dedicated to this process and I appreciate that. You are making great progress in your healing. Congratulations, Marie!

Me: (Grinning) Thank you . . . it’s nice to hear that acknowledgement!

————–

And that was the end of our session . . . I headed back to my little town, but stopped en route at the dollar store for poster board and packing tape . . .

As soon as I got home, I started putting the poster board into the ceiling tile rails in the areas right above the windows and a couple of the bookcases. Then, I cleared off the window sills and the tops of the two bookcases and let the cat have a go at the poster board . . .

He smelled it . . . then he scratched once or twice at it . . . he meowed loudly . . . then he went into a spastic scratching frenzy . . . he decided he was going to scratch through the poster board, or at least push it up out of the way and nothing was going to stand in his way . . .

I just sat back and watched . . .

He kept at it for a good five minutes . . . then he gave up and jumped off the bookcase. I crawled up there and inspected my work . . . it was unfazed by his efforts.

I think I have found my magic solution!

Later in the day, as I was preparing to cut pieces of poster board for the areas above the remaining bookcases, I noticed that I had a voicemail . . .

About 10 days ago, I interviewed a new client . . . a mom and daughter both wanting to take lessons. The daughter is in kindergarten . . . I usually don’t start students that young, but she seems pretty sharp . . .

The mom has taken lessons before, so she’s not a beginner . . .

Both the daughter and the mom – but especially the mom (Kris) – are hyper-energy people . . .

On a side note, my natural pacing (the frequency at which I “swallow” information or the frequency at which I am able to switch from in-flow to out-flow in a conversation – slow, big bites or small, rapid bites) is in the mid-range . . . I can temporarily increase my pacing in order to match a student’s pacing. But, there are limits on my ability to do that . . . if I do it for too long or if I try to increase mine by too much, I come away from the experience totally exhausted.

Well, I was exhausted after the interview . . . it took everything I had to stay in pace with Kris’ rapid-fire conversation style. And, she was extremely disorganized . . . she didn’t write down anything we discussed, including the date and time of our first lessons. She said she just carried everything in her head . . .

Oh, and did I mention she had her two younger children with her who were climbing all over her and all over my furniture . . . crying, interrupting, getting into stuff . . .

When she left the interview, I could feel my energy field vibrating in shock . . . it took a good hour for me to normalize again. I wondered if I would be able to tolerate giving them lessons . . . she had promised that she wouldn’t have the two toddlers with her when they came for lessons . . .

Their first lessons were scheduled for tomorrow morning . . . however, Kris called me first thing this morning and said that she had forgotten she and her daughter were scheduled for a marathon tomorrow morning . . . could we reschedule their lessons for the afternoon . . . ?? I agreed to a 4:30pm start time . . . and my concern about her disorganization started growing . . .

So . . . back to the voicemail I received today . . . it had come in at 4:35pm today . . . it was Kris . . . she was at my studio, waiting for me . . .

Of course, I didn’t notice the voicemail until a couple of hours later, so I’m assuming that, at some point, she got tired of waiting and went home.

I called her back yet this evening . . . and I told her that I thought that when she said “in the afternoon”, she meant tomorrow afternoon, not today . . . and, to be honest, I’m not sure we ever specified which day . . . I just assumed she meant the afternoon of the same day . . . so, the mix-up is at least partly my fault . . . so, I apologized . . . she apologized . . . and we rescheduled for tomorrow afternoon at the same time . . .

We’ll see how that goes . . .

Quotes 826

Posted by: Marie | January 2, 2014

(915) The value of clarity – Part 6 of 7

Post #915
[Private journal entry written on Friday, August 3, 2012 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]

————–

Edward: How has working with Renee affected you and your own healing journey?

Me: Well, for one thing, she’s teaching me about connection . . . she hugged me last week . . . just out of the blue, she walked up to me and hugged me as she was leaving . . . and she hugged me the day I had that tough conversation with her dad . . .

So, she’s teaching me about expressing affection physically . . . pushing me out of my comfort zone a bit . . .

Edward: I remember you sending me an email about the conversation with her dad . . .

Me: Yeah . . . that was quite a while ago . . . like a couple of months . . .

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Photo by Martin Chen

Edward: Yes . . . I recall that the conversation had a significant impact on you.

Me: Yes.

Edward: I was curious about that experience . . . I wondered if it felt like you were talking with your own dad . . .

Me: Not really . . . I mean, I recognized that I was saying things to him that I wish I could have said to my own dad . . . or that I did say but he didn’t hear me . . . or I wish that someone else had said on my behalf . . .

So, while it didn’t feel like I was talking to my own dad, saying those things to her dad stirred up a lot of strong emotion for me . . . which is why I was so emotional after they left . . . well, I was emotional when I was talking to him, as well . . .

Edward: Was it difficult for you to say those things to him?

Me: No . . . it was pretty easy . . . I knew what to say and I knew I had to say it . . . I didn’t debate about saying them, I just said them . . . it was just emotional for me, which made it difficult to maintain my composure . . . but, I didn’t struggle at all with saying what I knew needed to be said.

However, I didn’t quite know how to respond when he asked me about my parenting experience . . . I told him that, while I don’t have kids and I don’t have practical experience with parenting, I do know what it is like to be a daughter and to be a little girl . . . I told him I could speak to him from that perspective.

Edward: What a brilliant answer! What a brilliant way to give yourself credit for what you have to offer, and to validate what you have to say!

Me: (Grinning a little) Thank you . . .

Speaking of giving credit . . . before we finish up with this topic, I want to say that, as I’ve been trying to figure out how to interact with Renee, I keep going back to how you interact with me when I behave the same way . . . when I go into that withdrawn, helpless mode . . .

I know what it feels like to be in that stuck place and to be fearful of being criticized and judged for it . . . and then what it feels like to be shown compassion instead . . . I know that because that is what you do for me. Because I’ve been in her shoes with you, I have an idea of how to pass along that compassion to her . . . I think of it as “pulling an Edward” when I pass along that compassion to someone . . .

I believe it is easier for me, as an adult, to give up the helpless act . . . I guess it’s easier for me to realize I have other options. I imagine she doesn’t yet have that awareness and therefore, she gets stuck more deeply in that place.

Edward: You might be the only person in her life who is showing up for her in that way.

If you can continue doing that, even though her behavior in response is not ideal . . . if you can keep giving her the assurance that the relationship will continue to exist regardless how she behaves . . . that you are not going to abandon her . . . that will allow her to develop trust in you and it will allow her to begin to believe she does have the capacity for connection and for being in meaningful relationships.

Me: Which is what you are doing for me . . .

Edward: (With a smile) . . . which is what I’m doing for you . . .

(We paused to let the warm, fuzzy feeling settle around us . . . then Edward continued . . . )

Edward: It sounds like you are being a lifesaver for her . . . literally, a lifesaver . . .

Me: It feels that way to me.

My concern is that her parents . . . more specifically, her dad, since he is the decision-maker . . . might pull the plug on this because she is not progressing at the speed he thinks she should progress. Maybe I can have another conversation with him in which I can set his expectations to a more realistic level. I really would like to keep him onboard . . .

Edward: Congratulations on keeping him onboard so far! I’m sure you will figure out an effective way to manage his expectations.

Me: Thanks . . .

(Glancing sideways at the clock) It feels like we’ve covered a lot of territory today!

Edward: (Laughing) We have!

Me: Oh, before we run out of time, there’s something else I wanted to touch on with you concerning the CASA stuff . . .

Edward: Oh, okay!

Me: So . . . well . . . first off, you know how I said in my email that I didn’t want to talk to anyone beyond you about my plans to become a CASA . . .

Edward: Yes . . .

Me: Well, I did end up telling Cindy and James, the paramedic and cop husband and wife . . .

Edward: How did they respond to the news?

Me: They both thought it was a great idea . . . that I would be ideal for the job . . .

And, I asked them if they would be willing to be character references for me for the application process . . . they both said they would be delighted to . . .

Which brings me to my question for you . . .

(I took a deep breath before nervously plunging into my question . . . )

Me: I’m sure that the CASA staff members are going to want to talk to you about my fitness as a CASA . . . to see if you think I’m far enough along in my healing to be ready to deal with the stuff I will experience as a CASA . . .

I won’t be applying for about another year or so, so I will have time to progress further than I am now . . . but, do you have any concerns now about my readiness in a year from now?

Edward: I would be glad to talk to them . . . I would give you a five-star rating right now on being ready for doing the job, and for being an ideal fit with your skill set.

Me: (Long pause) Wait . . . am I hearing you say that you think I’m ready right now?

Edward: Absolutely!

Me: I mean . . . if I were to apply for the program right now, you would feel comfortable saying I’m ready to be a CASA right now? I’m not planning to do that, but . . . you know . . .

Edward: I think you are absolutely ready. You are already in a strong enough position to handle the stress.

I hear that there are some things in your life that need to be put into place – mechanisms that would make it easier for you to handle the stress . . . but you are already ready.

Me: Oh . . . wow . . . I wasn’t expecting to hear that . . . well, neat! That’s neat to hear you say that!

Edward: I think that the stress would cause you to go one of two directions . . .

Either you would regress back into your old, destructive coping habits . . . or, you would become focused on the fact that a child is depending upon you to show up consistently and healthily and that would cause you to stick with healthier habits for dealing with the stress.

I am betting that you would be motivated to do the latter . . . I am very sure that is the direction you would go.

Me: You make a good point . . . I’m already feeling motivated by the knowledge a child will be depending upon me in the near future . . .

At the informational meeting, I told them I would be back with my application in a year from now . . . so, that gives me a deadline . . . and I’m already thinking about the fact that I must improve my self-care habits now if I’m going to be able to give my best possible efforts towards advocating for that child starting in a year from now . . . I already am feeling the pressure of that now . . . but, in a good way . . . in a constructive way . . .

Edward: I agree that it is a good idea to put into place those self-care habits sooner rather than later as it will make it easier for you when you do become a CASA . . .

However, for the record, I believe you already have the mechanisms in place that you would need in order to manage that stress.

And, I would be delighted to tell the CASA staff that I feel that way about your progress. I would be happy to answer any question they might have about your readiness – with your permission, of course. You are absolutely ready and you would be awesome at it. I would recommend you very strongly.

I had another client with a similar situation and I gave her a strong recommendation . . . and, by the way, she got the job! I would be happy to do the same with you. Hopefully, it would help you get through the application process successfully.

Me: Thank you so much . . . that means so much to me!

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

Quotes 825

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