Posted by: Marie | November 30, 2013

(892) Healing through relationships – Part 3 of 3

Post #892
[Private journal entry written on Friday, July 13, 2012 about a conversation with my therapist – continued from the previous post]

————–

Me: Maybe someday I could reciprocate his touch . . . like actually touch him on his arm . . .

I don’t feel comfortable doing that right now, but that is something that would be really cool . . . someday . . .

Edward: Do you touch your students who are children?

Me: I do . . .

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a lesson with a female student who is nine-years-old . . . we were working on a duet, she was on one piano and I was on another piano . . . I kept encouraging her like “Oh, you almost have it! Come on, let’s do it again! You almost have it!”

(236)

Photo by Martin Chen

All of the sudden, she stopped playing, put her hands in her lap . . . her bottom lip started quivering . . . and a couple of tears ran down her cheeks . . .

I thought to myself, “Oh, okay, I missed something here.”

So, I went back over to her piano and scooted my chair close to the piano bench so we were sitting pretty close to each other . . . I asked her what was going on . . .

She said, “I’m trying and I can’t get it.”

I said, “You are doing so well with this . . . and I didn’t tell you that, did I? I messed up and didn’t tell you how well you were doing already, that you had already made so much progress on it. But I do recognize how hard you are working . . . I messed up and didn’t tell you that, didn’t I . . . ??”

She said, “No, you didn’t tell me that.”

So, I said, “Well, that was my mistake and I should have done better . . . I am really impressed with how hard you are working on this and how much progress you have already made.”

I put my arm around her and she laid her head on my shoulder and sobbed for a few moments . . . her grandmother was right there, watching . . . like five feet away from us . . . so I felt pretty safe about doing that.

That kind of touching is pretty rare . . . but, if I have a kid who is not listening to me or is struggling, I might put my hand on their back or arm . . .

Well . . . and . . . my autistic student leans up against me for the entire lesson . . . sometimes he runs he hands through my hair . . . (laughing a little) or chews on the end of my hair . . . he seems to like having very close and sustained contact. That was a bit difficult for me to handle at first, but after four years of it, I’m now pretty comfortable with it.

Anyway, the more sustained kind of touching is pretty rare . . . but, if I have a kid who is not listening to me or is struggling, I might put my hand on their back or something . . . just a quick and light touch . . .

So, yeah, I feel pretty comfortable touching the kids . . . however, I’m very aware of boundaries and I’m very careful with my touching . . . I never want there to be an issue around potentially inappropriate touching . . . that is always on my mind . . .

Edward: I think it would be natural for you, in time, to become more comfortable with touching your adult students . . . and I’m sure you would be just as mindful about the appropriateness of that touch as you already are with your younger students.

Me: I agree . . . on both accounts . . .

(I allowed for a respectful pause before I plunged into my second topic . . . )

Me: So . . . the other thing I wanted to mention is . . .

Are you familiar with CASA . . . Court Appointed Special Advocate . . . ??

Edward: I’m vaguely familiar with it . . . I have a fair idea of what it is about.

Me: Do you remember the court trial where I was a potential jury member?

Edward: Oh, yes . . . you didn’t get on the jury but you went back to observe . . .

Me: Yeah, exactly . . .

You know . . . I am so impressed with your memory! All the old stuff I’ve asked you about today happened a long time ago . . . and you remember the details . . .

You must have an amazing memory!

Edward: Mostly it’s that I care . . .

What you tell me – what is happening in your life – is important and worth remembering!

Me: Well, thank you . . . I’m still really impressed . . . I don’t know how you do it.

Edward: (Grinning) I’ll take that as a compliment . . . so, thank you . . .

Me: Sure!

Anyway . . . when I went back to observe the trial, I met a gal who is a board member for CASA, and she is also a victims advocate for the police department . . . she goes with the police to a scene and walks the victims through from the scene of the incident to the hospital . . . and she supports them through the whole process . . . through the questioning and the interviews, and the trial . . . and even in the months after to make sure they get into therapy, or whatever . . .

As she described what all she does, the idea of doing something like that appealed to me . . . she told me that she had been sexually abused as a kid and this is something she does as part of her healing . . . that really struck a chord with me. At the time, I thought that I’d like to do something like that when I was ready . . .

So, I’m feeling more or less ready now . . . at least I’m getting closer to being ready . . . and I’ve signed up to go to a CASA meeting in a couple of weeks just so I can get more information . . . so I can start taking some steps in that direction . . .

I don’t feel ready to actually do the volunteering yet because I think I need to first be in a place where I’m taking good care of myself . . . where I’m doing things like consistently eating well and going to the gym . . . I would like to be more stable emotionally so I don’t feel the need to binge . . . basically, I would want to be a little more stable than I have been – than I am right now – because I know what I experience as a volunteer would be triggering for me . . . I need to know that I’ll be able to deal with it . . . I think I need to be in a better place than I am right now.

(Edward listened carefully without speaking and without showing any strong agreement or disagreement . . . or approval or disapproval . . . )

Me: I want to go to the meeting just to get information so I can start thinking about it . . . so I can start figuring out if that is really what I want to do . . . take a few steps in that directions . . .

Edward: I’m glad you are finding ways to continue your healing journey, and to be of service . . . being of service is a key part of healing . . .

Me: I am aware of that . . .

Edward: I think it is a great idea for you to go to the meeting and to start educating yourself on the process and what the volunteering would entail . . . it’s good to have that information!

Me: One thing I might learn at the meeting is that CASA might not be a good fit for me . . . so, I’ll just have to wait and see what I learn . . .

Edward: I think it’s a great idea to go get the information!

————–

And that’s when we ran out of time. As I packed up to leave, we did our usual salutations and our hug . . . and I headed back out into the rest of my life . . .

All in all, it was a pretty low-key session . . . which was kind of nice . . . I’m still overly emotional from the coaching session I had with George . . .

And, speaking of George . . . he sent an email to everyone who had been present at the networking meeting (the one where he coached me) . . . well, at least he sent it to the people who gave him their business card and indicated it would be okay for him to send them emails . . .

In his email, he thanked everyone for attending and participating . . .

I didn’t have his email address until I received his email today . . . I took advantage of having it and responded to his email:

Hi, George –

This is Marie, the piano teacher . . .

Thank you so much for spending your morning with us this week! My coaching session was very powerful . . . I had a therapy session this morning and played the audio recording for my therapist . . . and I was wiping tears even just listening to it! Thank you for that gift!

I sent a message to you via your website, but I put a bunch of links in it, so I’m not confident it made it through for you to read . . . now that I have your email, I’ll resend the contents (below).

– Marie Smith

Quotes 802


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