Ebb and Flow

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“When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life I see so much magic but I missed it at the time.”

–Jamie Cullum

This is one of my favorite lines from a Jamie Cullum song (Love him, btw!)… and I think it’s so true. Friday was a “heavy” day at work… It’s the nature of the work I do sometimes… I was talking to a friend, saying I planned to blog, but wasn’t sure if I could…. What was I gonna say about this day? How would I spin it to be something good, and refreshing, and uplifting? My friend suggested that just simply writing about it would be innately good enough, but I wasn’t sold. (We all know I can be a bit particular…)

My counseling work affords me the privilege of seeing both the best and the worst of humanity/ the human experience. Most days, I stand in awe of my clients, their resiliency, and just HOW MUCH a person can endure and still survive, thrive, and rise up. But, occasionally, you meet a client or learn of an experience and you receive a jarring reminder that the pendulum swings equally in both directions. The intensity and “real-ness” of this work can hit you in the stomach with the force of a Mack truck. Friday morning was one of those times. When I felt the tears welling up at the copy machine, I knew it was time to roll out of the office for a bit…I got in my car, and just sat there, feeling tears forming in my eyes. “Pull it together, Tara… It’s 11am. You gotta teach and you have 4 clients left today.” I really just wanted to drive home and call it a wash. It wasn’t even lunch time and I was maxed out on “sad” and “loss” for the day…. Maybe the month. We often counsel our colleagues, “It’s not our job to fix people or situations, we’re just there to support and guide” and other such stuff…. But when you have your own “What the F!#!* am I doing?/ Is this for real?/ This is too real” moment, it’s a little harder to buy into. ….and I couldn’t quite instantly “pull it together” like I usually do.

…So then I let that feed my negativity loop of the morning. (Bad idea.)

It was time to change my mojo for the day. This was not gonna work, and I wasn’t liking it. If you are ever tempted to sit in a parking lot and fight your feelings, do yourself a favor and try to resist that urge… Best to just go with it. Have your moment, move through it… MUCH easier.

This whole “go with it”, move through it, let it out idea isn’t new to me, but actually DOING IT is. The concept is one of those things you tell other people to do all the time, but following your own advice? Oh, no thank you. PLEASE…. I am a southern girl that was raised with “put on your happy face” and was quite skilled at acquiring prizes for not crying on surgery days… I’m a world champion faker.

So, I did what any other reasonable 29-year old girl who is all misty-eyed in her parked Accord does… I called a friend who “gets” me and gets the work I do. …And he told me what I needed to hear…. Let it out, give yourself a break, it sucks sometimes, it’s hard, it’s challenging, and we’re not miracle workers. Our best IS enough, even when you’re not sure. ….And if that means you cry in your car… well, cry in your car then. As my friend and I always say, “you gotta exhale that shit!”

So I did.

…and I felt better.

….and I walked in my school, got my diet coke (always a game changer), and saw “my boys”- Those guys can make me laugh even when I’ve decided with 100% certainty I’m not laughing… I just love them. Their smiles and antics and silly questions…. Like, “Ms. Hinds, I know it’s not ok to call a white tank undershirt a wife-beater… So, is the correct thing to call it ‘spouse beater’?” ….And it’s a serious question. …And I love it, and I love them.

God then answered my secret wish, and my last client cancelled. I got to joke and chat with co-workers who felt really similarly after the morning we had… and it was good to know it wasn’t “just me”. I got a totally unexpected, beautiful and sweet note from a cousin of mine that made my day…. and a friend called me to come hang out in his beautiful backyard and unwind on Friday afternoon.

It all balances; there is ebb and flow to every day. By the end, Friday was a good day- a day that reminded me of all the magic in my life, and all the amazing people in it. It’s just important to go with it, and keep in mind what you are looking to find in any experience. It’s no good to stay stuck in one part of your day or experience, because it is so easy then to miss the beautiful or amazing thing that’s unfolding next.

Like the song lyric, it wasn’t until Saturday, when I could look back on my Friday, I was able to see the “magic” in my day. The fact is, it’s always there. Sometimes I have to dig a little deeper, look a little harder, but it’s there. I think that’s why I find it is soooo important to have some kind of “gratitude practice”- Mine isn’t particularly formal, but even the conscious act of thinking about what was good/ what went right the day before on the way to work in the morning is a great way to get me in a good space to start my day. We can choose to be tuned in to whatever element of the day that we want to be- you’ll always find what you’re looking for, good or bad- so choose carefully!

This morning, for the second weekend in a row, I woke up before 8am and went to a race… This time, it was someone else’s turn to have their first race, and my turn to be the “non-virgin” of the race (Who am I? seriously…)…. Now I’m home writing, when I’m usually off singing…. I look in shock when I see that the blog I thought no one would want to read has been read in over 10 countries by a few hundred people (what?!?! Hi, y’all!!!) ….Next weekend, I go to Chicago to take my credentialing exam, but with my “12 weeks of quiet” I have the luxury of intentionally missing my flight home to have some much needed fun, since I don’t work on Sundays right now….

Life’s different, but great.

I miss singing and going out and seeing lots of my favorite people, but I see the magic of the moment. Sometimes I struggle, and I have “a moment” and I try to roll with that, too.

I’m finding the ebb and flow, and learning to go with it.

So, I hope you “exhale that shit” and have a great week.

Thanks for reading, and I’m loving the comments, too! 🙂

-T.

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