Thursday, January 31, 2008

Time between blogs--Loss of a Dream

Since I last wrote, I've been faced with the loss of a lifetime dream. I've seen my clients go through this on many occasions, watching it produce significant depression and sadness. Losing any dream is significant, but losing a dream you've had most of your life can be devastating.

My dream, like so many of my clients' dreams, was based on making the world a better place. Not that I don't feel I've contributed some to that. My profession gives me that opportunity and gift, a gift I am always so grateful for. But many times we have very specific ways we would like to achieve a dream. We've narrowed the dream down to being the most closely expressed way of fulfilling that dream. And I find that these specific ways of expressing the dream are based on our values and moral beliefs. They go to the core of who we are, and therefore, they are an expression of who we are. Unfortunately, those are the dreams, when lost, that make us question our purpose in life, the reason for our existence and even our worth.

I am so fortunate to have watched and helped assist my clients tackle these kinds of losses. They do it with such courage. I feel so blessed that they are willing to share that experience with me. So through my clients, I've learned to face my loss, accept my loss, move on and focus on achieving my dream, just not in the way I had planned.

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making plans." Bob Dylan

Monday, January 14, 2008


For me, today, it is a day of knowing too much. I wish it meant being smarter, but instead, it feels like supreme ignorance. For some "unknown" reason I am hyper aware of everything around me and inside of me. It feels like being engulfed by thousands of watts of electricity. It feels overwhelming and confusing.

I've followed my morning routine of breakfast, meditating, walking then blogging. Normally, this is calming and prepares me to do my day's work, but today, something else is happening. Maybe if I just try "being" with the feeling.

As I wrote that last sentence, I felt that feeling of "being overwhelmed" dissipate. Just being is so simple, but often, so exceedingly difficult. Being right in this moment, just letting this moment happen, can be such a struggle. What a paradox.

And letting go of the struggle can be so freeing. Why don't we do it more often? Why is it so easy to forget that we can just "be?" As a child I didn't forget. I would go about all day just being and no one had to remind me to do it. I just did it. No wonder I had those flying dreams. I spent all day "being" myself, feeling free to "be" myself. At night in my sleep, my mind gave me wings to metaphorically relive that feeling of being so free.

Jon Kabat-Zinn tells us that this kind of "being" is the essence of "self-love."
Jennie Craig tells us that "self-love is the only weight loss aid that really works in the long run."

Friday, January 11, 2008

In "Not Knowing"

My week has been filed with many things and many moods, good and bad. In many moments I find myself thinking about what my next blog "should" be. Now at the end of this week, I've learned to turn "shouldness" into "awareness." If I let them, my thoughts can be awarenesses of what I could write about.

Thoughout my younger life I struggled with "not knowing" and needing to have the answers to everything. I had a habit of "predicting," as best I could, my future. My wise and much appreciated therapist, Kerry, would make me "aware" of my habit and challenge me to just, "be."

I got really good at "being" until I experienced the worst stress I had ever encountered. I fell deeply back into "needing to know." Recoverying from it took time, patience and just sitting with "not knowing." As my life has continued, extreme life-changing stresses have kicked me back into my habit from time to time. Every time it has, it is accompanied by my struggling to escape my "cocoon" and fly free and just "be" with my life.

My goal is to not fall back into that old habit. I'd like to say it will never happen again. But I just "don't know."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

First Things First

So, here's the bottom line. I'm turning 60 in December and I want to celebrate by doing something profoundly life changing. I'm struggling trying to determine what this event will be, but my intuition tells me the journey from deciding what to do and finally doing it is what will cause the profound life change.

Like so many children, I frequently had dreams that I could fly. It was the most amazing feeling. Upon waking, in my child's mind, I believed I could fly and would grab a small blanket, tie it around my neck and run up and down the sidewalk in front of my great-grandmother's house. No amount of logic would have convinced me I wasn't flying. In a child's imagination, I had powers others didn't and could defy gravity. The flying wasn't jet like, but more like floating, swooping, and gliding. I was one of them--one of the butterflies I watched so intently in my great-grandmother's backyard.

On my 60th birthday, somehow, I would like to rediscover the feeling of flight.

An unwritten goal is only a dream. Make your goals a reality by defining them, writing them down, and committing not just to accomplishing the goal, but committing to finding in yourself that thing that will make you stand by your committment even when things get tough.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Metamorphosis Begins

For those who know me, this is not new information. I am a private-practice psychotherapist in Austin, Texas. I see individuals for a wide range of issues. I also see couples. I do pre-engagement, pre-marital, marital and post-divorce counseling. My area of specialization is issues of infidelity and affairs. The name of my practice is Mariposa Psychotherapy Services. I've been doing counseling and/or psychotherapy since 1986. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT). This means I can do counseling/psychotherapy with anyone for any issue.

The name of my practice is Mariposa because it is Spanish for butterfly. I picked that name because butterflies symbolize change, transformation, and metamorphosis. My goal in doing counseling and psychotherapy with clients is to help them make their desired changes and transform into the best version of themselves and have the most fulfilling and happy life possible.

I also named the practice Mariposa because I have a fascination with butterflies and have had it since I was child watching them live and work in the hollow of a tree in my great-grandmother's back yard.

And because I have this fascination and my practice is named Mariposa, my office is filled with butterfly pictures, specimens, ornaments, pottery, figurines etc.

About 8 years ago, I had an idea for a book, wrote it and then decided I wanted to turn it into a movie script. The premise was based on my experience as a therapist. Though the goal of a therapist is to help their clients change, the process of trying to achieve this goal changes the therapist. I named the book and script, "The Secret Life of a Butterfly." What happened with the book and script could fill many blog entries. Basically the book and script are just sitting, waiting for me to take yet another step to get them into the right hands to be published or made into a movie.

On the issue of change, today I have three offerings from the Dalai Lama
1. "I believe that satisfaction, joy and happiness are the ultimate purposes of life. And the basic sources of happiness are a good heart, compassion and love."
2. "A compassionate state of mind brings inner peace, and therefore a healthier body."
3. "If you harbour ill will, it has a negative impact on yourself. You may lose your appetite and good sleep."

These are encouraging words as I embark on my 2008 goals. I hope they help you too.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Metamorphosis in 2008

This time of year all around the world people are deciding on new goals for the coming year. For me this year has a special significance. In December I turn 60 years old. And as I face that fact, I am struggling with the changes I would like to make in my life. My hopes are that the struggle, like the butterfly struggling to escape the coccon, will make me strong enough to wing my way into my senior years.

Hence, the name of the blog.