A few weeks ago I noticed my cousin, Carli, post a request; she was looking for one additional runner in an upcoming relay race in Colorado. We messaged back and forth, and without much foresight, I booked a ticket and took off two days of work to head there and meet her.
The last two years have included substantial planning. The thick of graduate school, engagement and wedding preparation, work schedule and documentation, studio trajectory; dreams. I always felt like I could be doing something. And if I wasn't doing something, I felt a bit guilty.
At work, I have been honing my craft. It has felt important to plan for sessions, leaving no room or space for doubt, and thus creating a sense of high pressure. To be a "beginner" is a lesson and plus, I want to provide the best quality care. But in the shuffle of paperwork and months of responsibility, without noticing, I began to put too much pressure on myself. I was serious all the time. How could I separate work from life? And if I did, was that precious time I could be researching to prep for the following day?
Something happened in Colorado. I was changed. I reflected and here's what I've come up with.
On the final day, I took a yoga class at a nearby park. It was a silent disco experience where each participant received headphones that both played music as well as the instructor. She kept hitting home on this intention and letting go. The words that emerged for me were ENJOY and WORRY. I invite ENJOYMENT I let go of WORRY. These two cannot co-exist.
Driving back to the airport, my Cambodian driver and I got to talking about the mental health field as he had been a social worker/case manager for 20 years. He said, " You get to see these people maybe an hour a week. A mark, no doubt, on their way of seeing the world, but they have to do it themselves. The goal is to help. The problems of life do not develop overnight, so why do you expect to solve it? If you're helping, you're doing the work. You cannot take the responsibility for another person's work. You can only help them help themselves. If you do this, you are doing plenty. And I can tell, based on your reflection, you already are. You will burn out if you keep doing what you're doing. Then you can't help anyone. Not even yourself. You must find balance. You must help yourself too. First." I cried behind my sunglasses. He was right.
Our team name was "out here chafing our dreams." We had shirts and pirate bandanas. Eye patches and swords. It was ludacris. and it was really really fun. dumb fun. simple fun. good fun.
Carli and her friends are brilliant and kind. Funny and good company. Each have goals and find time to laugh. So our 2.5 hour nap in an ice rink that had been drained for our sleeping pleasure among 200 other smelly athletes trying to get a few hours of shuteye? It was inspiring. and eye opening. and tender. and thrilling. and had really bad coffee that tasted so so good.
I ran my last leg of the race while the sun began to rise. I listened to rap music and ran down a steep hill for 2 of the 5 miles. I sent pictures to people I loved, I laughed. I soaked it up. Waved to cows. It made no sense and all of the sense in the world.
I found that I am capable. I am already doing the thing I wanted to do. Now I refine the art of this skill, this shuffle, this weaving in to serve and still leaving enough space, a reserve just for me. I am enough. I am already doing it. I will continue. And on. And on. And on.
Thanks to the team for reminding me of good fun. And inspiring me. You have helped me. I hope you'll know.