The home stretch. The last mile. The bottom of the ninth.
It is here.
I finish classes in December. I'm in my last final push. I loaded up on classes in the summer so my fall and final semester would be a breeze. But now I am paying for it. Energy is gone, interest in the material is waning, and I need a break.
On the positive side, my Director at the counseling center asked me to stay on after I graduate. This really is huge for me. I will be able to accumulate hours toward licensure at a rapid clip, determine my own schedule, and continue to participate in the community there. It was also nice that my other supervisor who runs a non-profit counseling center in L.A. said he has a spot for me too if I want to come up. I actually think I might do the two together. One of my goals is to establish a non-profit counseling center here in OC when the time is right and I'm sure I could learn a lot while there.
But the real take away from all that was that I felt my supervisor's think I'm doing good work, and that goes a long way in distancing the insecurity.
Anyways, I'm ready to not have to jump through anymore required course hoops. That doesn't mean I don't want to study, write, or learn anymore, actually it's quite the opposite. I actually want to read and write more, but with and about material that is more applicable to where I am at currently with my work.
Today was my friend Bruce's paddle-out. It was a great to see a bunch of old friends come together to share our experiences and show our love for Bruce. It was quite an emotional day taking the journey down memory lane. I ran into friends I hadn't seem in 20 plus years, people who grew up with me in the same neighborhoods. And I ran into a lot of people I wish I saw more of. It causes a lot of reflection when that happens.
I noticed through it all that there were not many tears, but there was much laughter and old friends getting reacquainted. I know Bruce would have loved that it turned out that way.
It was the laughter and the smiles that were our final prayer for Bruce. Peace.
Gave a presentation on White Male Privilege and my white identity tonight. After it was done none of the "whites" said anything to me, but an Asian American woman approached me after class and told me that it took a lot of humility on my part to give the presentation that I did.
Today I attended a really powerful workshop given by Kathie Weingarten on "reasonable hope" and how to co-create it with clients.
I was really struck by her ideas of creating reasonable hope as opposed to what she called "rainbow hope." She was really concerned with the here and now and directing attention to what's in reach, rather than what may be desired but unattainable.
She described reasonable hope as:
2. A practice
3. Maintains the future is open, uncertain, and influence-able
4. Accommodates doubt, contradictions, and despair
5. Seeks goals and pathways to those goals
She also identified ways that we as clinicians might buffer ourselves from the effects of our clients despair, something I have been struggling with in recent months.
She really stressed the importance of a daily practice of awe. Something that I have been making a concentrated effort to do recently and have been experiencing positive effects. Of course some of this included a prayer or meditation practice. Getting out in nature or enjoying a community activity, and my favorites, believe the small is not trivial, embrace joy, look for courage in others and enjoy vicarious hope.
I followed that up with a Poetry in Practice workshop that I really enjoyed. It was put on by a couple of clinicians that were quite vocal that they wanted to bring soul back to narrative practice. An idea I can get behind, and contribute energy.
Finally I went back to Stanley Park and rented a bike and rode around the island. It was a beautiful day and exactly what the Doctor ordered. I'll end with a few pics from my journey. And an arty one thrown in for good measure.
For those that don't know I'm in Vancouver attending the Therapeutic Conversations conference. TC9 is a gathering of folks who practice narrative therapy and consists of workshops on many different topics and is a great opportunity for me to expand my narrative practice.
Today I attended an all day workshop given by Alan Jenkins on the topic of men who have engaged in abusive relationship practices. I really got a lot of out of the workshop and now have a lot to chew on, and work on. Of course I bought Jenkins' latest book.
It's been over a year since I last visited Vancouver and I still find the city a great time. It is surrounded by beauty, culturally rich and has some of the best food you'll find anywhere. What's not to like??
Tomorrow I'm looking forward to one particular workshop dealing with using poetry in practice. Looking forward to that and more.
Anyway, more tomorrow but until then, here's some pics to tide you over:
It was probably like most resentments, "I hate my boss", "I could do this better than them", your typical corporate misery.
So in 1995 I decided I was going to quite my management job with a Fortune 500 company and go out on my own. In the process of my planning I told my friend at the corporate office what I was up to and instantly he told me "I want in." After I experienced his enthusiasm with the idea I thought I might be on to something, Barry then went on to tell our other friend in corporate, Tammy, what we were up to and to my surprise, because Tammy is as conservative as they come, she wanted in!
It has been a most wonderful ride. We experienced all the up and downs the entrepreneurial experience offers, but at the end of the day we built a successful company. At our peak we had over 200 employees and sales in the 8 figures. We were honored for our entrepreneurial excellence and we had a lot of fun, wearing flip flops to work and taking lunch time surf breaks.
But through it all I never felt I was doing what I was supposed to be doing.
So two years ago I went to my partners and told them that I would be exiting the business. I told them that I wanted to go to grad school and get my MFT license so I could embark on a counseling career. That decision was met with mixed emotions, but at the end of the day I think they understood what I was trying to do.
This last Sunday, after two years of working out an agreement, we signed the papers to sell my shares of
I have now officially jumped off the cliff. Quite honestly I have really struggled over the last several months as I was coming to terms with the idea that my whole identity was shifting, and I still am. I am experiencing a mix of fear, anxiety, possibility, and excitement. I have no idea where I will land.
I am very grateful for the two best business partners a guy could ask for, many co-workers, past and present, who I still call friends, and all the wonderful and terrifying experiences I had over the last several years. And I'm most grateful to my wife for supporting me in following my purpose.
This is a photo of my friend Bruce and I in our sophomore year of high school.
I found out Bruce passed away this morning.
Bruce and I grew up together. We learned how to surf together, we used to sit outside of liquor stores and pimp beer together. Those were the days when you'd get a great buzz on six beers and then go terrorize the neighborhood. We used to get a kick out of sneeking into peoples backyards and swimming in their pools, hoping not to get caught.
I spray painted my first wall with Bruce, and 5 minutes later we were stopped by the cops. I had a can of paint in my jacket while Bruce did all the talking, he was as cool as a cucumber, they let us walk.
We even started a punk rock band together, the Rodents. We would smoke large amounts of weed and practice in my garage. We would design flyers for non-existent gigs. We never did have a show. Bruce would joke about bringing the band back together for a reunion tour.
Unfortunately the drugs got harder. I was with Bruce when I put a needle in my arm for the first time.
Eventually I got clean & sober and lost track of Bruce for a while. But thankfully over the last couple of years we were able to get back in touch.
It's hard when you lose someone you have so much history with. I've been hit with memory after memory this morning.
Bruce was one of a kind. He will be missed. Peace my friend.
In the morning when you wake up, you reflect on the day ahead and aspire to use it to keep a wide-open heart and mind. At the end of the day, before going to sleep, you think over what you have done. If you fulfilled your aspiration, even once, rejoice in that. If you went against your aspiration, rejoice that you are able to see what you did and are no longer living in ignorance. This way you will be inspired to go forward with increasing clarity, confidence, and compassion in the days that follow.