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Reflect Out Loud

"The unexamined life is not worth living." – Socrates

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Don’t Waste Time. Get CLEAR On Your Vision

Don’t be like me.

It took me 2 years, $22,000, and 700 hours of unpaid internship hours to complete a graduate program in Mental Health counseling only to realize – “Oh, just kidding. I actually don’t want to pursue this path.”

I knew within the first few months into the program that I didn’t do enough research and signed up for a program that didn’t quite resonate with me. Yet despite this realization I convinced myself that I should just stick with it anyway, because having a Master’s is better than not.

And sure, my rationale made sense – any more pretty stripes you have on your belt only make you a more appealing candidate to employers — assuming you can even secure employment, that is.  This meme couldn’t be more real right now:

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The path to becoming a Mental Health Counselor is pretty long and actually pretty painful if you’re not 100% sure this is exactly what you want to do. Finishing school is not enough. There are several and I mean SEVERAL hoops you have to jump through, and it’s a never ending process because Psychology is a living and constantly developing field. 

Not to mention the fact that after graduating some employers want to pay you crumbs for your service. I’ve had employers offer me $12.00 an hour for counseling services. $12.00!!!! It’s insanity.

My current issue with this path is that it totally stifles my spirit. The clinical path has a tremendous bureaucratic system that involves so much control over how therapists should operate and how counseling should be done, and it literally suffocates me. When I look at the paperwork and the demands that are being put on me to perform under particular standards as well as regulations, along with the types of populations that clinical counselors generally deal with, I clearly see big RED LIGHTS and SIRENS that tell me to look the other way and RUN! 

And I get it – this system is indeed helpful and is supported by years of research and studies that I respect and believe has its use and purpose. However, it’s just not for me.

And why am I whining and complaining about it to you?

Well, my friend, it’s because I wish I would have stepped on the breaks 2 years ago when I realized this wasn’t my actual calling and invested my time, energy, efforts and CASH on what I TRULY, TRULY want. 

I’ve wasted so much time trying to prove to myself that I’m disciplined enough to complete higher education and formal training only to come out of it feeling like I am 2 years behind on my actual goals.

I’ve been playing it safe, 
I’ve been trying to do what everyone else is doing.
I’ve been ignoring my intuition and pushing myself to do what I thought I needed to do rather than what I truly wanted to do.

DON’T BE LIKE ME.

Get LASER clear on your vision and act in alignment to that TRUE vision.

What do you REALLY WANT.
Not what your parents want. Not what society wants. Not what you think you need to do because you have to prove something to yourself or the world.

Don’t waste time trying to prove yourself to anybody.
Don’t waste time trying to please family, friends, society, facebook.

Really and truly ask yourself:
WHAT DO I KNOW IN MY HEART I REALLY WANT?

And then move in that direction.

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John

I will tell you about John.

John is a good guy. He walks around trying to do the “right thing.” He smiles at people hoping people will smile back. He yearns to connect; he yearns to be accepted and to accept back.

John loves all people. Even people with three or four heads and eyes. Even purple people, blue people, orange people and invisible people.
John is very curious.
John is scared sometimes because he doesn’t like pain. But he does like it when the nurse comes along and rubs alcohol on his boo-boo. It makes him feel loved. Like someone cares about his well-being.

John likes to play. He wishes he could play all day. He wishes he could climb trees and pretend he is a pirate looking out into the ocean for some loot and new found land.
But there is a thing called “job” he has to do.
John doesn’t necessarily dislike the idea of a job – he understands how important functions are to a well operating society. What John doesn’t like is when he is forced to play roles he doesn’t feel comfortable playing.

John wants to walk around the world and give everyone little paper hearts because he wants people to remember how to love.
John wants people to know how to see not just with the eyes, but with their whole entire being.

John gets angry sometimes. He gets angry when the world expects him to be more than what he already is. It is not that John doesn’t want to be more – or “expand” as he would call it, it’s that John wants the freedom to grow at his own pace.

John doesn’t like when he is corrected in a condescending way.
John wants to be the best John he can be and wants to be spoken to in a loving manner, not in a punishing manner.

John is tired now.

I will share more about him another day.

Finding Purpose in the Little-Big Things

Sometimes I get down on myself because of where I am in life. I get stuck thinking that I should be doing more, accomplishing more, believing that through my accomplishments I will be finally fulfilled. I keep thinking that once I have a high paying job, a nice house, a nice car, a couple of degrees on my wall then I could look at all the things I’ve achieved and say “OK. You did it. Your life is now perfect.”

Where did I get this idea? Why do I think that fulfillment comes from external accomplishments?
I mean, sure externals can bring fulfillment, but if you’re like me struggling and straining through the externals in hope that your strain will later bring fulfillment – then maybe we need to refocus ourselves.

I keep thinking I need to achieve some big thing so I can prove to myself and the world that I matter.
But today I woke up with the realization that I don’t need to do anything in order to matter. I already matter simply because I exist.

I realize that I need to appreciate the little things and that these little things are really big things in and of themselves. I was wallowing around thinking I have no purpose because I work a “meaningless job” at a storage company. Then I realized “Hey, wait a minute. I do have a purpose. I am the storage girl. My purpose right now is to be the best storage girl I can be. My purpose is to smile and give good service to my customers and to make sure that everyone who comes in looking for a place to keep their stuff is helped in a warm and friendly manner. I am the storage girl for now and this is my purpose right now.”

I was undermining myself simply because I didn’t feel like my job was meaningful. But it is. Even if I was flipping burgers at McDonald’s, that is meaningful too. If flipping burgers is my job, I simply need to know that for now my purpose is to be the best burger flipper I can be! Or if I am a cleaning lady, my purpose right now is to just be the best cleaning lady I can be.

I realize now that no matter what position I am in, whether it is president or servant, I have a purpose to fulfill in my particular place in time. I need to know that my purpose right now is whatever that purpose is right now and that I am not less than anyone else simply because of the title I hold.

I realize also that I have a tendency to compare myself to others making me feel inferior because I believe I should also be doing what others are doing. I need to understand that I am ME and not OTHERS. And that whatever I do in time is just as meaningful as what other people are doing because in the grand scheme of things we are all operating for some greater purpose – to move forward in time.

I need to improve my faith. I need to learn to trust that tomorrow will be ok and that I will be provided for. I don’t need to work-out the future, I just need to be here right now fulfilling this very purpose in time. I need to understand that my worth is not defined by my accomplishments even though that’s what our society often wants us to believe. This kind of mentality only serves to discourage us when in truth we are all the same.

Ultimately, what I am saying is: This moment, right here, right now – this is my life. My life is not in some future place or in the past. My life is here and being here is my purpose. I don’t need to feel like I must accomplish some great thing in the future in order to feel great. I am great because I exist. Life has chosen me to come to be and to be is my primary purpose. What I do at any point in time is big. Just coming in to my job and helping people get their storage room is big. Life has all these little moments that make big things. Let’s marvel in the little-big things of every day life.

Just relax in this moment.
Let yourself know that this moment is enough.
Let yourself know that tomorrow will be ok.
Let yourself be here and now.
Whatever action needs to be taken in this moment, take it.
If no action needs to be taken, just be.
You don’t need to plan your whole life.
You don’t need to compare yourself to others.
You are enough just as you are in this moment.
Your presence is a big accomplishment in and of itself.
Marvel in the little-big things.
Your purpose is to be and that is very, very big.

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