Man. The last couple of days have been kind of tough.
I have been waiting for test results for COVID as I have been sick. And they came back negative. I should be relieved but there is a part of me that isn’t. A part of me that wishes I had it so that I could know I had a mild case and I survived and had some immunity and could potentially help others through donating plasma.
I am trying not to let the fear get me. But going back out into the world with a compromised immune system, likely bronchitis, in the wake of a pandemic that attacks the respiratory system… to care for horses….seems fucking pointless and a little stupid to me right now.
I have had a grip on my fear, but as this touches closer and closer to me it is hard to move away from it all. People are really scared. A buddy of mine text me tonight with updates from his friend in NYC where things are really bad. I feel his fear in my heart, his hopelessness at not being able to do more for his friend. It cuts deeply into my humanity.
And I remind myself that this is also nature balancing itself out. That we will survive this. Not all of us will make it, but we will, as a whole, survive.
This has got me thinking a lot about my own mortality and whether or not I would be happy with the life I have lived here. And I honestly don’t know the answer to that. Sometimes I think yes, I am done here. Sometimes the answer is no.
I got into a bit of a sludge today. Part sprang from the above questions, part from this sickness that’s descended on my body. There were tears, lots of them. Loneliness. Stagnation. There was also confusion about what to do, what to think, how to feel.
So I did the only thing that I knew would shift some of this. I moved my body.
Sometimes when we can do nothing else we have to remember we can always take a step. It doesn’t have to be pretty or perfect or “right,” it just has to be motion.
Ten minutes of weights, some ab exercises and head stands and I was feeling better. Then I made some fresh juice and a nice meal and I didn’t feel so stuck anymore.
I don’t have the answers to the above questions. I still don’t know what is right or wrong and I am a hot mess in my life most of the time. But I do know that moving helps. So when I need to break the cycle of torturous thoughts, I move.
We are in a time of survival. Something that many of us have never had to face, not in this way. When we are in survival mode we go back to base instincts. To break this we have to breathe. We have to move, we have do something creative or constructive. Some of us have to prepare to feel safe, some of us have to create art or music. Some of us just need to move. Whatever that looks like for you, it’s perfect.
As I look around, in this moment, I know I am safe. I can relax and breath and enjoy my dogs and the flowers that are starting to peak through the dirt. I can feel the Earth under my feet and marvel at the beauty of nature.
I am safe. I am strong. I am choosing something other than fear. ❤ ❤
We are living in troubled times. People do not feel like they have any control, and we don’t. This is a breathtaking, intense reminder that Mother Nature is in control and we aren’t immune because, guess what… we are nature. We are animals, we are biologic organisms.
Someone told me yesterday that the Corona virus was really deadly because it wasn’t MEANT for humans… who the fuck is anyone of us to say it wasn’t meant for us. We are … animals. A virus that lives in animals doesn’t mean we are immune because we don’t see ourselves as such. We have elevated ourselves to a status that is shockingly egoic about our place in the world. Yes, ego has its place. It allows us to step beyond fear and accomplish great things, but we have become so disconnected from the natural world that we forget we are a part of it and that means we are subject to her will.
This is an awesome, raw display of sheer power.
And it is making people very afraid. Rightfully so. But what isn’t right is to not realize our place in this world. It isn’t to keep fighting for us being more than nature. Biology cannot be outrun. It will shift and mutate and spread and do whatever the fuck it needs to to create harmony or homeostasis. We are so keen to think we know what that looks like.
Why is this coming up? Because I am getting tired. I empathize and sympathize with the fear. I have it too. I am in no way immune to what everyone else is feeling. In some ways I feel it more intimately as I have to keep working and exposing myself and potentially others (who’s to say I am not a carrier) to this thing. I get it. But when I was asked today by two separate clients to euthanize their completely healthy animals for no reason other than they are scared about the future, that was the end of my rope.
When people are scared they will do a lot of crazy things. We are seeing the best and the worst come out in people. The best is pretty great, there is so much coming together and community and people reaching out and people being creative and loving and it warms my heart.
And then there is the worst. There is the fear mongering, the people preying on that fear for their own benefit, people stabbing other people over food, hate speech, panic and thievery.
I refuse to let my own experience be one that is focused on the bad. But today was hard. I had to get real with some people and choose my moral high ground. The thing is, when you stand clear in your purpose and firm in your heart and mind people settle into that. Both clients that I talked to I gave feedback lovingly but firmly. Both of them woke up a little bit and came around to what they were asking, and then we came up with a plan and guidelines for when that time comes of what to look for and what the process would be. Then I made myself available to them at any time they might need me so they had that peace of mind. And I will be available to them. This is not a role I love to play, to be on call 24/7 but at the end of the day I have a purpose to advocate for my patients and today this meant showing up in this way.
These are interesting times. Things are changing rapidly and our normal is shifting in massive ways. It requires us to be flexible, strong in our ethics and to have courage of conviction. It is too easy to get swept up in fear and start to break down and walk away from our moral compass.
Please stand strong. Remember the image of yourself that you have been working so hard to bring to fruition and stay the course. Care for yourself, tend to your needs but do not lose the core of what makes up your values. This is the time to bring them forth, put them in your heart and project them to the world. We need strength and kindness and love more than ever right now. ❤ ❤
Everything in life is a choice. Go left or right. Love or don’t love. Trust or don’t trust.
Or don’t fear.
Panic and brutalize people at the store.
Show up calmly and share some love with a stranger.
Choices. We are fantastically powerful. Every decision we make in life contributes to where we are at this exact moment. The empowering thing is that we have the ability to change that trajectory at any time.
We just have to choose different. Displace the known with the unknown. Make the unfamiliar, familiar.
If the usual M.O. is to shut down in the face of adversity, see it, recognize it and choose to stand uncomfortably instead of flee. If the usual tactic when met with an alternate opinion is to become defensive and combative, be aware and choose instead to disengage.
Choosing different doesn’t mean sitting in the wells of depression and deciding you are just gonna be happy suddenly. It starts with baby steps and small maneuvers. It is getting out of bed, taking a shower and sitting outside in the sun. It’s deciding to engage a stranger in conversation when the rest of the world is closing off their hearts and minds to others. It is choosing to buy the last 6 rolls of toilet paper and then splitting the package with an old lady on a fixed income who is standing forlornly in the paper goods aisle.
In these times it is easy to see contrast and easy to choose different. There is such an air of fear and concern right now that choosing different may simply mean expressing a touch of humanity.
It might look like sharing a smile with a stranger, letting someone into a line in front of you. Choosing different might be choosing to refocus internally instead of letting panic boil over.
Choose to shine your light into the world. It’s exceptionally easy right now to make a difference in the life of someone else. Hold some space, share a laugh. We are all in this together. It can become the most isolating experience or one which brings us all back together. Every single one of us has the power to choose.
Choose hope. Choose to rise up and be the beacon that ignites the winds of change. Choose to be seen, to claim your space. And above all, choose to love. ❤ ❤
My little brain has been going nonstop today. It has been circling around the same useless arguments and thought patterns.
At some point I got a little tired of it. So I thought to myself, what can I do to shift this even a little? My heart has been totally shut off, like no feeling… .all thinking…
Then I thought back to a client I had this week. She is new to horse ownership and she bought a 3 year old with no training. And man, that little goober is testing her. She has been going around and around and around with what is the BEST training method to use for her desired outcome. She’s tried bits and pieces of all of them and done a lot of bouncing around. I simply reminded her that no matter what the end goal was, she needed to focus on the little actionable steps in the moment and when she was feeling overwhelmed she needed to go back to basics. I told her to make each move about that move.
For fuck’s sake, I give good advice. I should listen to it for myself once in a while.
I was able to take a step back today and bring some space to my situation. I went back to the basics. What do I want? Where is my highest energy? What resources can I find to support my goal?
One of my biggest issues I realize is I don’t have a clear vision of what I want for my future. I have put a ton of energy into wanting a relationship with a man, one that has a deep, earth shattering sort of love component. And I found it. It is, in no way, how I thought it would look. Now that that part has been experienced I am feeling a little adrift. The crazy thing is, I have wanted a relationship all my life, but I have never settled for a love less than what I knew it to be. That love though… it is really chaotic on so many levels right now. Reviewing the relationship and my part in it, I realize that, while I loved how I felt when I was with him, I didn’t love the person that I was turning into in the relationship. I have definitely fallen into old patterns. I have to remember to give myself a little grace though as this is the first time I have dared to even examine these things within the context of an intimate relationship.
So back to the basics.
What do I want? This is a question I ask myself a lot, especially when I am getting into these confusion spirals. Asking what you want, and sometimes even writing it out, can get you out of your head and back into your heart by envisioning the end goal, feeling that spark of inspiration and letting your heart come back on line as your mind quiets. You can then examine what in your life is not supporting that vision and you can make adjustments.
Where is my highest energy? All day today it has been on all of the things wrong with me and how I fuck things up in relationships. It has been on the fear of never finding a mate. It has also been on the fear of not really knowing where my future was headed and not feeling like I had clarity surrounding future goals as so much of me has been focused on finding a partner.
What resources can I find to support my goal? This meant seeking out some things to find clarity.
The example of this process today was….
What do I want… well I don’t want to feel confused and I don’t want to be beating myself up. So what I want is more clarity and self love.
Where is my highest energy? As mentioned above it was on a lot of fear, so I shifted it to focus on all of the positive things that I bring to a relationship. Or… I wanted to.. but was finding that a little hard to do for myself. I was also focused on how confused I was, and I wanted to shift over to some clarity with regard to myself and where I want my life to take me.
What resources can help support me?
I went online and did a strength finder assessment. It sounds a little silly, but doing this not only opened my eyes to what I do bring to personal relationships but it also highlighted some things about me that I didn’t realize about how I work with others and my leadership style. This helped calm some of the voices that were swirling around telling me how much of a fuck up I am.
I have also been feeling really weird about starting this coaching program as I feel my life is a bit of a mess at the moment, but I went through some of the exercises and realized that right now I can make this about me and my personal growth and it will help define clarity surrounding professional goals.
I scheduled a meeting with another coach who specializes in self love so that I can get a broader perspective on my assets and some more actionable steps to take to be a little nicer to me.
I reached out to a friend. Not so much for support in this situation but to have that human connection to get me out of my head and open my heart to another person.
I did some breathing exercises to help realign heart and mind.
I took a nap.
I cooked myself some nourishing food and remembered one of my goals is my health. I acknowledged that even though I was feeling crappy I wasn’t sacrificing what I wanted most (to feel healthier and out of chronic issues) for what I wanted now (a cupcake). That made me see some of the progress I have made, which is damn hard to find in oneself sometimes.
It’s now the end of the day and I can look back and say pretty honestly, that I am proud of myself. I am much better able to see when I am getting overwhelmed and I am starting to make shifts to change it. I am also starting to seek out resources without even knowing it, this adds a layer of trust in myself and gratitude that I am altering some of these subconscious patterns and neural pathways. That actually feels like a really big win.
I still struggle a lot with mindset still and some days the thought of turning my sadness into happiness seems monumental even though it is empowering to know I can change it. Sometimes I shift it and sometimes I don’t. Each choice is valid and useful. Today I didn’t totally get out of my funk, but I did move a lot of it around and was able to clarify some perspectives and solidify some of my future vision which ultimately gives me the next steps to take. Then the secret is focusing on those steps and forgetting about the end vision and letting step one reveal step two and so on. When overwhelm and fear kicks in again, one has only to zoom out and realize vision again, activate the heart and keep moving. ❤ ❤
I think, at a core level, all of us have a fear of not belonging.
It makes complete biological sense. In ancient civilizations being an outcast meant certain death. Even in modern times we see this play out with the LBGTQ community and various other “factions.” As a society we are becoming more accepting overall with pockets of increased polarization. The more people express their differences, the more often they tend to find people with the same qualities or interests and a tribe can be formed.
And then there are the people like me who aren’t exceedingly “different” by traditional standards but have never fit in. As a young child I remember thinking that I didn’t have a family and certainly didn’t belong in the one that I was dropped into. I remember longing for someone to come tell me that I was adopted because I felt so different. I was not one of those people who made themselves fit in socially, I am far too introverted for that and so easily exhausted around “faking” things and groups of people. What I did to fit in was learn to read people, anticipate needs and give them everything that I could so that, maybe, they would reciprocate love. I wanted so badly to feel like I belonged… somewhere. Belonging to me equaled love.
I learned really quickly how to show up, for men mostly. I knew their fears, their insecurities and how to make them feel loved. That’s the thing about me, I love masculine energy. I think it is so often squashed in our society. I think a lot of times men are confused on how to act and what to say and think and feel. We all want to feel powerful and I meet few men who truly feel that in themselves. I see that energy and that power and that capacity and I love to help bring that out. And I am pretty good at it. It has gotten to a point in my life though where it is almost second nature. This isn’t a bad thing, except that I often point my energy into situations where men are feeling particularly vulnerable or unappreciated and this takes a fair amount of energy for me to do. Sometimes I pull from my reserves to help boost them, often times I don’t even realize I am doing it. As I write this it makes me wonder if my boosting them up leaves me hoping they will be the knight in shining armor that I am looking for who will save me from this world and show me a place where I feel loved.
What I have failed to do in this life though, is show up for myself. I am always saving someone. People are drawn to me, they like to be vulnerable, tell me their story, lean in for support, and while I think, ultimately, that is my gift in this world, I have depleted myself so much in unhealthy ways that I cannot even find the capacity to show up like I need to. I have completely neglected showing up for me. I have traded myself for the hope that I would fit in somewhere, with someone.
I did this with Mr. X. I’m having a really tough go of the emotional processing today.
I have heard this from many men “I didn’t ask you to do all of that for me.” It is usually followed by “I don’t need your support, I don’t need anyone.” To hear those words coming from the mouth of Mr. X was heart wrenching. He is different and elevated in so many ways, but those lines, those I have heard before. It isn’t untrue. These men don’t ask for me to do things for them, but they do love how it feels and keep coming back for more. And it is also true that once they are boosted they don’t need my support, but hearing how that is said to me, I immediately translate that to “I don’t want you anymore, you’re not worthy of being in my life.” Then I take that in, I place it in my heart, I go back through all of the conversations and scenarios and I sweep up all of the blame for myself. I play the martyr card and the victim card in the hopes that they will grab the knight card and play it one last time. I am still waiting for someone to save me. When what I really need is to save myself. I need to stop waiting to fit in and just own my weirdo place in this world. I need to accept that I have something to offer that other people don’t. I have to realize that I am special and I don’t need HUGE dramatic acts of sacrifice from other people on my behalf to see what is special about me. These interactions, while well-intentioned most of the time, are toxic and do not allow a person’s real power to be expressed. I do it to the men in my life, they do it to me. It is a spin cycle. I find men that need healing and need to feel like a hero then I allow myself to be the victim. It’s toxic and dysfunctional. Things with Mr. X were not far off that script. The difference lies in the fact that he took less than he could have,he is making room for me in his life and he always supports me in my growth even if it means he gets hurt in the process. For me the difference is that I am trying not to walk away from a love that isn’t showing up like I want it to. I am really good at walking. We are both encouraging the other to be better. We both love each other deeply. And we will figure out a way to exist together. This is not always pretty and it certainly isn’t easy. Sometimes it means really strict, difficult to swallow boundaries and a trust that I am not sure I am even capable of having.
It feels incredibly scary to think that I have lost him. With him, I belong. I feel like I am home. I feel… entitled to him because of how we show up for each other. But the truth is, I am not entitled to anything, any more than he is entitled to any part of me. We are our own people. We belong to ourselves individually. We show up for us. We answer to ourselves. We do things by our own code of ethics. Mr. X is fabulous at showing up for him. He does so brutally at times. Me, I am still learning. I have to remind myself that I haven’t lost him. I just have to adjust my expectations of our relationship. I do this repeatedly on a loop, second after second. I am still waiting for it to sink in enough that it feels true. The empowering and also shit thing is that it is really up to me. I know he will be there. I know he wants me in his life. It is all up to me to get over my shit that decides whether I lose him or whether I gain a friend. It is a battle royale between head and heart right now.
I spend a lot of nights looking up at the stars. Sometimes I drop into a meditative state and travel around the galaxy. When I come back to earth I always think to myself, I can’t wait to be home.
The thing is though, everything on this earth is made of the same energy. “Going home” simply means being devoured back into the eternal soup that creates all life on this earth. It means that we lose the separation from that soup that allows us to experience this human life. If we are brave enough to look around we can see that we are connected to everything and everyone. We are all from the same blueprint. Logically I know this, even viscerally I know this, but it doesn’t take away from the deep well of isolation that I feel. To be connected to someone, to feel their heart beating next to yours, to feel their gentle breath on the back of your neck, this… this is bliss to me. This is home. This is belonging.
The tricky thing is that one has to belong to themselves first before they can fully relax and enjoy the fruits of belonging with another. ❤ ❤
I have always been a little on the anxious spectrum (read: A LOT of anxiety). I have been accused of wanting things to be perfect more than once. I have stressed over really insignificant things. I had a panic attack or two in undergrad over certain courses. It’s fascinating though that I never had that issue in vet school. Maybe I matured, or maybe I was just so busy running down a metaphorical, muddy, wet, hill, trying to keep my feet under me, that I didn’t have the space for the anxiety.
I have been able to let go of so much over the last year and my life has been a lot better for it. I have days now where I am happy and full of a feeling of love and that never used to happen. It is truly a new and wonderful experience for me. One of those happy days hasn’t shown up in a while though. The last few weeks, shit, since the first part of December really, has been filled with hit after hit. I am used to dealing with pain in my life and I am used to moving on past it. I do this, most of the time, by starting over in a new location, a new job, a new life. Nothing has ever really changed though. Each time I have moved I have eventually been confronted with the same realities. I started to evaluate this a few months ago and I have realized that I need to change the way that I confront life or these patterns will keep repeating themselves. So I decided to stop running from things and start having the hard conversations and seeing if I could cultivate the relationships that I wanted to – including the one I have with myself.
I have been really REALLY struggling with my job situation the last few weeks. I have been thrown under the bus, threatened, lied about and had my concerns completely ignored. I have had to sit in HR meetings and hear that my feelings weren’t valid and that it would take 3-4 more indiscretions at the hand of this other person before they would actually interject. I have presented management with written proof of lies and still nothing was done, threats were not taken seriously and there were no suggestions made for solutions. The manager in question was offered a promotion and took it. Thankfully, my new manager sees a lot more than the old and is taking a firm line on nasty behavior and while I am grateful for that, I still go to work everyday completely dreading it.
My bouts with anxiety have usually been very small and short lived, but with a lot of little insults and it has taken a toll on my physical body, one which I have been really focused on adjusting and healing from. This current work situation though is causing all of these things to come up that I thought were handled, so clearly I need more work in that area. My health is suffering too at this point and I am at a place where all I want to do is hibernate from the world.
I have a REALLY hard time when there are outstanding issues with other people. I usually feel so much better once I have said my piece and so has the other person and we are able to move forward in a constructive manner. This guy though, he completely lies. Blatant, bold, lies. And I cannot move forward with a person like that. I cannot close this loop. There is almost this forced stagnation taking place that is causing a whole boat load of anxiety. Quite frankly I don’t know what to do about it. And in the interest of not running I am trying to stay and work through it. I am placing boundaries, being an adult when we have to communicate and trying to keep my head down and do my work. My new manager has asked me not to leave yet as she is trying to change things as I am honoring that. I find myself, however, once again working with this guy this weekend, just the two of us and each text or ring of my phone is causing this volatile reaction through my body.
I wish I could put into words what anxiety feels like for me. It is this deep sense of desolation, a gripping of my heart and an actual pain in my chest. It is a heavy weight like a blanket that covers me and I just cannot seem to get my heart engaged in anything. It is a buzzing stiffness in my nervous system that is almost palpable. It is almost like all of my other systems have gone quiet, until it is safe to come out again, including my heart. In these moments I literally battle myself because the point in staying and fighting for life is to come at and be able to keep your heart open in the face of adversity and I feel like I am wearing myself out trying to do just that. It is bleeding over into other areas of my life as well. I am also finding myself confused about when is appropriate to throw in the towel and move on versus what is me just wanting to run, and I feel next to nothing in my heart right now to even help make that decision.
I heard this quote yesterday from Brene Brown, she said something along the lines of “pain that is not transformed is transferred.” I am seeing this happen so clearly with my situation. From a health standpoint the anxiety is showing up as back and shoulder pain, stomach issues and debilitating fatigue. From a relationship standpoint I am catching myself mentally taking my shit out on others. I did have a pretty big win for me though earlier this week, when I actually told someone what I was feeling and that it wasn’t a good time to chat and they honored that and I ended up having a productive conversation with this person at a later time about it.
I know I need to move this. I need to broaden my perspective to see solutions that I cannot right now. I know I need to calm my nervous system and remember to breathe when I am confronted with this person. I need to put this energy into creating something, and I am doing that right now. I also know I need to have some patience and compassion for myself and some appreciation for the fact that I am doing the work and making progress, even if it’s hard to see.
I got out of my funk for a while today and made some space between me and this anxiety. I had to go on a call earlier and when the text came through I just started bawling. No part of me wanted to go. I wanted to sit in my own shit and sulk and cry and snuggle with my dogs and find all of the things that are wrong with my job and with this situation at work. I wanted to lament the fact that I was alone and getting through the pain of an already bruised heart and I wanted to be stuck, because it is where I have lived for so long there is some comfort there. I still battle with myself to change things. Not because I have a hard time doing it, but because sometimes I don’t know if I really want to. Then I wonder, what kind of person wants to stay in a pile of shit. I will tell you… one who believes they aren’t worth more. Even though I know that isn’t true, I cannot come up with another explanation as to why I choose to live my life in that way sometimes. I think in some ways it is an emotional addiction. It plays to the victim stories and fear that pervaded my childhood.
Every shift, every action, every word, every thought…. one has to be diligent in the area of transformation. I think for some people it is easier. They seem to get these concepts and actually FEEL them and make shifts and have epiphanies and pops and their world changes very rapidly. I am not like that. I get all of the concepts and in many ways have a wisdom about them that surpasses a lot of other folks in this space, but the shift from thinking to feeling has been and continues to be the slowest part for me. I asked myself this today, don’t you WANT to feel happy? And the answer in that moment truly was, I don’t know. And there is the ugly truth. I don’t know sometimes.
What’s that old fable about each of us having two wolves inside us and which one are we going to feed…. I feed both… and I still haven’t breached that 51% that feeds the lighter one. Some days I find humor and joy and love. Some days the anxiety wins. Some days I reach neutrality like I did today. I found some space between me and my emotions and I let them be but didn’t interact with them, didn’t let them devour me. Did I have a happy day? Hell, no. But I did claw my way out from misery and despair and that, that is progress. In doing so a little bit of energy came back, a little bit of motivation came back and my life got a little bit lighter. From that space I can start to use the other tools. I can start to focus on feeling lighter. I can shift my energy to what I am gaining from this situation knowing that every conflict or problem provides positives if you are just able to look for them and I can evaluate how this is helping me with my future goals. In doing so I feed that white wolf just a little bit more. ❤ ❤
Sometimes the best we can do on a given day pales in comparison to what we are capable of.
We make decisions and actions with the knowledge and wisdom that we have and we move through life moment by moment the best we can. This doesn’t mean that I am always acting in my highest power or that I am happy all the time.
Sometimes the best I can do is get out of bed, get my body moving and stumble through my day.
I have been sitting down to write a post for the last 45 minutes. I have three started, none finished, and little inspiration.
Then I remembered this journey is about self love. Yes, I wanted to write everyday. So here I am writing…. it may not be a winner, it may not be “good” or full of wisdom, but it is the best that my tired mind and heart can muster.
Whatever your day today, know that here, there is love and acceptance and the knowledge that we are all doing the best we can. Sometimes self love is admitting you need a night off. ❤ ❤
I have had this really distinct feeling, the last few days, that I am moving through glue. I call this place an emotional purgatory. A space between worlds. I talked about the crazies a few days ago here and how they come to be when there is a space that you are in that is between your new life and your old life. It is not a pleasant place to rest and is 100% not a stopping point. The longer the crazies go on, the more pressure and funk surround you. I think the level of crazies that occurs is probably in direct proportion to the “bigness” of the life change at hand. Currently, the one I am going through is pretty large. I shouldn’t be surprise. I have about a four year expiration on staying in one place and doing the same thing day in and day out. I am just not meant to live with my days decided for me. So, on to the next adventure.
I am tired of working a 9-5 job. I am tired of having to answer to a boss and a manager and of having a hundred different levels of “checking in” that need to happen to get through the day. I want a job where I can be my own boss, make my own decisions, not have someone looking over my shoulder. I simply don’t need that. I know a lot of people who do, and a lot of people who love the oversight and not having to make decisions, and I applaud those people because they do jobs that, quite frankly, I don’t want to do and give me the freedom to pursue my dreams.
I also want a job that I can leave behind for a while.
I may work a 9-5 and technically am supposed to be at the clinic for those hours, but the work is never ending. The patients don’t automatically fix themselves by an appropriate time in the afternoon, the client calls and emails don’t stop after five. If I could set my own hours, maybe I would feel different, but I can’t. I have to be at work from 9-5 and then I am still expected to be present and available whenever clients/patients need me. I was told by the CEO of our company that unless I was prepared to work 24/7 I was not going to make it in this profession and maybe he is right. I definitely do not fit into the current paradigm. I have been trying to maintain some anonymity with this blog but it is time to come clean on one thing.
I am a veterinarian. I work primarily with horses. The expectations of an equine vet coupled with long hours, limited pay, a dangerous profession and the endless other stressors make it a really hard profession to survive in and we are seeing a higher attrition rate than ever before. Don’t even get me started on the stifling student loan debt and the hugely inflated cost of higher education.
Quite frankly, I am sick of it.
I used to love this profession. Before I started vet school I was working two jobs, attending two universities to get my prerequisites done, I was volunteering to gain experience. I was up early, went to bed late, was hugely motivated and thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I would drive an hour one way to get to the clinic I worked at, they would call me in the middle of the night for emergencies and I would go, happily. I loved it. Right up until I was handed my diploma. I had just spent four years taking 20+ credit hours a semester on top of working three jobs, I was exhausted before I even got on my feet. I took my first job, an internship (basically a requirement to work in equine medicine), making barely enough money to survive.
Once I was out in the “real world (and out of my internship)” things were a lot different. Suddenly I was responsible for cases. Solely responsible. I had to make all of the decisions, have all of the hard conversations, come up with treatment plans and ideas, taking all of the little considerations into account before making recommendations.
Medicine is not cut and dry. Especially vet med. In addition to having patients that can’t talk, we don’t have insurance to subsidize treatment in many cases. We have to balance what is the gold standard of care and all of the things we would like to do in the best interest of the patient with the owner’s budget. We also have to have realistic expectations of what treatments owners can be expected to take on at home with regard to their comfort level and patient disposition. We have to be able to justify every test that we want to run, and we should be able to do that! The disconnect comes in though when clients compare veterinary care with human medicine. They don’t realize that their doctor often just asks for a whole boatload of diagnostics knowing insurance is paying for it. If you actually ask your healthcare provider to explain why they are doing what they are, sometimes they can’t, and damn they don’t like to be questioned. I was fired from a doctor for asking why she was running the tests she was and for asking if we could consider an alternative treatment opposed to a strictly Western based one. Her response, “that’s not how I was trained so it doesn’t exist in my world.” Many of them are afraid to look outside the box and think critically about their patient as a whole. Symptoms are treated, not underlying causes. This is COMPLETELY opposite to vet med.
Veterinarians are an amazing group of people. We work our asses off. We love your animal and we try really really hard to do the absolute best we can with often limited resources. We, or at least I, try to practice preventative medicine in the hopes that we can you pet healthy enough to not require many veterinary visits. Most clients do not understand how much we care. They don’t understand that we go home and pour over literature trying to find something that will help your terminally ill pet. They don’t understand that we may have to end the life of a patient we have known for 15 years and five minutes later go into a room with a bright, happy family who just got a new puppy, pushing down our own emotions so we can be present with each case. They don’t understand that we discount work…. A LOT… in order to be able to provide better care than what you can afford. They don’t understand that the constant belittling of the veterinary profession and bitching about invoices makes us insane because if we actually charged for all of the things we did (like a hospital or human doctor would do) that your bill would have been twice what it was. And they don’t understand that we have one of the highest suicide rates of any profession.
Our work is dangerous and very emotional but we often have to stifle that emotion so we can continue with our day. We are constantly questioned and belittled and in my experience this also includes from family members and friends, so there is little reprieve. We have to know about multiple species and are expected, by clients, to know EVERYTHING about all of them. In the equine world we have trainers pushing for meds and injections that sometimes aren’t in the interest of the patient. We are constantly asked to compromise our values in order to provide a service for many of our competition clients. We are asked to give our cell number out to all of our clients who sometimes, because they thought of a question at 2 AM, will text or call at all hours, not realizing we just worked a 14 hour day where we had one pee break and our lunch and dinner consisted of a gas station hard boiled egg and some peanuts, and we can’t turn our phone off because we are on call. Most people will never know the jolt of resentment that comes when our phone does goes off because we are so damn tired and realize that once interrupted, won’t be able to fall asleep again. Most people will never know the heartache that comes when we lose a patient and wonder if we had done just one more test or procedure if we could have saved them. Most people will never know the absolute guilt that comes with having to tell someone, I’m sorry I can’t help you today, it is my day off. That shit gets into the heart and stays there.
And many people will never know what it is to see a mountain of debt so high that as a single person I can barely buy a used car and forget trying to buy a house… Most people won’t know what it is to go to work everyday armed with the knowledge that what they are making is a drop in the bucket, enough to survive but not enough to even begin touching the principle on their loans.
So, I am changing my current reality. I am choosing to believe that there is a different life for me. One where I can breathe. Where I can help people and have an impact on humanity. Where I can pay off my debt and live a life that is both satisfying personally and professionally. I don’t think I will ever stop being a vet, or stop working long hours, or obsessing about my patients, but I will stop being someone who is consumed by this profession and I will start being someone who does it my way. I will be an oar that is helping to shift the paradigm for all of those bright eyed veterinary wannabes that will come after me. In writing this I realize I do really love this profession. But I love me more.
So… this purgatory…
I really went off on a tangent there. I guess I am more passionate about it than I thought. I don’t want other people to feel like I do right now. I don’t want people to feel stuck or pushed into a corner with a weight on their chest because they love what they do but realize it isn’t sustainable.
I want people to feel freedom in their minds and hearts. I want them to have room to breathe, no not just room to breathe, room to take huge, full breaths, freely and openly while spreading their wings. Before I can make any sort of change in this world, I have to learn to do that for myself.
In many ways this blog started as a way to process feelings about Mr. X, it was a way to place a microscope on my life and examine all of the things that I need to change and adjust. It started as a way to get through some heartache and has turned into a hyper-focused evaluation into the edges of my own humanity, a way to stretch my own boundaries and not just discover, but create the life I was meant to lead.
Part of the process of “rebirth” is swimming through the mire and muck. It’s recognizing that the purgatory, while an uncomfortable place, is also a place of tremendous growth and means that there is movement. It is a place where one can either swim forward or backward. Decisions are being made, progress is being made, but nothing is written in stone yet. It is a sacred place actually. It feels like total shit, but is the breeding ground for the next better thing. So as I find myself here, trying to breathe through the glue, attempting to keep my head above the surface, I find a massive amount of appreciation, because I am here. I am alive. And I am well on the way to creating whatever the fuck I want. ❤ ❤
I am in a couple of Facebook groups that are dedicated to relationships and how to make them better. One of them is comprised mainly of people who have been broken up with or are going through a breakup or divorce. The cool thing about this group is that the majority of its members are doing the work to better themselves, so there is a lot of accountability.
Every once in a while though, someone posts some nasty vitriol about an ex or some whiny diatribe about how they were wronged and victimized. Some of the people truly were, there are tales of abuse and narcissism that would raise goosebumps on even the most hardened of mental health professionals. A lot of the people posting these other tirades however, are clearly at the beginning of their self help journey and have yet to do some inner work and there is a resounding disregard for how their actions could have impacted their current reality (this isn’t a judgment, I was that person not too long ago). Most of the pain that they write about is from being rejected and feeling like they aren’t good enough. This was a huge topic in one of the groups today and it got me thinking…
We have all been rejected… many, many times. It is interesting though that rejection plays such a huge part in our growth and development, yet so many people avoid taking the risks to avoid the possibility of being rejected. In relationships especially, there is so much weight to be perfect for this other person one is engaging with. This type of thinking is flawed. What are the chances, with a population of more than 7 billion people, that your soul mate lives five minutes away or will be the first person you swipe right on (or is it left… ). Probably pretty slim, and I also think this means there are a lot of people that a romantic relationship could work with. Do I think there are these once in a lifetime connections? Absolutely. I have one. But they are, in my experience, few and far between, or perhaps…. once in a lifetime!
Feelings of rejection come in, once again, when we have an attachment to a certain outcome. We want love, the person we have feelings for says they don’t love us. We want that dream job, we don’t land the interview. We want to make oodles of money and we fail in business. None of these events is comfortable, but whose to say that losing that love didn’t allow for another, even deeper connection to come in. Or that job… maybe not landing the interview meant you weren’t ready for the position and preparing a little more would result not just in snagging that job but the capacity to perform better in the required tasks. We fail in business, but the things we learned along the way so that we can try again and be successful are invaluable.
There are so many things in life that come down to perspectives. Everything really… Every situation in life and how it is processed and interacted with comes down to the perspective you take. We have this incredible capacity to make every situation a learning experience to pull from the positives, or our own unique form of hellish misery.
How do I ease the pain of perceived rejection?
I recognize that it isn’t rejection and often times isn’t personal. Yes, relationships are different in that there is a kind of personal rejection, but… rejection is such a nasty word. How about incompatibility. Even just changing the language of that one word eases the tension a little. Just think, if I am looking for that once in a lifetime relationship I have a 1 in 7 billion or so chance of finding it, of course I’m going to “reject” a lot of people, the same goes for that person you are about to have a first date with! Being incompatible with someone just means you weren’t a match, it doesn’t mean you weren’t enough!!!
When looking at the job scenario, YOU are not being personally rejected, your work might be, the results of your laziness and procrastination might be but as a person and a being you are not. Same as the failure of a business, these pitfalls are more a reflection of poor preparation, sloth, mistakes in decision making, but are not in fact a personal rejection. Are there times of true rejection… absolutely. But most of the time coming to the conclusion that it isn’t personal is easier than one would think. Sure, it still hurts, there will be grief and tears and a process to go through and it is a rare day that I can face a feeling of rejection and shift it in the moment. In fact, when I feel rejected I have to stop and really remove myself from the situation and very mindfully figure out what my takeaways are.
There is life after rejection. The quickest and simplest way that I know to reclaim that power and move forward is to take some time to figure out what was gained from that situation. Think of all of the experience, the wisdom, the strength and resilience added to your pot of skills. Then you take all of those things and melt them together and mold them into a new goal and you set forth knowing you are a little bit wiser and a lot more prepared the next time around. Maybe you learned you needed to set boundaries, maybe you learned you needed to acquire a certain skill to be a better candidate, maybe you realize you need to learn better money management in order for your business to be a success. Whatever it is, no matter the depths of hell you just went through, there are lessons there. Is this easy to do real time? Fuck no. Sometimes it isn’t easy to do for weeks or months, but if you open yourself up to seeing the possibility that there were lessons to be gained then you are setting yourself up for a resilient rebound and ultimately a game with clearer rules and increased chance for success.
Don’t fear rejection. That is the simplest way to end up dying with regret. Take the chance. Kiss the guy (or girl). Open your heart, go for that big idea. After all what is rejection really but a second chance at success. ❤ ❤
My goodness, I am distracted tonight. After last night’s glorious lack of inspiration I fear I am not much better off this evening which means… it’s time to go back to basics!
I just got done with Mike Kemski’s two week PowerLife Challenge. It was an amazing group of people all dedicated to transformation, everyone was taking the steps. We all got “lifed” in one way or another and everyone kept carrying on with this amazing amount of love and support. It was a really great group. I would HIGHLY suggest doing one of his challenges if you have the chance.
The one thing that Mike always starts his programs with is target practice otherwise known as “What do you want?”
For the longest time this was so hard for me to answer. What do I want? It’s a paralyzing question for most people. I could only start by answering with what I didn’t want. I didn’t want to be worried about money, I didn’t want to live in a house that feel oppressive and small. I didn’t want to be alone. Even writing those things down feels… icky. It feels a little bit like a stroke of negativity that I have been trying to shift all my life. It feels like fear based thinking. And it is. … but…. it’s a great place to start on this process of transformation, because if you are like me, the don’t want list is very long… which means that it’s a very easy tool to use because the opposite of that, the want list, will be equally as long. It means that you have a lot of targets and a lot of things that you want which provides motivation and momentum.
There is this flawed thinking in the personal development world that anything that is negative is bad, that if you think negative thoughts you will draw that into your life. There is some truth to that. If one constantly seeks to find the negative then that is what will “come into your life” but it is more a matter of awareness. What you are looking for, you will find. These negative things though, they exist for a reason. They provide contrast and are the duality to the positives (one cannot exist without the other). If all you see is negatives and you want to see the positives, then USE the negatives to see the positives. It’s really simple actually. In this case we want to figure out what we want and all we have is a list of don’t wants.
I don’t want to worry about money – so what I do want it to have enough income coming in that I can make purchases without anxiety or concern, this will lead to a feeling of freedom.
I don’t want to live in a small, oppressive house, so what I do want it a living arrangement that is big enough where I feel unencumbered and have all of my things around me comfortably, this will give me a feeling of openness and freedom.
I don’t want to be alone, so I want someone in my life who I can have a fulfilling and loving relationship, this will make me feel secure and cherished.
That’s the other thing about our want list, what we are really searching for is a feeling, or several feelings that lead to an overall elevated quality of life. The tricky part here with some of these goals is not getting too attached to the future vision and being open to how those things might show up. Alternatively the goals can be very specific. I can say I want a two story home with a hot tub and a granite counter top kitchen and that is just as valid. That might make me feel successful for example.
So why did I go back to the beginning? It’s a good reminder for me what I want this blog to be and I am hoping it will help me get back on track and find some inspiration to write.
What I don’t want is this to be a dumping ground for all of my emotions. What I do want is a safe space where I can come to write about my own personal development and journey into loving myself deeper with the hope that these words will reach other people who are on a similar path. It will hopefully provide some inspiration or at least motivation to them to strive, not for perfection, but for progress in building the life they want and will provide a body of content for what I hope will one day be an illustrious career as an authenticity and mindset coach.
Once I have my don’t want and do want list (this is an exercise in duality), it’s now time to look for resources to help me get what I want. This is where the power of perspectives comes in. All day today I have been worried about what I was going to write tonight. NOTHING CAME TO ME…. and why would it? I was meeting the task with anxiety and fear, but now that I have revisited my mission I can look back on my day and see I actually had a lot of resources that could have contributed to a post tonight.
I was in a really crabby mood this morning and instead of running and hiding from the world I chose to tell the person I was supposed to work with that I was not feeling like having company and would she mind doing some other tasks today. Old me would have just let her come with and would have not spoken three words the entire day and instead been pissed about my lot in life. So right there is 1. huge progress and 2. a lesson in communication and asking for what you want that could be a topic to write on.
I had a run in with the unflattering man that I work with. He and that situation is an endless source of input on what not to do and how not to be a team player… more material.
I had to search long and hard for motivation for my day job, more material there on how I found some today.
I also took the alone time I needed, put in a motivating podcast, thank you Russell Brand, and by the time I got through my morning was in a much better mood so… material on shifting mindset.
See…. there are resources all around us all the time. It is a matter of asking how can this help me get to that. How can my dogs help me blog better? They provide a sense of well being that can get me centered to write. How can my chic fil a help me blog better? I can’t think very well on an empty stomach and it saved me time from cooking so I could sit down to my computer after a long day. How can the veggies I bought at the store help me (I know I know… yes I bought veggies and then had fast food), they provide a nourishing meal that will help my cells work efficiently which will improve my thinking and clarity… etc etc. You get the idea.
So really when I look around, I have a ton of inspiration. It is just a matter of seeing it and using it. And now that I have this one in the books, I have a lot more material for the rest of the week. It’s simple really, what do you want? It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It is basically a process in learning to make decisions. Find a target, identify resources to help you, interact with 3-5 of them every day, gain confidence in decision making, pick another larger target and keep going until suddenly you are living the life you imagined! ❤ ❤