epiphanies, a-has, and oh-duhs

Part of my day job (what is my night job, you ask?  mother...  blogger...  crappy television programming consumer... other assorted unpaid adventures...) is to teach.  And as a teacher (or trainer of facilitator, depending on the environment) my goal is to help the people I'm with have at least one "a-ha" moment; a moment where suddenly something becomes clear and the concept(s) I'm teaching is something they can make their own--and therefore make work for themselves.  I have  a fair number of a-ha moments in life... I usually call them epiphanies (because I like to be dramatic and like religious allegory).

Lately every blog post has been immediately following an epiphany--or even more truly a part of one.  I know it's time to blog when my brain starts to send out shoots (like strawberry plants in winter) that are gathering around something (an idea, thought, or feeling).  I can rarely get to the source or final destination without coming here.  I will have the first couple of paragraphs of a blog post in my head, I will sit down, they'll come out, and then what will follow is usually some clarity and a descriptions of my thoughts coming full circle... all the way back around to a witty ending that somehow ties in with the title.  I always write the title first, by the way, so I'm not sure how it always works out that way... but it does. and I like it.

I rely on these a-ha moments and/or epiphanies to propel me forward.  I feel like they are a symbol of my growth.  I still take two steps forward and one step back just like everyone else, but once I've learned something it is always present in my mind.  Not always at the front, but at least stored away in an easily accessible cabinet that remains unlocked.

Today I had an a-ha moment, but it was not the same as the others I've had recently.  My latest a-has have provided me with a sense of calm direction when my divorce negotiations are getting more and more difficult by the moment.  My latest a-has have come from moments of quiet introspection while flipping through catalogs of past learning experiences and attempted imparts of wisdom from others.  My latest a-has have been motivating and inspiring me with hope... and that's the only place where my a-ha moment today has anything in common with the others recently.

My a-ha moment today came from someone else, or rather, with someone else in my new therapist's office.

As someone who has been in and out of therapy since the age of 11 (that's 20... count 'em, 20 years) I am pretty difficult to therapize.  Both my work and my personal experience have resulted in a few situations: I am well versed in non-violent communication and reflective listening, I know about motivational interviewing and the stages of change, I know about cognitive behavioral therapy and behavior planning... I'm kind of a pain in the ass.

I've been on the hunt for a therapist for a while and after mostly relying on my insurance website as the source with limited success I've been hoping to find one on the recommendation of a friend.  In the absence of finding any results in more traditional methods I've taken to looking for therapists who specialize in something new and interesting.  I spent some time exploring somatic experiencing which was cool, but the practitioner's affect was absent of any nurturing and I found our sessions only to be successful when I had my eyes closed.  After completing our 8 approved sessions I took what I learned and moved on.  I've done some bio-reprogramming and found it wildly successful in identifying and breaking some of my patterns of self destructive behavior, but it's $150 a session and I'm broke.  Today the person I saw specializes in Brainspotting which I have yet to experience, but I'll tell you about it later if you'd like.

Our first session was awkward in the beginning (as most therapy intakes are as we both trying and dance around the fact that we are strangers and I have come for help with my most intimate of topics), but I was in tears within 10 minutes (this.  is a good thing.  it was safe.  i cried.) and later when I started to try and explain something she gently stopped me and said "you're telling me what you think about it.  can you get out of your head, go back to your heart, and tell me how you feel about it?"  Really?  I did that?  It was a little shocking, but not surprising I suppose.  I describe myself as someone who is driven by her feelings, but I certainly do also rely on those moments when they feelings "make sense" (aka, the epiphanies... aka, the moments when the feelings and thoughts align and are blog worthy).  It was good feedback.  I like feedback.

But the a-ha came near the end of the session after she had heard me explain all the current issues, some of the past ones, and what I was hoping to get from our work together she asked "in all your years of therapy have you ever had someone talk to you about building a relationship with yourself?"

I sat there with my mouth agape, eyes up and to the left looking for a memory of a time when that might have happened and realizing very quickly and plainly that "no.  I haven't."  And after that I didn't hear a lot about what she was saying because I was having a moment (which she intuitively realized, sat by and waited for, and then asked me about--good therapist!), an a-ha moment...

She is going to teach me how to have a relationship with myself so that any time I need to recharge, seek love, connection, approval, understanding, forgiveness, attachment, comfort, anything... I can look within and find it.  I won't be looking to other people, food, shopping, even some of those healthy coping skills like doing regular exercise and making time to do things I enjoy will pale in comparison to the effectiveness of building a loving and fulfilling relationship with myself.  Damn... I was a little taken aback when I realized that I thought that is what I had been working on this whole time.  I mean, I'm always looking inside--I can see myself, I have "good insight," I am open and accepting to feedback, I am constantly striving for improvement--but apparently I was doing that to be better able to cope with all of the relationships I was having outside of myself. 

I walked into the room today feeling quite hopeless and helpless after a few intensely emotional days in divorce land.  I walked out feeling hopeful and confident that I was going to be okay.  No matter how much BFO and I disagree, I am going to be okay.  Whether or not my crush likes me back, I am going to be okay.  When I am all alone, with only myself, and my thoughts I am going to be okay.  It's not like I haven't known this all along(I really have), but I've always attributed "being okay" to something happening that makes it so (whether it be outside force or epiphany)... and I have no idea how this is going to work, but I am excited to find out.

I'm going to learn to build a relationship with myself that meets all my needs.  A-ha... or rather... oh-duh.  Yeah, that makes sense.  Let's do THAT.