No More Time to Bide Time

I have exceptionally good news: I just passed my second licensing exam. which means that I am now a licensed clinical social worker! 

This means I can immediately get a raise in my current job, but what it really means is that I can gradually LEAVE my current job and move into private practice. This is a huge deal, because I have been working towards this since forever ago. There was the undergraduate degree, then the graduate degree, then the 3200 supervised hours to collect, then the pre-licensure coursework, then the mountain of paperwork to apply as a candidate for the tests, then the months of intensive studying and the ocean of anxiety that I almost drowned in while prepping for the first test, then a repeat for the second test. Needless to say, I am giving myself a huge pat on the back right now.

Being done with this process though, brings me back to another part of my life that I have been studiously avoiding for, say, the last nine months. That part would be the question of trying for another child.

As soon as I gave birth to my son, I decided I wanted to do it again. I loved the birthing process, the unbelievably soft skin of my newborn and the surprising fierceness of my immediate love for him. Each time I have ever asked my now almost 4-year-old son if he’d like a little brother or sister, his answer is an enthusiastic yes. My husband, a little less enthusiastic, but he’s willing to give it a go.

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know about the miscarriages I experienced last year, as well as the partial molar pregnancy that shook me to my core. After all this, I wondered if I had the courage to try to get pregnant again. After mulling it over for a while, I decided to focus on getting this licensing process out of the way, and then try one more time.

The time is here to try. I am standing at the edge of a precipice, and I am suddenly unsure about taking the next step. Fear and grief blind me from seeing the answer when I ask myself and God if another child is in the cards for me. I am so afraid to try again and I am terrified to hope for this. Forget believing in it. 

And then I take a step back and loosen my white-knuckled grip. And maybe I am starting to get some perspective here. The thing is, what this all comes down to is lack of control. I can attempt to get pregnant. I can take care of my body and do all those things one can do to encourage fertility, but that’s it. Beyond that, it’s fate, God’s will, or a roll of the dice; whichever you believe in. I can only do what I can do, and then it is out of my hands. And I need to be OK with that. I just need to be okay. 

To be all right with grief. To know I may get pregnant and fall in love with the teeny life inside of me, and then it may stop growing. And this might happen right around the time my mom decides to go, because my mom now has hospice in her life, so it won’t be long now.  So one way or another, grief is going to get me.

I think I might be okay, because the thing is that the wheel turns and we eventually lose everything in life. That is the human experience, to believe in the illusion that anything is ours to have to lose in the first place.

Here I am at the precipice. And the time is now or never. I think I can be courageous now. I can stand with my hands open and empty. Gaze into the infinite. Breathe…and take that last step into the abyss. 

The Bare Necessities

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It is so wild that I am sitting down to write my first post about my pledge to practice yoga/meditation on a regular basis, and as I look at my blog to see how long I have been doing this, I see that I made this pledge exactly one month ago today. How cosmic is that?

So, the last time I wrote about this, I was high from the San Francisco Salsa Rueda Festival, and I talked about movement as meditation. Since then, I have barely amazingly managed to keep up with my regular practice, and I have come up with some basic guidelines for myself.

1. Dancing does not count. I love to dance, and yes, it is a meditation, but if I count this as part of my regular yoga/meditation practice, I will never do yoga. And I will never sit and meditate. I will just dance, and I already do that so it doesn’t really count.

2. I need to be alone. This is time for me to check in with me, myself, and I. I can sit and stretch and twist all I want when I am around other people, but this is not me checking in with myself. It is merely me extending and exercising my muscles while socializing.

3. Listening to my hypnosis sessions does count, as long as I don’t fall asleep five minutes into it. I got one hypnosis CD for test anxiety, and another for Bruxism (teeth-grinding, which I have learned I do with a vengeance). They have been helping me a lot. I have a lot of anxiety in my life right now, and this is a way for me to stay on top of it. I am learning “to be relaxed more than I ever have before (actual quote from hypnosis CD).”

4. Hatha yoga is very different from sitting meditation, and I need both. Ideally, I would be spending 15 minutes minimum nightly just sitting in meditation, but I need to stretch my body to de-stress. I need more time to devote to both practices, and meditation is getting the short end of the shaft right now, because my body demands to unwind. And that is okay, for now, until I get through this very packed and crazy part of my life (I sense someone snickering and thinking, “The crazy times never end, you fool…”)!

5. My practice is about nurturing myself, not about self-discipline. My life is way too disciplined right now. I am studying for my LCSW exam, and let me tell you, this test is a motherfucker! Serious insomnia inducing, teeth-grinding insanity. And I am not a nervous test-taker. I am also juggling a job where I constantly hear horror stories and try to help people find light in dark places. And then there’s parenting my almost 4-year-old boy who seems to be getting hit by a massive wave of testosterone. My sweet little mama’s boy is now fluctuating between screaming at me, hitting, outright defiance, and extreme clinginess. Patience has been a true necessity that I have sometimes been short on lately. There are plenty of other stressors I could list, but they are either in the past, in the future, or in the not so central present, so i will not get into them, because thinking about them is making me chew my fingernails. The point is, I need quiet time, to give myself what I really need.

I am learning more about what I really need, because filling these needs feels really essential right now. I think I am listening to my deeper needs more than I ever have in my life. Simple things, like: get to sleep at a reasonable hour; cut back on the caffeine, alcohol, and sugar; eat healthy foods and take vitamins; communicate assertively instead of holding things in; don’t spend my precious energy sweating the small stuff; be grateful; and relieve stress with physical activity (including sex!!!).

I already knew all this stuff. These were the “shoulds” that were always in the back of my mind. But somehow, they are becoming the “wants” and the “musts” at the forefront of my mind. Challenging times bring us back to our foundation. I am digging deep and making mine strong.