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Story Time: The World According to Garp

The World According to Garp, pp 1-13

As an offering to the community I am reading aloud from an old favorite book of mine, The World According to Garp by John Irving.

I invite you to sit back and listen.

I will update the story at least once a day and offer about a half hour of reading for each session.

This first excerpt is from Chapter 1, Boston Mercy, pages 1-13.

Enjoy!

 

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Shelter in Place

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You may feel alone on a vast sea of isolation.

Please know.

I am here.

I am committed to being here, staying calm, being gentle, staying on a schedule to the best of my ability, eating meals away from screens and distraction.

I want to be a pillar for my community at this time of uncertainty and unknowing.

We are in a dark hallway with out knowing what door will open next or onto what scenario.

In times like these it can be easy to slip down the rabbit hole of fear and anxiety.

Breathe deep.

Remember that fear and faith are in concept the exact same thing–belief in a future that you cannot see.  One says it will be dark and scary, one says, you will be taken care of.

Choose faith.

Choose connection.

Reconnect with the telephone.

Pretend it is the 80s again and you have a yellow rotary phone will a long tangled curly cord and you are on the phone with your best friend.

Have conversations deep into the night.

Practice social media distancing.

Titrate how much news you take in and consider your sources.

The news cycle can lead one into a state of panic and fear so quickly.  Step outside the cycle.  Check in once or twice a day for updates.  Take social media apps off of your phone.

Listen to music.

Dance.

No one’s watching.

Dance some more.

Listen to nature, open you windows, the birds are still calling each to each.

Write.

Journal.

Blog.

Draw.

Make up goofy limericks.

Learn a new poetry form.

Villanelle.

Sestina.

Sonnet.

Look at photo albums.

Breathe.

Do that again.

Breathe.

Read books.

Listen to podcasts.

If you have the ability and access to walk in nature, go!  Take a walk!  Be kind to others you may see, from a gentle distance, remember that a smile is a flower that you can offer to the world.

Inquire into your heart.

What are the things you really want to do?

You have time to ponder.

Write them down!

Make a list.

Take a hot bath if you have a tub, with bubbles.

Take a hot shower if you don’t have a bath.

Do that silly face mask you have put off doing.

Lounge with a cozy blanket.

Take a nap.

Drink hot tea.

Stay hydrated.

If you are in recovery, there are zoom meetings online!  Use that forum and stay connected.

Isolation can be a terrible thing, or it can be a gentle way of becoming connected to yourself, you heart, your psyche and soul.

You are fabulous company!

Practice meditation.  What better time than now when you have this spacious abundance of time to sit and be still with yourself.

Light candles and have a romantic dinner with yourself, put on some jazz or Bossa Nova, or classical music; you know what you like best.

Please yourself–dress in your favorite clothes, find those things that delight you and pull them out of the closet, put on makeup if it makes you happy.

Hug yourself.

Savor your food.

Stretch.

Find your art supplies and paint, draw, sketch.

Catch up on your homework.

Cook a nice meal.

Paint your toenails a silly color, no one is looking, in fact, make it glitter.

Learn origami.

Try to cut out paper dolls.

Try to memorize your favorite poem.

Bake.

Sing.

Sing out loud.

Sing even louder, no one is listening.

Be kind and gentle and sweet.

And.

Remember.

This too shall pass.

 

Bodypsalm for Uncertainty

May the plans you cancel

return you to another life

the one waiting as a patient lover

wondering when you will arrive

to the shore of your inner ocean.

In the midst of restrictions –

self-isolation and social distancing

take some ingredients for the journey

probiotics for the soul

the curiosity for small things

quince and daffodil blooming

sipping tea slowly

the free range of kindness

daily practices of breathing deep

reading poems and calling a friend

Drink in kindness and compassion

as you live in a time of not-knowing

become intimate with shadow

live creatively in dangerous times

alive to what comes

a meditation on wonder

calling you to soften

to the unknown.

~ Celeste Snowber ~

Gratitude, Health, love, Meditation, Self-Care

Hurry Up, To Slow Down

I had a nagging thought today as I sat and did my meditation.

I am no paragon of virtue, I do not often sit and do an actual meditation, I prefer moving meditations–walking or bicycling, or writing meditation.

I do a writing meditation just about every morning with very few exceptions.

It is based off the Julia Cameron book, The Artists Way, a way to explore creativity and connect with your creative aspirations.

I have been doing this for years now, over a decade actually.

The writing informs me.  I find that through the simple act of putting pen to paper, my attitudes about my life, my circumstances, and who I am (or think I am) change.

I also am a creature of habit and routine, I find comfort in routine and the knowledge of how that secure frame helps me to actually achieve and do many things.

Yet.

I often find myself ruminating, and I am sure I am not alone in this, about what more I could be doing.

We are such a culture of more.

MORE!

MORE!

MORE!

A wise person once asked me if I wasn’t happy with what I had, why would more make me happy?

I was floored.

And I began to find gratitude for what I had versus what I did not have, or how I compared myself to others around me, who I thought, at the time, had what I wanted.

So.

It’s Sunday.

A day of rest.

A day for contemplation.

A day for meeting with my best friend early for coffee and taking a long walk.

I like to sleep in on Sundays.

It’s not very late, but it is the only day I do, 8a.m. feels like a tremendous luxury.

Yet.

Today I got up early and got ready to meet my friend for coffee.

Realizing the importance of connecting and being with people I love is very important to me.

Especially as I age and find the grey hairs sprouting from my forehead and gently waving me on from one stage of life to another.

The importance of making time to see people and connect.

I felt more fueled and invigorated by coffee and a walk with my best friend than if I had slept in that extra hour and a half.

Then again, it might have just been the coffee.

But the rejuvenation of company that I adore and a walk through a park I had not hitherto explored in the city was the best tonic.

That and the exceptional weather.

San Francisco’s June gloom (fog season is upon the city) was no where to be seen and it demanded acknowledgement and appreciation.

I did my best to appreciate.

Making sure I took a break from the work projects I had to sit outside for lunch and really be in the moment.

To feel the sun on my skin, hear the birds–identifying crows, seagulls, sparrows, and robins, in the song saturated blue sky, to feel the air warm soft on my face.

Glorious.

It was perhaps the al fresco lunch that set my brain tumbling.

I wasn’t doing enough with my time!

So.

I connected with a friend, decided to do a group meditation in the late afternoon and also, yes!  I’ll go to yoga.

Driving across town, the windows rolled down, my music loud, summer time frolicking all through the city, happy to gather for an hour with community.

Except that when I sat.

My brain attacked me.

It got bogged down in the details of getting back across town, getting my yoga mat out, what should I wear (really, brain, really?) to class, and all the tiny details that my mind thought it needed to figure out while I was meditating.

Gratefully I have learned enough to not judge that part of me and when I could just breathe and let it go.

It’s taken me a long time to breathe and let go.

Perhaps all my life, with all my life yet to practice, I have with valiant effort, tried to do this.

Some days.

Success!

Some days mindless iterations of what needs to be done.

Certainly not sitting still.

When the meditation was up and I said goodbye to the group and some friends I hadn’t seen in a while, the meditation actually made itself quite clear as to what I had to do next.

Hurry up and slow down.

What was more important?

Driving like a lunatic, (safely of course, I drive safely in the city!) perhaps I should rephrase that, drive anxiously, across town to make the yoga class.

Or.

Stop.

Stay awhile.

Hug that friend I don’t see that often, catch up with another, breathe and realize that I have done enough today.

I am a human being.

Not a human doing.

I am allowed to slow down.

To become like molasses, warm and and soft, slow and relaxed, gently moving from one place to another.

So I did not rush across town, I did not beat myself up for not doing more on my day off, hello, that’s what days off are for, slowing down.

Breathing.

Listening to the birds.

Sitting still.

Appreciating what I have and grateful for the chance to skip a yoga class to just be a person having a day off.

Yoga will be there when I need it.

My days off may not be.

Today.

I choose to slow down.

I took the day off.

It was a good choice.

I cannot recommend it enough.

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Finances, Health, Self-Care, Therapy

Super Bills

I am often asked by prospective clients if I take insurance.

I always feel a little let down when I say no, I want very much to provide the best possible care to my clients and I know that many out there rely on insurance to help cover the costs of therapy.

What I do provide, however, is something called a “super bill.”

A super bill is an itemized receipt that has my agency’s name and information, Grateful Heart Holistic Therapy Center, the clients name, birthday, a spot to input their insurance information (their insurance policy number) and a diagnosis.

Now.

Some clients don’t want a diagnosis.

They don’t want a paper trail or something saying “this is what’s wrong with me.”

There’s nothing wrong with you,  you are not broken.

You may have one or many areas that you will find succor by doing therapy.

Grief work.

Boundary setting.

Recovery from trauma.

Drug addiction, alcoholism, panic attacks, anxiety, depression.

This does not mean that you need to be “fixed” and often a diagnosis or a label leaves a client feeling like they are broken or need to take medications.

I am not opposed to medication either, there are certain things that really should be treated in conjunction with a psychiatrist, absolutely.

And.

If you don’t want to be labeled be aware that your insurance company will require your therapist to provide a diagnosis.

Now when I do a super bill for my client I explain what the diagnosis is that I have come up with and I do a thorough assessment and a few sessions before coming to anything definitive.  I do not give the diagnosis without consulting with my client.  I want to empower my client and help them understand the language of the diagnosis.  I leave the choice to them, always.

I let them know why I have come up with the diagnosis I have and then I go through the DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders) with them and clarify any questions they have.

I will also add, that for some clients, there is comfort in having a proper diagnosis.  Being able to name something that you are suffering through has distinct therapeutic benefits.

It all depends on you and what your needs are.

So if you have insurance that allows you to be reimbursed for your therapy sessions I will provide this super bill which you then turn over to your insurance company.

Some insurance providers won’t accept it, but many will.

I encourage you, I really do!  Should you be balking at therapy because you can’t find a therapist who takes insurance, and I’m not just saying myself, but any therapist that you make a connection with, find out if you can be provided a super bill.

It’s a kind of go around that many clients are not aware that they can have access to.

Yes.

You will still have to pay me up front, that’s the nature of the system, but you may often get some portion if not all of your session costs returned to you.

Talk to your insurance provider, find out if they will reimburse.

Get a super bill.

Get therapy.

It helps.

It really does.

It’s worth every penny.

And so are you.

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