Letting Go of Suffering- New Series Announcement

Are you tired of holding on to the past or worrying about the future?

Have you had your fill of feeling like a victim?

Are you committed to stopping your self-defeating behaviors?

Starting on Monday, November 21, I will be posting one chapter a week (for 17 weeks) from the Letting Go of Suffering workbook I wrote in 1991. If you answered “Yes” to any of the questions above, this upcoming “course” may be instrumental in helping you to make those changes.

This course is meant to increase your understanding of why you are the way you are and to teach you some new behaviors that can facilitate your movement from suffering to joy. Among the areas that will be addressed are:

  • Identifying Your Vision
  • Discovering Your Suffering Profile
  • Stopping Passive Behavior and Critical Self Talk
  • Using Affirmations and Contracts to Heal
  • Holding Yourself Accountable

I look forward to the possibility of sharing this journey with you.

Letting Go of Suffering Series:

Letting Go of Suffering- New Series Announcement

Letting Go of Suffering- Week 1: The Beginning

Song Lyric Sunday: Little Trees

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Helen’s direction for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday is to share lyrics from a song that has something to do with nature.

Since a major focus in my life right now is freeing trees from invasive plants such as blackberry vines and ivy, I decided to look for songs that talked about trees. The first one that drew me was Michael Mitchell’s song “Little Trees”. While I liked that one a lot, I decided to consider songs from a wide variety of sources. I listened to Bob McGrath (1922) singing a musical version of Joyce Kilmer’s poem- Trees, Metalicca’s- Blackened,  Rush’s- The Trees, and Enya’s- Memory of Trees.

These songs varied from hopeful to apocalyptic. I decided to go with the first one I had listened to, one that was written for the purpose of teaching children about trees. Michael Mitchell wrote “Little Trees” for Sesame Street. It is part of his album Canada is for Kids: Volume 1.

Lyrics

LITTLE TREES

I’d like to take a walk in the woods
Come with me, do you think you could
We’ll find a tree that we can climb
We’ll have fun all afternoon

Chorus:
Little trees need a chance to grow
It takes time and care
They’re a lot like us you know

So many kinds of different trees
They look like one big family
Big ones, short ones, baby ones too
I’ll name this one after you

It’ll be a long time before he
Is tall and strong like a grown up tree
For now he’s just a kid like us
Playing out in the woods

For the video, I picked Phantom Ember singing the song. I didn’t have much luck finding out information about Phantom Ember. From what I’ve read, I’m wondering if it is the ghost of Ember McClaine from a Nickelodeon animated television series Danny Phantom. Am I right?

Naiva Klishta Na Cha Kathina नैव क्लिष्टा न च कठिना

Each week, the Sanskrit class I attend opens with us singing “Naiva Klishta Na Cha Kadhina.”  I love the song and it frequently plays in my head during the day and during the night.

Last week I found it on YouTube.

I asked my teacher what the words meant and he suggested that members of the class translate it.  One of the other students and I are going to do that.  As you can see below, there are lots of verses.

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I finished my attempt at translating the first verse.  It appears to be a list of some of the qualities of Sanskrit.

Sanskrit is:

lovely, easy to understand, universally agreeable to the mind.

elegant, beloved, to be enjoyed

sweet speech

not obscure and not difficult

I look forward to working on  the other verses.  And I am also looking forward to seeing what my classmate comes up with!

 

That “Now I Get It” Moment

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I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 1970, followed by a Master of Nursing in 1974. After receiving my Master’s degree, I taught undergraduate nursing students at the University of Washington for five years. I enjoyed teaching, conducting research and writing for publication, all requirements of my Assistant Professor position. After teaching there for five years, I decided to take a job as a Maternal-Newborn Clinical Specialist at Swedish Hospital Medical Center in Seattle.

To progress along a tenure track at the University of Washington, I would have had to earn a PhD. At some point in the early 80’s, I decided to start working on the PhD. I don’t remember what my reasoning was at the time, but I imagine it was to keep my options open.  Afterall, I might want to teach at the University again someday. I continued to work at Swedish Hospital part time as I started the PhD program coursework. I don’t remember what the degree was called in those days but I know that it focused on nursing research and that I chose a track that had a special emphasis in statistics.

At some point during those years, I also started my personal therapy. I loved that process. It helped me move through the pain of my early years and I was able to make good friends and connect in a way I hadn’t in the past. One day, I had an insight that hit me like a sledge hammer. Even though I was doing very well in my studies, I realized I didn’t want a PhD and I didn’t want nursing research to be my life’s work.

In that moment, I realized I was studying for the degree in hopes that my father would acknowledge my existence if I had a PhD. My education had always been important to him and some of my earliest memories were of me asking him to make up math problems I could work on.

While I don’t think we were ever close, our relationship became even more strained as I moved into my teen and young adult years.  We had battles when I came home from college during summer vacations, usually over civil rights issues. During one of those altercations, he told me to get out of the house.  My mother intervened so I didn’t actually move out. The last straw came in 1971 when I told him I was going to marry Al, an African-American man I had met in Seattle.  Simply by my having made that statement, he declared that he would not speak to me again, and he didn’t. My father died in 1999 without ever having said a word to me or my children.

Realizing that my PhD study was so tied to a child-like yearning for my father’s approval ended my interest in the degree. I was loving my psychotherapy experience and in time it became my passion. I did what it took to get the credentialing to become a nurse psychotherapist (Clinical Nurse Specialist in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing) and I’ve been doing that work ever since.

I see the moment when I recognized the tie between my PhD program and the unfinished business from my past as one of those life changing moments, one that propelled me into work that I felt passionate about and believe I was born to do.

 

Written for Dungeon Prompts: That Now I Get It Moment