January 2019 – Fail Forward
I have chosen to revise my personal New Year’s letter for my first blog of the year. Oddly enough, it was just what I needed to read today having been rather discouraged about my life yesterday. I am reminded not to give up. So here goes…
Another year has come and gone with a brand new one ahead of us. This past year has held many challenges as well as pleasant surprises. The best one being the arrival of my dog, Abbie, whom I adopted from a rescue in April. She is a very well-mannered pup and a great companion, with just enough attitude to keep life interesting. After the first few months of excessive energy, she has settled into a more mellow life, accommodating my Chronic Fatigue limitations quite well.
As I look back over the past year and forward into the new one, I am grateful for my cozy cabin right next to a Provincial Park. It’s a great place to walk Abbie in all seasons; and we’ve taken great advantage of the snow and well-used ski/hiking trail minutes from my front door.
My office in St Pierre is very tiny (hardly more than a storage closet); but it is welcoming and comfortable for two (and a good reason to take a break from couple’s counselling). There was literally nothing to rent in the area; and my landlords graciously made space for me at a reasonable rate. Hard to believe I have been on this journey of re-establishing myself for over a year now. Sometimes it feels like I left my old life “just yesterday,” as they say.
There are moments I get discouraged as my work is not nearly as busy as it was in Didsbury, but that took 3 years to build up (the advantage then was that mine was the supplemental income, not the main one). The two provinces are vastly different for mental health networking; so it has been an uphill battle to break into the Manitoba market. Professionally, I have acquired the sought-after designation of CCC: Canadian Certified Counsellor, granted by the CCPA (Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association). I attended the CCPA national convention, conveniently held in Winnipeg last year in May, as well as a couple of networking events for the Manitoba branch, garnering some great contacts plus broadening my understanding of the First Nations cultural situation. Disturbing and fascinating. I have also become a service provider for MB Blue Cross, so hopefully that will prove beneficial as well.
Living in a predominantly French/bi-lingual community has also afforded me the opportunity to continue my second year of French studies (building upon my high school French). I am a long way from being fluent; but it is good practice for my brain and counters my reclusive (aka homebody) nature. I have met some wonderful people and quite enjoy living in this rural neck of the woods.
As for marital status, I remain separated until I have the financial resources to file for divorce. Many have wondered how I am doing and of course are curious what happened. The short version is that our marriage did not survive the strain of losing our beloved dog, Gracie. She was the glue that held us together; and Elsa was a band-aid that couldn’t heal the wound. I miss her very much. I doubt I will ever find a self-trained therapy assistant like her again.
However, let me assure you I have no regrets—not to being married for 20 years and not for leaving said marriage. I have not only grown, but also blossomed, since venturing out on my own. When asked if I am okay, I can honestly say with enthusiasm, I am better than okay. Liberated is a good word. I sacrificed a lot in my past life. It feels very good to find myself once again. I have a new appreciation for so many different things now: as we say in this biz, that which doesn’t kill you makes you a more empathetic and effective therapist. I truly love my work and hope I can make a decent living out of it as self-employment is a necessity given my health limitations. If I could, I would do it for free; but I have yet to find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I’ll let you know if I find it.
In the meantime, I will fail forward this year (a phrase that resonated with me when I heard it in a TV interview). I cannot avoid failure (and I saw plenty of it trying to start a practice all over again); so it gives me hope. Every experience can build upon another until I find I have a foundation that will hold me steady. It won’t be perfect, but the best things in life never are.
I am not there
I am not then
I am nowhere else
I am not them
I am not you
I am myself.
I rest from doing
need not achieve.
I do not ask
I do not need.
This is the place
for me to be.
Here I am.
“Dwelling” by Wendy Rudd