The Winding Path

Counselling Services provided by Barb Zacharias

Summer 2021: Dreams

Posted on Aug 18, 2021

This afternoon, I finished reading Design Your Next Chapter by Debbie Travis (2018). I have been a fan of hers for many years, first being introduced to her vibrant decorating style on the show CityLine (then hosted by Marilyn Denis) followed by The Marilyn Denis Show. I greatly admire both of those women. And I have no doubt Debbie’s influence is evident in my décor schemes.

Reading about Debbie’s next chapter prompted reflection of my own, as well as the realization that I have had a few “next chapters” in my life already, whose trajectories followed much of what Debbie described in her book—which was affirming in knowing I can keep going. Having been exposed to the concept of her Tuscan adventures on the aforementioned TV shows, it was interesting reading about her journey of ups and downs. It was an arduous process fraught with obstacles as well as exciting progress. My chapters have been less dramatic—I think; but none-the-less challenging and rewarding.

I also hope I have at least another two chapters yet to develop: my own version of retreats (but for trauma recovery) and writing my memoirs. Both are daunting in their own way and feel more of a dream then close to reality. I peck away at both, unsure what the next steps will be most of the time. But some things can remain unknown as I am not ready to move forward past where I am right now. Which of course gets me to thinking about where I am at this point in time; and how I’ve gotten here.

I felt a kinship with Debbie’s description of her Tuscan life and gratitude for my own dream life of sorts. Sometimes I cannot believe it’s really true. It may not be Tuscany, but it is my own idyllic environment. As I ponder these things, I am lying in my hammock in my beautifully-treed backyard. At first, mosquitoes made me consider returning indoors; but a slight breeze soon changed their minds and mine.

I finished reading the book; and as I reflected upon what I read, daycare kids were being picked up across the street. The dogs “greeted” a few passers-by. The breeze felt like a gentle caress on my skin. I did not want to leave my idyllic spot as much as my mind was telling me to “get on with it.” Then I remembered the notepad app in my phone—which I actually had with me outside (not a frequent occurrence)—and decided I could start my blog from the comforts of my backyard on this gorgeous summer day.

Marveling at how “almost perfect” my life appears to be, a nagging voice reminds me of what remains to be achieved or done. However, I wouldn’t trade the life I have now for any other. Sure, I had to sacrifice financial stability; but I am learning the Universe has a way of working things out. I just need constant reminders. The book also made me think about how I’ve put making a difference ahead of financial success when most people “get ahead” first, then “give back.” Now I’m wondering how to get ahead without losing at giving back.

Therein lies the quandary: I hate “the hustle.” I love the work, but I don’t like networking or finding new avenues for referrals or clientele. Aka: drumming up business. Sales, especially of my own services, is not my forté. In close association with that is helping clients find ways to pay for my much-needed counselling services.

My profession is a complicated industry where the well-off have easier access to wellness. I have spent a lot of time and effort trying to make counselling more accessible to all. Playing by the rules and jumping through hoops has been exhausting. I no longer have the inclination or wherewithal to be an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) service provider. It saddens me to some degree that I have arrived at the place where I can only offer my services to those who can afford to pay for them and/or can figure out how to access funding (which isn’t always accessible—unless you run with the big dogs and play by the big dog rules).

So, as much as it is worrisome, it is a huge relief to get out of the proverbial rat race and trust the Universe a bit more—counter to what the avid hustlers have to say. As I said, I love the work, but not chasing after clientele and/or payment. My challenge is to find the sweet spot between networking and allowing things to work out. All the while dreaming about a time when I don’t have to chase the money but can “just be.” I have no idea how my retreat idea will come to fruition, but it is something I have thought about for a long time—same for writing my memoirs.

I have since moved from the outdoors in as my phoned died and pets requested feeding. Yet I remain in my reflective state of mind, being grateful for where I am at the moment. I may not be where I need to be financially (the word self-sufficient comes to mind), but all-in-all I am a lucky girl. Lying in a hammock reflecting and reading. What a way to spend some time on a sunny afternoon.

And who knows when that next chapter will be revealed? In the meantime, I have plenty to do. What about you?

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