Monday, October 22, 2012

Get Gentle by Taking a New Perspective

Empire State Pigeon by ZeroOne, cc license
Exactly ten years ago I was preparing for my very first shift on the Contact Pittsburgh crisis and suicide hotline. Those first few shifts were frightening, thrilling, frustrating, rewarding, and many other roller coaster rides of emotion. As I relaxed into my empathy and listening skills over that first year, those weekly four-hour sessions became a sacred space for me. On the one hand it was challenging and heartbreaking work. However, putting myself in the shoes of the callers also gave me a break from my own shoes. It was utterly refreshing to take a break from all of my stuff and just hold someone else’s worldview and emotions for a while. I was hooked on empathy.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Self-Care 101

Relaxing in the Tobago Cays by Jason Pratt, cc license
The past couple of weeks I’ve been shining a spotlight on my least-gentle moments. It’s been rather instructive. I’ve been reminded of how powerful it can be to just bring awareness to that thing you want to change. Noticing, but not evaluating, those ugly moments has given me some great insights. I’m transitioning from, “Argh! There has to be a better way!” to, “Ahh, there’s the better way.” 

Monday, October 8, 2012

You Won't Like Me When I'm Angry

The Incredible Sarihulk by Eneas, cc license
Lately, I’ve struggled with being gentle. There have been several instances in the past few weeks where I just lost it. My feelings of frustration and anger bubbled over and I lashed out at the nearest bystander. I really hate when that happens. I feel like the Hulk, as if this ugly alter ego has taken over my body and I can’t get back control. Worse than feeling out of control, I hate the hurt I cause.