Honor the Pause

img_20200630_195429882Each one of us has had their own experience with the last five months.  On this beautiful summer morning, I am ‘honoring the pause’ to reflect what’s taken place in my little world and giving space for what may occur over the fall and winter.

It was February when I began watching with regularity YouTube videos out of China on what they were experiencing in Wuhan.  Our national news or officials were not reporting about this.

In a panic, I met with a colleague of mine just to touch base and ask was I being paranoid about being concerned.

We met at a quintessential Seattle coffee shop, C&P in West Seattle.  It’s still one of my favorite spots to go to.  The independently owned shop is located in a converted house that has couches and dining room tables spread throughout.  Every week there would be live music, or poetry, or open mic.  It was one of the last places emerging artists could come.

I can easily put myself back there, on the couch, next to my colleague, asking about what she knew about the virus. I remember the casual atmosphere of the coffee shop and the ease with which people moved about.  That moment in time seems flash frozen, as does the world in which we had met.

I remember sharing my feelings of being quite anxious and having the thought, “All this will change”.

Our meeting was reassuring not in that I had nothing to worry about, but that someone with whom I have great respect confirmed what I had been concerned about.  My response was to enjoy the time remaining before the inevitable came to pass.

Until the order to stay at home came in March, my partner Richard and I went to museums, parks, movie theaters, shopping malls, places we knew would be closing in just a matter of time.  It was a bittersweet diversion.  I cried a lot of the time, watching people unaware of what was to come.

I cried off and on each week until about July.  As a psychotherapist, holding space for my clients, going through similar emotional experiences, I reached a low point I have never experienced before.  I contemplated a complete career change at one point.  To help me through those dark weeds I started my own therapy at the lowest of lows.    That began to help me see a way through.  I also brought more of my existing supports into my world.

From the beginning, I offered virtual Reiki circles, at first daily, now several times a week.  My Reiki community was and is such an incredible gift to myself and the planet.

I also reached out to my cousins, aunts and uncles more than I ever had in prior years.  I still maintain regular contact with my family spread out all across the US.

My love of art took awhile to return.  I dabbled back in to the clay art I had once had such a passion for.  I’ve been painting all the exterior surfaces of my house on my time off.

I ‘mastered’ leading Zoom groups and sessions and now when I do see the occasional masked client in person THAT feels strange.  Such an odd shift.

As the summer came on more socially distanced  nature walks, talks, energy meditations and eating outside has occurred.  All have helped my mood, my vision, my relationships with others.

But now, as the blackberries become overripe, I start to think about how to maintain all this support, activity and focus going into the more internal parts of the year.  When the colder and wetter weather has us retreat within.

I hope more organized testing takes place so that it becomes as ‘normal’ as temperature checks.  There is an organization, Testing for America, which is comprised of scientists and business people to permanently and safely reopen schools, businesses and the US economy by providing affordable, accessible and frequent testing and screening.  It’s definitely a start.

Just as embarking on this journey back in March was a complete unknown, the future ahead is uncharted.

If I have learned anything that has helped me navigate this far, I’d have to say what has helped me are:

  1. Practicing Mindfulness through Reiki and meditation.
  2. Watching something comedic as often as possible
  3. Making space for and reaching out to friends, family and community several times each week
  4. Engaging in some creative/artistic pursuit several times a week
  5. Exercising in some fashion every day
  6. Taking Naps
  7. Eating a little chocolate every day
  8. Getting a pedicure (with a mask and face shield on), shutting off the phone and zoning out in the massage chair
  9. Look at something else besides the news when I first wake up
  10. Practice the safety protocols as recommended

What will you be doing as the weather turns colder?

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst

The freedom of being lost

IMG_20191020_141902637A few days ago during a break in the weather, I went for a walk in the nearby woods of suburban Westcrest Park in-between appointments.  I had 40 minutes of ‘free time’ so I could take a stroll and let go of the stresses of the day to be more fully present in the counseling and Reiki work I do.

The woods are and always have been a place for me to surrender and feel supported.  To let my mind get lost so my spirit can be found.

On this particular walk through the park, I brought my phone with me to keep track of the time and perhaps take a photo as I’m oft to do on my nature meanderings.

I set the timer for 20 minutes so it would ring and remind me to turn around and walk back.  I put the phone in the inside pocket of my jacket and happily bobbed along through the forested path.

My mind was becoming calm and soon I saw a fantastic photo opportunity of a moss laden wooden fence framed by the trees.  I reached inside my inside pocket to take out the phone and….

It was gone!

Because I was in such a relaxed state from the walk I didn’t panic, but realized it must have slid out along the bopping.  I still had 20 minutes or so left, so I turned back and retraced my steps.

As I walked and looked, it was becoming apparent that someone must have picked up the phone.  Then the reality of that truth began to sink in.  Who picked it up?

The Reiki and optimistic part of me ‘sent’ a request to the Universe that whomever picked it up be kind and good-willed.

Then the cynical city part of me felt the fear that whoever took the phone might be emptying my bank account and stealing my identity right now.  That fear suddenly kicked me into a rapid run back to my car and into my office nearby where I was able to use my laptop and go online and quickly change all the passwords to my banking and email accounts.

I was running out of time.  Soon, my first client was arriving and I had a full 5 hours of back-to-back appointments.  The adrenaline from the run and the fear was still in my blood so I started to do a calming breath of 4-8-12: 4 counts inhale through the nose, hold for 8, released through the mouth for 12.  It took my anxiety from a ’10’ down to half and then to an almost normal state just in time for the first session.

As the hours went by, in-between clients I would check my email, making me realize that having Wifi access in any office I work in is an absolute requirement.  Second would be a an old-fashioned land-line which this office also had.  I left messages with the park and my partner and then realized there was absolutely nothing I could do.

That moment of not being able to ‘do’ anything about the situation because of my commitment to my work was actually liberating.  ‘Well,’ I told myself. ‘worst case is that I have to get a new phone and I can do that tomorrow.  Everything that had value to me has been secured and anything else is backed up to the cloud.  The phone is just an object.   I’m safe and I’m here doing my work’.

5 hours went by.  Healing sessions unfolded.  I was actually pretty present with each one as I have learned to do over my career.

I was aware that if someone wanted to call me they couldn’t reach me, but when I’m in sessions that’s the case anyway.  Another level of letting go.

I checked my email on the laptop for the last time and lo and behold!  I received a note that a woman had found my phone and wanted to know how to get it back to me.

I sent her a note and left a message for her on the landline.  She was able to stop by the office while I was in the session and by the end of the day that phone was resting back in my hand.

I gave the good Samaritan a gift certificate for a Reiki session as reward for the return and look forward to meeting her and thanking in person.

Lessons learned?  Get a watch! for timekeeping.  Trusting is hard.  Sometimes putting out a request to the Universe gets heard and when it does it is cause for celebration.

I am glad that on both sides of that experience I had been a relaxed state of mind so that my responses were more centered and less frantic.  It reminds me that the practices of of mindfulness, meditation, Reiki and quiet contemplation all are beneficial for such circumstances.

Having back-ups of everything is a necessity in this age, we all know it, but do we do it?

Hope this story is an encouragement for you.

Thanks of reading.

Photo and story copyright Eileen Dey Wurst 2020



Blog Stats

  • 225,181 hits
%d bloggers like this: