I finally broke my long streak of over 200 days of daily meditation using Calm. That was actually at the end of March and I’ve been struggling to get back into it and I lost my daily Pilates at the same time.
I’ve also been struggling with writing essays for this marvellous counselling course which I am enjoying less and less and has led to my writing here less. On the other hand I’m starting to see past it, to a time when I am qualified, and holding on to that.
The first essay was advanced counselling skills, where a 50 minute recording of a skills practice session done at class is then minutely analysed in terms of demonstrating exciting skills such as reflection, paraphrases, use of immediacy etc. It’s a really tedious thing to write and most of us had to tweak it after submission in order to get it passed. There is very little joy or sense of achievement.
The second essay was on counselling theory, which was a lot more interesting except that we’ve done both these essays last year, at certificate level so there is a sense of repetition although this is supposed to be at a deeper level. This essay passed first time which gave me a massive boost as I wasn’t expecting it and I really feel quite proud. There is one whole paragraph in the entire essay that I’m actually pleased with.
We are now on our third essay, which is on diversity and power, topics which are interesting and require good examination and a richness of material to write about. However shoehorning the material to fit the essay criteria is not a joy and my mind keeps wandering off down interesting paths which doesn’t get the essay written. Plus I want to write about the aspects that interest me, not that tick the boxes. Hence writing this rather than the essay. An increased desire for focus is sending me back to my #DailyCalm which is a win.
The criteria for all these essays are pedantic and seem calculated to such any joy out of the material and it feels like being back in school. Joys of discovery and immersion in interesting side trips are not relevant to passing the test. Although our teacher is lovely and will get us through, she does teach to the test and an occasional desire for greater experiential work keeps bubbling up.
At the same time as essay #3 we also have our research project for next year to consider. This is a small piece of containable research that we have to manage. We need to be roughly aware of what we’re doing before the summer so we can do a literature review over the holidays. No days off for us students.
We haven’t unified as a group, remaining in small subsets some of whom go out socialising without others and that too feels very much like school. I genuinely like and get on with 3 people, genuinely like but haven’t really made friends with another 3, like but don’t talk much to 4, rarely exchange words with and am not interested in maybe 3, and actively clash with 1. There are quite a few who visibly stop from more than minimal self-disclosure in a way that makes it very difficult to work with. Then of course their self-disclosure increases my reluctance to speak out and we all end up with plenty of barriers.
So that’s the moan and the vent.
On the other hand I have started my placement at long last. This is a huge relief but also terrifying to feel that I have a hand in someone’s life. Real world clients are just so much more real than working with peers. It’s like moving into colour from black and white and being almost overwhelmed with the increased input. I’m starting off slowly with two clients but will bump that up before long.
I have also recently successfully celebrated my 50th birthday. I struggle with birthdays and found my 40th very difficult to get my head around, ending up going into London for a meal with friends which seemed tame at the time but that was all I could manage. This was more of a last minute plan. We did have a meal with friends at my local pub on the day but this time my children all came, being more civilised than they were ten years ago and as a family we filled up a week with extravagant silliness together in various combinations. I feel that I have paid my birthday as much attention as it/I deserve.
Life is otherwise good. I have a few clouds to sort out which I’m not letting get to me and there always will be some dark clouds but I’m trying to keep them small. Children are doing their thing and not really needing concern so I just need to get back to writing that essay that gets less appealing every time I look at it.