Wednesday, July 25, 2012

the time to "process"

it has been 6 months since i started this blog and while i knew i wanted to do it, i did not really know why. the reasons are still becoming clear to me but one thing i know is that this blog in some way is helping me to find my voice, something i need to do as a person, as a counselor, and as an advocate for children... all things i am, and do, and strive to do better.

but there is one thing that has been conspicuously absent from this blog -- my work with 2 non-profits, both of which take in orphaned/abandoned children in 3rd world countries (Jamaica and Haiti).  this is not something that would necessarily to be obvious, even to those who know me well, but i have realized that my experiences on behalf of these organizations, and for these children, while some of the most important ways i spend my time, have not entered into any of the posts i've shared thus far.  i am consciously avoiding, although the reasons for that are unclear to me.... too painful?  too personal?  to raw?

during my training in counseling psychology, i was required to journal - A LOT.  i found it both liberating and oppressive.  it helped me to "process" what i was feeling, so that i could understand it and deal with any issues which might get in the way of being an effective counselor. but it was not easy.  i still do it sporadically in my every-day life but i have noticed that at the times i need it most, i tend to avoid it.  when i came back from haiti in january, i could not journal or blog or write at all.  when i came back from jamaica in april, again -  no journaling, no blogging, no "processing". 

and now here i am again -- i just came back from a 1-week service trip to jamaica.  while i was there i journaled like crazy, trying to capture every moment, thought, emotion, until the schedule got the better of me and i realized i could not do it and also get the rest i needed to function.  but i wanted to - i longed to save the experience in those pages so i could revisit it.

but since being home, i have shunned my journal. i have retreated into "work" and preparing for an upcoming vacation.  i feel busy to the point of overwhelmed.  it didn't occur to me that i was creating this busyness to avoid processing what i was feeling - didn't occur to me until now...

today i came across a blog by one of the "medium term" volunteers at Mustard Seed Communities, the organization i work with in Jamaica.  it made me happy, and then sad, to read it -- happy because it momentarily transported me back there, sad to realize that life there is going on without me.  while i was there i felt that i was really making an impact.  now that i am  home i doubt myself and not only what i did while i was there but what, if anything, i left behind. when we were preparing for our trip i was focused and felt sure of my purpose and my path.  i had a direction and goals and checklists and an endpoint to work toward.  now that we are home and the trip is over, i feel confused about what to do ... as every additional day passes i am more and more uncertain, floundering a sea of to-do lists for things that don't seem all that important...

unfortunately i don't have answers but what i do know is that i need to allow myself time to really, fully process the experience, because now that the high is wearing off and i am back to "normal" life, i need to let the experience sink in and let it change me, not push it away and simply go back to life as before.  there is no going back....

1 comment:

  1. Writing this entry shows you are on track towards incorporating your experiences and the impact it has on your life here in this country. As we saw in our program, being present in the moment and sitting through the feelings of "now" is difficult! It must be incredibly tough to be back after you gave so much of your heart to people far from here. Be kind to yourself =) Congrats on all the hard work (both in helping others and in becoming more self aware!)