Tuesday, March 31, 2009

order! order! what logic?

I've never been one to do things in a clear linear manner. I just don't seem to be wired that way. Since last fall for example, when I was moved out of my "job" to cover someone else's while he worked on a special project, I have been plugging along in my own way trying to find a fit. Unconventional me was originally shown a 5 or 6 (I can't remember now how many) step process for getting the job done. It seemed very logical. I could see how theoretically and practically it could be applied. I know it worked because the wonderful person I was covering for is very successful AND very good at working within this formula. He should. He created it. He's linear. And thank God for that because NON linear people desperately need linear folks in their lives. They protect us from falling into a canyon of unfinished projects and into the myriad of broken thoughts. But when it comes to counselling, I prefer to fall into the canyon down into the myriad of broken thoughts and dreams. It's where the connection happens....well it does for me.

Now, I tried. Once I think. Maybe a couple more times after that.... It was like wearing a pair of boots three sizes to big. I was clomping around like a eejit trying to do this dance number to music with an unfamiliar beat. So, I modified the process by chucking it. out.the.window ..... Then, I found my authentic voice and manner again and went from there. Of course, wary ones who have referred their clients to me for the linear system don't seem to trust the free fall approach to my craft. I have a feeling they look at me with skepticism. But, I know who gets the darn hug and a smile of relief at the end of the sharing.

Ring the bell that still can ring......
forget your perfect offering.....
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in....
I look for the crack, for the light......I like to sit right there.

Have I told you I work in a bureaucratic system? They don't breathe like me. Or maybe I should rephrase that....I don't breathe like them. They like neatly done approaches which of course is an oxymoron in the land of red tape, but the system continues to STRIVE for this fancy facade of straight forward, policy driven, full speed logical delivery of service and it gets lost in the convoluted complicated web of wiring. This is how widgets are counted.... You can't keep stats when the system is not tackled the same way everytime. It is a constant struggle that thankfully the big mucky mucks make their very best attempts at solving. With policies. With agendas. With micro handling. Captured in scientifically set up boxes which hum away on the desk of every staff person. I see it as my role to throw a bit of faerie dust art into the scheme of logic.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I completely understand the importance of counting widgets. Accountability is just as important to me, the non-linear gal as it is the logically driven straight ahead human. We just come at it from different angles. Where it gets blurry is that when the approach is coming from polar opposite places? There is lots of room for misunderstanding. And, misunderstanding can easily lead to mistaken assumptions. I'm not working within the parameters of the set formula, I must not be doing my job. Or some such thing.

I do like order....just not so much of it that it squeezes the life out of spontaneity and authenticity. So, I think in order to help the wary ones who look at my dance steps and shake their heads in distrust, I have to show them that we are making progress. And we are..... but it takes time.

5 steps in a process and all is well..........
trust in the process.......gotta trust in my own process.

There is a level of intellectual reflection in the process of counselling, but in order to make a difference, one has to lead with intuitive emotion. It humanizes it. It softens the formality into a trusting conversation where vulnerable regrets can be laid out without judgement. And, I've come to realize its the same approach I am learning to take when it comes to being open to accepting the very idea that there is a God.

It wasn't until I realized I needed to let go of the intellectual "prove it to me with facts" approach. For years, I grabbed hold of this frame of mind where I demanded the logic and clearcut proof that God existed. Jesus? Sure! Virgin birth? Come on! Rising from the dead? What kind of drugs are you smoking? What pushed me away even more were the people I encountered who clung to a certainty so tightly in an effort to convince themselves of logic which from my perspective did not exist. The more I entered into a cerebral vortex, the more skeptical I became until I found myself completely dismissing any conversation with even a faint aroma of the divine.

The summer of 2005 was a turning point for me on many fronts, and one day I will write the story fully as to what happened inside me. But, its not time yet. Suffice to say that a combination of events and encounters managed to kick me out of this cognitive framing of religion and pointed me back to a place in my life when it was humanized.....when believing came from a place of intuitive emotion. Still very skeptical and very tentative, I decided I would approach the opening of the chapel door differently. Given that my writing focus returned at the same time it seemed like the natural guide to returning to a place where I could consider believing in God again.

As I dove into the writing and let the thoughts and words flow freely without restraint, I quickly realized I experienced moments when I had no idea where any of it was coming from. There was no logic.....how could my desire and ability to write simply dry up for 20 years and then return with a fury? And how could my interest in religion leave me on the banks of the river for close to 20 years and then begin to trickle back as an option at the same time? It quickly became clear to me that as I wrote, I often felt a sense of being outside of the act. Transcendent? Otherworldly? I was a vessel capturing ideas, generating the words and spilling them onto a canvas. And as I wrote, I realized how much I was learning in the process. It was like I had a ravel of punctuation and exclamations inside the stories and reflections buried in my spiritual canyon.....where the myriad of my broken thoughts and dreams dwelt all bunched up and confused. It was when I let go of trying to make sense of things through logic that I was able to find my linearity....through my writing.

When it all came barreling back.......my interest in developing some kind of relationship with God and my turn of the word, I didn't actually see how they were dovetailing for a while. Two insights led the way. I woke up one morning to the realization that counselling, even within the confines of bureaucracy, is a calling and a gift I was given. When this finally dawned on me, I completely accepted it without question. The second insight was when I realized that this gift was unexplainable and I was completely fine with that.

Once I relaxed and stopped questioning why I was doing what i was doing, I was able to see how many times during the connections I nurtured, there was a magical feeling generated. Reflections and new approaches brought more insight and consequently more inspiration to delve into what I had learned and what I was learning through my gift. This in turn spurred on the ideas......until one day I realized I had been writing about many different components of faith. Themes began to surface. Growth through the new set of eyes....there's nothing quite like it.....disturbing, exhilarating, uncomfortable, inspiring, illuminating, painful.....it ran the gamut as I chugged away taking one concept at a time and reflecting on it from a clean slate.

My journey since I woke up with a new set of eyes during the summer of 2005 has clearly not been a straight line, nor has it been easy. In what seems disconnected on the surface, the experiences and "tests" I have been through since then are all tied together. I see that, in my own non linear way. The emotional obstacles which have deeply impacted my confidence and reliance on my intuition and have made me question whether what I do has value....it has even forced me to wonder many times about whether I am personally valued. The meaning behind it all is still very foggy. I would LOVE to know the reason behind it all. What I have held onto were the insights which found me in 2005 and my writing as a means to be touched by the hand of God. Logical? Not when I only use my brain to sort it out. But, when I process it through my heart and my gut feelings instead? It all makes sense. Or so it seems.


Gilly said...

What wonderful writing! In places you could be writing about me! And in others it felt too untidy, too emotional. Intuitive - that is me, but I am also logical, perhaps not linear, but logical (according to me!) A while ago I went through years of black depression, and during this time I wrote and wrote, mainly poetry. Some of it was good. Now I have mainly got shot of the really black depression, and I can't seem to write. Well, not poetry, anyway. This may be because I am old, and gfeel my mind is letting go. I'm not confused or doolally! Just not holding on to things quite so well.

But you are younger, you have a gift, and yhou have found hyour own way of expressing this gift and using that gift for others. You will never know how much what you have written here has helped me. I am going to print out this last post, and keep it by me, to ponder over and help sort out my own mind. Especially where faith is concerned. I got away from the rigid certainty, but haven't reached a fase place yet.

Thanks and love to you. X

PS Your Verification reads flozygo today. I thought this was funny!

Anonymous said...

We all have different gifts, each of which came because of the grace God gave us.
From time to time as we grow or something is reveled to us our gifts become animated, dynamic, electrifying, energetic, by the same token when we become complacent our gifts will recede or regress. When we are renewed again they advance, forge, forward to make us come alive again to who we are, what our purpose is. You are so blessed that you know your gift and use it everday to bless others both through your counselling and your daily blogs.
Forget logic, logic is for people who can't think for themselves.
What you have works, always remember who it works best for , not the bureaucrats but those who are the most powerless the most vunerable. At the end of the day what gives you the most joy? To know you stayed inside the perimeters set out by those who think they know what a client they have never met needs, or the hug and smile and laughter shared because someone was blessed by your understanding and putting a human face on the system

Anonymous said...

I've always believed that to be a good counsellor you need to have an innate understanding of the human condition. Not everything can be taught, some things are just inherent within us. You do have a gift Dana and I hope no matter what the bureaucrats throw at you, you never abandon your calling. Too many folks need you and the gift you've been given.

Awareness said...

Gilly....I'm pleased you were able to glean something out of my ramblings. :) I struggled with this piece...and decided just to get it out of my system even if it needs some tweaking. I think we definately go through periods of dryness and it is tied with our emotional well being as well as where we are in evaluating our values and beliefs.
I dont know how it really happens....that moving away from the "certainty" thing to a place where there is a softening and a humanizing of faith. But, it does happen. For me, it seemed to happen when I recognized it in the face of a friend, which is another very long story. one day....

Mavis. I ain't goin' nowhere. :) You're wonderful. Thank you. I have a feeling you get the funny looks too with your unorthodox but VERY successful methods. lol!
My thoughts here derived from reading an autobiography by Karen Armstrong. A couple of light bulb moments for me as I read about her journey....going from the rigidity of trying to intellectualize religion to coming to a different place when she allowed herself to be driven by her emotional side.

Gypsy...Good to see you. I don't think one can teach a person how to be a counsellor unless there are certain traits visible. When I see it in someone, it is very apparent. I've taught counselling courses .... you can teach the mechanics, but you can't teach the unfolding of empathy. Though there are many ways to come at it that are worthy....there is a desire, a flame that is truly inherent.
My writing has offered me some insight, but it also has provided perhaps another avenue for counselling. :)

On a limb with Claudia said...

There's so much here... It's hard to leave a cogent comment. In my experience, 5 step processes happen all at once - I admire anyone who is willing to try something new - and I always admire you.

You have a strong and amazing heart. Trust it - you won't fail

Awareness said...

Claudia...THATs what happens! The 5 steps happen all at once with me. :)

Thanks for the feedback....this piece is really an attempt to clarify my thoughts for future more expansive writing....the topics all merge and diverge here and I think I can do much with them. So, you're right....there's too much crammed into it. :)