With Unending Gratitude

The Holidays have come and gone, and I was successful at not hanging myself with Christmas lights! I just might be ready to navigate Valentine’s Day. LOL! This holiday season was filled with anniversaries and experiences that were less than uplifting. I tried to escape Christmas altogether in order to avoid the sadness in many ways including but not limited to; living in Arizona for the winter to avoid the external feeling and landscape of previous holidays, I celebrated with the family on summer vacation & all decided to forgo getting together in December, boycotted decorating my space, and had no plans to celebrate with anyone. Running as hard as possible, the holidays came to knock on my door in order to force me to be present and receive love from the most unexpected places.

The first crack in my plan started with an unexpected gift of a baby Christmas tree from my dear friend, Angela. I opened this tiny box to find a perfect replica of my favorite 1960’s aluminum tree with the color wheel and red garland. Tears ran down my cheeks as I remembered how much that tree means to me. It was a major splurge about 20 years ago and has brought great joy in my life. To have a 3-inch version of it sitting on my desk daily brought a warm feeling of unending gratitude.

The next crack in my full proof plan came in the form of my dear friend, Erin, coming to be with me for the entire Christmas weekend. I could not help myself, and planned a weekend getaway in Arizona wine country at the Xanadu getaway ranch. My thought was revolving around disguising this as a very NON-Christmas experience. We had a blast exploring the countryside, tasting wines, and laughing until we cried.

Another crack showed up from the amazing couple who shuttled our tipsy selves around for 2 days. Much to my surprise, Erin and I were invited to their Christmas Eve meal with family and close friends. Initially, I was not comfortable with this, as it would mean I was walking right into the experience of Christmas that I was trying to avoid. In the end, I said, what the hell, let’s go. We were welcomed with open arms and even received handmade knitted neck warmers that we quickly made into head warmers. It was lovely. When leaving this loving experience, tears welled up in my eyes as unending gratitude filled my heart.

The final crack in my plan arrived on New Year’s Eve weekend. There is pressure on reviewing the events of the year and making resolutions for the next year. I review my life all the damn time and make efforts to learn in order to live a full life. So the external pressure can be overwhelming and daunting meanwhile telling us all that we aren’t doing enough. I wanted to curl up in my bed and just allow this NYE to pass on by. Well, that is not what the Universe had in mind for me. A grand gesture loving friend flew into town to surprise me with a weekend filled with adventure. From the sunrise hot air balloon ride, storytelling on a sun-drenched patio, and a mariachi band I was gifted with an unforgettable weekend. On my drive home to begin this New Year, unending gratitude washed over me.

Despite my efforts to simply not engage in the holiday season, I was joyfully forced to participate. Due to my friends & loved ones, the full proof plan to avoid the holidays was cracked wide open!

With Unending Gratitude,

Kristin

Work gratitude update

Bayada Home Care continues to amaze me!  I started my new travel position in October and was blown away by the kindness in the first three days.  To be honest it is easy on the front end of any relationship to be kind, helpful and positive.  The “real” life of any relationship shows up as the newness wears off.  

Here I am starting my 10th week in this assignment and the newness has worn off.  I have a loose grasp on how each day is to run and can now navigate through the documentation system relatively well.  As a traveling therapist, I am only with a work team for 13 to 25 weeks, depending on the assignment.  As travelers, we are often NEVER included in any staff meetings, work functions, and certainly rarely recognized for our contribution.  That is not because a team or company is mean, it is due to the expense of a temporary worker as well as the fact that we leave.  

Life is very different here with Bayada in wonderful ways!  I have been invited to attend weekly staff meetings that include team building aspects besides patient care planning called the Bayada Way.  I have been invited to fun work functions.  At the first one the entire focus was on staff recognition.  It was wonderful learning the stories of the team member’s contributions.  It shocked me when the traveling therapists were also personally recognized!  We were invited to stand in front of the group while Brandy, the director, said positive things about each one of us.  That simply does not happen, or hasn’t in the past.

Just this week there was a Gratitude party.  The owner of Bayada gifted every staff member with a gratitude check based on years with the company.  This was generous and very touching to listen to the commitment of the owner’s dedication to his team and purpose!  When I too received a gratitude gift of $50, those familiar tears bubbled up behind my eyes.  When I gathered myself, I went to thank Brandy for this generous and unnecessary gift.  She hugged me and smiled while saying, “We wouldn’t be where we are without you.”  I shook my head in disbelief.  Immediately my mind went into a tailspin trying to discredit her comment with nonsense like: “Of course they would be where they are without you.  You don’t matter to them.  You are just temporary and still calling for guidance daily!  She is just being nice.”  My smiling heart had something completely different to say, “See that, you do make a positive difference that is recognized!”   I am listening to my heart and going to buy a wonderful bottle of wine with that gratitude gift!  

This assignment has taught me not only about being a better clinician, but about the power of gratitude, appreciation, and recognition.  Just last week, I had the privilege of leading the team building Bayada Way portion of the meeting.  For those of you who have ever worked with me know that it was a good time filled with stories and laughter!  I was reminded of how much fun it is to facilitate a meeting.  Thank you, Brandy and Bayada, for all you do.  Your integrity with authentically living the values you say you strive for is inspirational and an amazing example!

Sincerely,

Kristin Springfield, OT
Forever Grateful

The effects of ghosting

When my heart breaks, I find my self wondering, “How wide will it break open until there is nothing left?”  There is this new phenomenon in dating called Ghosting.  It is when someone who is in your life suddenly stops all communication without any warning.  Of course, we become disinterested in others or decide we no longer want to see them, usually, there is an awkward conversation to let the other person know.  That is human nature, yet ghosting is where the person simply vanishes.  Calls aren’t answered.  Texts receive no response.  You simply never hear from them or see them again.  It is as though the Universe magically places someone special in your life and then just as magically, they vanish.

I met someone I truly enjoyed spending time with.  He magically appeared in my life, swept me off my feet and vanished.  The fall from that height hurts like hell.  I was doing just fine with both feet on the ground, why pick me up just to leave me hanging in the wind with only one direction to go; down?  I solemnly confirm that gravity is still in full effect as a law of nature.  These bruises are just on the inside.  Ghosting leaves you to fold in on yourself like a cheap lawn chair and stay there for a while in the dark to catalog all of your real and imagined flaws.  It brings with it every abandonment issue possible for me. It invites the mind to spin out of control with a great desire to “fix it”.  I would damn near do anything to stop feeling so awful.  I am a doer by nature, and in this place, it is important to focus on being and grieving.  A wonderful mentor reminded me that I could not use my “tools” to outrun grief, “You just have to allow yourself to feel it.”  Uggh!  I asked for another solution and received none.  I would much rather run, hike, write, meditate and tap this away.  Yet, I can’t.  So I meet myself in grief with an effort to be loving and patient with myself.

Shit I never wanted to look at again is right in my face. There are no answers and there never will be.  That is how this works.  This kind of disappointment feels so much like the first heartbreak you ever felt when you were 15 years old. It is raw, dark and there is nothing anyone else can do for you to fix it.  There is nothing to do, except pick my self up and move forward.  My goal is to refrain from running, stuffing down or avoiding these feelings while at the same time not allow my self to circle the drain of despair.  Quite honestly, I can’t afford the weight loss that comes with this kind of experience!

Public service announcement:  Do Not ghost someone.  You have no idea what they are going through or where it will send them.  Just have the courage to tell someone you are not interested.  It is okay to end a relationship; we all have if we are over the age of 15.  Silence speaks volumes and sometimes it speaks lies and leaves a soul wondering.  Ending a relationship is not easy, and that is okay.  Leaving someone without any warning or information is simply cruel, heartless and cowardly.  Be brave, and speak the truth with decency.  Remember we are all doing the very best we can trying to heal our own hearts.  This ghosting experience simply hurts at a level that doesn’t make sense to my mind.  This too shall pass and all will be right within; it simply is not at this moment.

Breathing in and out all day long,

Kristin