Free at last from the painful past

eagleHow do you know when you are absolutely free from the past?  It is the moment when you come face to face with the past and smile with your whole heart with true absence of fear.  Tonight was my experience of true freedom.  I met with my beloved friend whom spent 9 weeks in my home loving my dogs while I traveled to beautiful National Parks hugging trees.  We decided to return to a local favorite restaurant that has an outdoor patio.

It just so happened to be the same restaurant that the Highlander and I dined the night before my tree hugging tour began almost 7 months ago.  It was the same patio that I locked eyes with my second ex husband as the hostess opened the door to invite me to select my table.  Then I was able to smile at him, but felt sick at the same time with fear and anxiety.  This time my friend led the way out the door to the patio.  The music played and I recognized a friend playing the guitar when I glanced to my left.  Then as I scanned the patio for a covered place to sit due to the oncoming rain,  I locked eyes with my youngest wonder (step) son.  We smiled and waved.  He is beyond precious!  Automatically I scanned the table to see who his companion was.  You guessed it, there sat my second ex husband.  This time I smiled with my whole heart and mouthed, “Hey!”

My authentic smile and peace was not because I was delighted to run into him.  My smile was an external representation of internal healing.  He was just another person in the restaurant and I used to know him.  I have worked hard to forgive myself, love myself and heal from the past. The past no longer exists and I desire to be fully present while loving life and myself at the same time.  Seeing him without a violent internal reaction brought such joy to my heart that I was able to communicate a greeting.  That is the same thing I say to anyone I make eye contact with when I am smiling from my heart.  He is just like everyone else now, no longer special or problematic to my personal peace.  HOT DAMN! That freedom feels amazing!  I love it when God/ universe (fill in your word here for something greater than you) has a way of gently revealing the distance I have traveled emotionally along my healing journey.

I continued to the spot where my friend and I enjoyed dinner, wine and laughter.  The 30 day cleanse ended a bit prematurely around day 20, therefore wine is back in my diet.  I noticed that I was not distracted by the presence of my ex husband on the premise.  When I would tune into him being there, I sent love and went back to enjoying my friend.  It felt amazing! Evidence of true healing!

The icing on the cake was to have my wonder son, whom is now over 6 ft tall, come over.  I received a wonderful hug that will resonate for days in my heart.  He is precious and delightful. In addition to the gift of a hug, I enjoyed a few private moments of time to talk with him.  Thank you again, God!

Tonight was an amazing reminder of healing!  Sometimes the evidence of healing may be quite and lack drama.  That is when I know in my heart that healing is working overtime.    I am free at last!



Back to life as an Occupational Therapist and excited!

Kristin Springfield now and then occupational therapyIt has been 21 years and a few months since I began my first job as an Occupational Therapist.  I am so grateful to the young woman I was then.  She worked ridiculously hard in college.  There were hundreds of flashcards as study aides for most of my classes floating around my apartment.  I had not yet discovered my intolerance to gluten and my body was having such difficulty with food then.  I thought it was dairy, which I do have a threshold for tolerance, but that was not it.  So here, I was a young woman in college from 18 to 22 years old trying to grow up so fast with 3 dogs, a boyfriend and an apartment all the while suffering from food allergies that made me sick.  The last two years of college, I was in OT school at VCU/MCV studying the majority of my waking hours.  I would love to meet that younger version of myself out on Monument Ave where she would walk all of her dogs, and tell her how her hard work would pay off and to give her a tip to give up gluten.

I was determined to succeed and thrive in my future career.  I knew I was in the right line of study when we started classes using wood working equipment, weaving, painting and ceramics in addition to human anatomy and statistics.  I loved what I was learning and delighted with using my hands to create something.  That evolved into working with people to bring purpose and independence back to their lives.  I was always that child who wanted to do things herself, or so my mother tells me.  This line of work awarded me with the opportunity to be independent while coaching others to reach their dreams.

It is amazing how our dreams and goals change throughout life.  Depending on the time in my life and physical health, my goals changed drastically.  At 22 I so desperately wanted to be financially independent and be a grown up.  In the 12 months that I was 22 years old I married my college sweetheart,  acquired my first job, moved to the town I still call home today, and bought my first home which proved to be the biggest project outside of child rearing to date; it was a home built in 1880. Those goals evolved into desiring a promotion, and wanting to help team leaders succeed.  I remember wanting my pregnancy to last long enough to deliver a healthy baby girl, since my daughter wanted to join the world too soon with contractions starting at 18 weeks pregnant.  With 6 months of bed rest, my goals were to stay sane and have a healthy baby.  My goal was achieved and Mackenzie is now 19 years old and thriving.  Other goals were to be able to return to exercise post knee surgery in my 30s.  Most recent goal was to find a way to purposeful interact with people in order to return to their desired independence while I write my book.

My new career as an OT started in behavioral health at the age of 22.  I loved this environment.  I created some of the most amazing friendships during that year, which still thrive today.  The skills I acquired during the time I worked in the behavioral health department continue to serve me to this day.  Emotional health or lack thereof, has a great impact on a person’s ability to achieve independence.  Actually, the skills I learned that first year of my career as an OT proved to be helpful in every aspect of my life since then, from communication with coworkers, to raising a child and finally navigating new life after relationships end.

Here is my message to my 22-year-old self.  “Thank you, Kristin!  You were a badass that did not recognize her value, spark for life, and tenacious drive.  Your sacrifice to study rather than party your face off proved to be the best thing you could have done for your future self and future family.  Rest assured that your current self is still striving to live a grand life and she is now returning to her roots of providing purpose and independence to the lives of individuals in need of OT.  More people than you can possibly imagine love you.  Just keep writing and smiling.  Oh, your quirky way of life is most loved by others, so relax and keep being you!”



My truth in a health cleanse

health cleanse tree hugging lynchburg, VA  I am 12 days into a health cleanse.  My goal at the start of this 30-day plan was to increase energy, eat healthier and have my body working closer to peak performance.  Well, let me be honest with you. It pretty much sucks!  My energy is drastically down.  That may very well be a good thing for others who have to deal with me.  I tend to be a bit high octane, but I love that feeling.  I am consuming more vegetables, fruits, and eggs than ever before!  By the time, I am done with this experience; I wonder how long it will be before I want an egg.  This style of cleanse and reboot does not allow any dairy, grains, processed sugar, alcohol or anything gluten.  Some of those things are not hard for me to remove, but two of them are a challenge.  Processed sugar and red wine are my strongest desires.

Someone asked me what I wanted to eat for dinner.  My response was, “I want chocolate mousse encased in a shell of rich dark chocolate, with fresh homemade whipped cream, drizzled with hazelnut sauce and a huge glass of Cabernet!  Yet what I will have is steamed vegetables and salmon.”  I am just waiting for the hallucinations to begin.  The book I am following 98% of the time does a great job of describing the feelings you may experience each day.  I am at the day where one would experience what they call the hardest days and next up is dreaming of junk food.  Fortunately, I have made it through the days described as you may want to kill someone, all you want is a nap, and you may feel like you have the flu.  That is exciting!  My stomach feels satisfied and even full with the meals, my intestines are on overdrive and my taste buds scream at me, “Why are you doing this to me?”

Now that I have started, I am curious to see what I will feel like in the end.  My retirement is ending as I start work March 21.  I am so excited to return to more human interaction in a purposeful way again.  I wanted to spend some time resetting my health before returning to work.  I will see this thing through.  It will give me something to write about, obviously. It also allows me to thoroughly understand why I may never eat like this again!

I am 1/3 of the way through and lost four pounds that I gathered during retirement.  I look at it this way, my cells and body have gathered happy along this seven-month experience.  Now it is time to shed the remaining sadness that still resides in my body.  I just hope I don’t snap in the meantime.  On March 30th I will be enjoying the chocolate mousse dessert and Cabernet.  Who wants to join me?  Name the place and time, and I will be there!