About My blog

Holding space is the process in which a person is fully present with themselves and with others. As a mental health therapist for thirteen years, I was honored to hold space with my clients. In 2009, I realized I needed a break, so I have temporarily stepped away from my career. I am now re-learning how to hold space for myself. This blog follows my journey.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

How Enchanting?

I've spent the weekend pondering the state of enchanted forests. In literature, they seem to be thriving. I don't think climate change and population growth has really affected forests of the enchanted type. The most recent example is in the current Smurfs movie. Last Friday, I took five kids to see this soon-to-be box office classic, and was distracted right off the bat when the narrator described the Smurfs home as an "enchanted forest."

I realized I didn't know exactly what made their forest "enchanted." Seriously, I live in Colorado which is a state filled with forests - 24.4 million acres to be exact. Colorado forests are beautiful, fun, full of adventure, but enchanted? I'm not so sure.

As I begun thinking about the definition of the term "enchanted forest," I thought of all the times in literature, these magical forests exist. Usually, the term is used in the beginning of a story as a way to describe the setting or to set-up the story. What if these stories were submitted to editors today? Editors everywhere would do a collective eye-roll and mumble "Really,another enchanted forests?" Then, the stories would march straight to the reject pile.

So, what is an "enchanted forest?" I consulted the current source for all things wordy - Wikipedia. Didn't our go-to source used to be Websters? When did that change? Anyways, Wikipedia states an enchanted forest is "a forest under, or containing enchantments." I learned these forests "can be a place of threatening danger, or one of refuge or a chance at adventure." (That's not much different from real life forests.) These forests were featured as places of magic and danger in folklore from areas where local wild land was forested. Enchanted forests have been featured in a wide range type of stories, myths, and fables. These include:

* Smurfs - Since the movie is the whole reason behind this post, I have to list it.
* Hansel and Greta's forest contained a witch.
* Beauty and the Beast - Beauty father is lost in a forest.
* Snow White - She escaped her stepmom by running to a forest filled with dwarfs.
* The Wizard of Oz - The dangerous part of Oz was in a forest.
* Harry Potter - The nearby magical forest is forbidden.
* Shrek - What better place for an Ogre and talking donkey to live?

So, who knew a movie about little blue people would launch me into a weekend of research about enchanted forests, and then write a lengthy blog post on the topic? There are worse things a person can do with their time, and in the end, I find these magical forests to be simply enchanting.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Coming Soon: Everett's Book Reviews

Most of you know I have a ten year old son. You may not know that he also likes to read, and for a ten year old, has actually read a lot of books. So, coming soon I will be adding his reviews of his favorite books. He is a funny, smart guy, so I am confident this will be an entertaining and popular blog feature.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What to do without Oprah

I miss Oprah. There, I said it. I don't have oodles of time to watch afternoon television, but the other day at 4:00, I turned on the T.V. to find no Oprah. That's when it hit me. The Oprah Show is gone. I know she's still around in other places- O magazine, Own Network, Dr. Phil, and the other doctor. What's his name? I forget. They're just not the same.

I'm embarrassed to admit this because I've always viewed Oprah as being a little too much. She wants everyone to think she's just a regular woman, but I don't view her that way. She seems too pampered, too full of herself to relate to all of us non-desperate housewives. However, the show was good. It had a good message, interesting interviews, and of course the Book Club did wonders for the book industry.

Although watching her show was fun, it's not the reason I miss Oprah. It's because I (and you too, right?) have always dreamt of doing something so great that we are invited to be on Oprah. Who hasn't pictured themselves sitting on her stage saying something profound and meaningful? Then, Oprah would nod in agreement with her audience clapping. In my fantasy, Oprah loved me so much she'd email me regularly, invite me to her California home, and send me a Christmas card with her, Stedman, and their dogs sitting around the tree. Of course, I would also meet Gayle. I'm convinced Gayle and I would hit it off immediately. Gayle seems to be the nicer of the two.

When I was in college, I worked at a women's shelter which provided abused women and their children a safe place to live. The agency did a research study, and the director was invited to be on Oprah. Yes, my fantasy came true for our director, Felicia. This occurred in North Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was practically the only white women in a big group of African-American women. So, you can imagine the excitement. Everyone was in on it. (Girl, you're gonna be on Oprah! Dancing would then occur.) There was discussion of what she should wear and what she should say. It was big! We were proud. One of us was getting the chance to say something great on that famous stage.

Then, it happened. She was on the show with a panel of other guests. As I remember, the other guests were pretty big people in the domestic violence world. Therefore, she didn't get much time - only a few minutes. That's not much of an opportunity to make a profound, memorable statement. Afterwards, she told us that during the breaks, Oprah was too busy to talk to her guests. I guess Felicia didn't get the invitation to Oprah's home and probably didn't receive the Christmas card. It's too bad because Oprah would've liked Felicia. I liked her.

I wonder what Felicia thinks about that experience eighteen years later. As for me, I know my dream of being on Oprah is over. So, that means, the ladies on The View better watch out! They'll love me so much they'll ask me to be a regular host. Maybe a mental health consultant? It has a nice ring to it. (One can dream, right?)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Goals, Plans, Dentist Appointments - and other easily fogotten things.

My husband quit his job last May. I will spare you the boring, corporate details, but basically his job was moved to Minnesota and he (we) chose to not move with it. We don't have anything against Minnesota, but if you've spent any time here in Colorado, you know it is just plain hard to leave. Luckily, this decision has been a positive one. We knew it was coming, so we prepared financially, and now we're just waiting to see what life brings us. Hopefully, at some point, that will include some sort of income.

While my husband has been enjoying his "sabbatical," I have been re-thinking about mine. I re-read the first blog post I wrote. I talked about ending my therapy practice and spending chunks of time caring for myself. I had imagined hiking, taking Master Gardener's classes, writing for hours each day. However, during the past eighteen months, I've done some of that. But mostly, I've helped with homework, attempted to potty-train my stubborn three-year-old, ran countless errands, cooked dinners, etc. You may be quick to defend my mundane activities as just necessary things moms have to do, and I thank you for the support. However, my husband has also done all that. He has always been equally involved in the daily household tasks, but he has also somehow managed to have an awesome summer. (All while caring for my broken elbow, but that is another topic for another blog post.)

My husband being Mr. MBA/finance man is truly the most disciplined, organized man in Colorado, in the World, in the Universe. When he quit his job, he had a list of things he was going to do - play tennis practically everyday, focus on his band (Yes, my finance husband is in a funk/dance/R&B band), hang out with the family. Looking back over the past few months, I realize he has done all of those things. He has also managed to meditate on his future career - "Valerie, let's start our own business." - "What if I start a consulting business?" "How about opening an upscale liquor store?" (as opposed to a sleazy one in a stripmall) "Maybe, we should buy the tennis center - I'm there all the time anyways."

Yes, isn't he wonderful. No sarcasm there - I love him, he's great. But - sheesh - his insane discipline just seems to magnify my total lack of discipline. He's focused, and I'm distracted. He's driven, and I'm along for the ride. He's ambitious, and I'm, well, the opposite of that.

Okay - I'm not as lazy as the above paragraph sounds, but comparing our goals and styles, has made me realize that I have to get on the stick. If he's going to rack up a mountain of accomplishments, then I should be able to do something. Let's go, Valerie - write more, run more (when the elbow heals, again - another topic.), play more. You can do it - focus!

How do you stay focused? How do you achieve your goals?