Together

As I tried to pull words together last week to write this month’s blog post for Seattle Direct Counseling, words failed me. Exhausted after days of trying to help people process the horrors of the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando FL, the recent shootings of black men by police, and the shooting of police officers (and I just got wind of yet another shooting just hours ago), I needed time to put words to what, if anything, I have to offer.

I have no words of consolation, for this is not a time to be consoled.

I do have words of sympathy for all the lives lost, and to the loved ones who grieve their absences.

I have no formulaic plans for action, ways to avoid becoming a statistic, nor recommendations, since just about everything I can think of has been tried — and has failed. Our nation has the highest amount of gun violence in the world, and yet every call for change has been met with defeat.

In the aftermath of each of these incidents, the one thing that does help is that we stick together. Whites helping blacks, blacks helping whites, everyone in their right mind helping each other, and absolutely everyone doing their best to protect the young, the innocent, and the defenseless.

And for our part here at Seattle Direct Counseling, we offer who we are. We are here to help you. We know there are people hurting. Many of them have already begun to pour into the office to talk about what’s on their minds and hearts regarding racism, violence, social justice, activism, and community response.

We are better together than alone. 

It is my commitment to my community that if there is a need to open more office hours in the coming weeks, I will do my best to offer them. While it is not the place of counselors to be “advice givers”, we offer a safe space to process what is happening in our nation and to help you strategize an appropriate, meaningful response.

SDC is about embracing diversity, celebrating difference, welcoming culture and culture change, and personal transformation. We do not discriminate against any people group, color, age, size, gender, orientation, socio-economic background, or spiritual beliefs.

 

    Setting Stretch Goals for Personal Excellence

    Large strawberry on left, sitting on sidewalk, with smaller tortoise named Kevin with mouth open in attempt to take a bite of the strawberry.
    Why should you ever try to set stretch goals? Why even think of biting off more than you can chew? Because the process of trying — and even failing – grows us towards personal excellence. Photo credit: Haley Luna of HaleyLuna.com

    Recently, I’ve been thinking about failure. After taking on bigger goals, it’s part of my process to consider the possibility that I might not achieve them. This is because my goals aren’t particularly small. 

    In the world of business, failure is a scary word. You’re likely to hear more advice about developing a mindset such as, “Live as though failure is not an option.” Even the idea of thinking about failure comes with the belief that you will then anticipate it, and thus the very thought about failing becomes a predictor of it. 

    However, failure is all around us; failures abound like weeds in the grass. They fill up the digital pages of Social Media and spill into our homes. Failure invades our junk drawer space, and even our convenience foods that sit on our shelves.

    Many people come to our counseling office in hopes of escaping the pain of failure, and there are plenty of ways of avoiding it. Apply for a job that does not require new, challenging skills. Avoid romantic relationships, and isolate oneself to the point of loneliness. Don’t travel far, stick to your usual paths, and by no means should you push yourself to do something different, because you might not be good at it, and you might experience the feeling of failing at yet one more thing.

    Rather than avoiding failure, is there any way we can learn from situations where failure may well be a viable and even reasonable option? Is there a way of minimizing its damage while exploiting its lessons? Should we attempt to do things that leave us feeling like we’re biting off more than we can chew?

    I propose that there is a way, and there is a reason. It’s called setting stretch goals. And instead of adopting the mindset where failure is not an option, you create a pathway of learning, where you gather everything you need to learn about yourself so that you grow that area of personal excellence, regardless of outcome. You may not even need to succeed at your goal in order to reap the benefits of having set it in the first place.

    Want to know more about setting stretch goals? And why on earth should you ever intentionally try to bite off more than you can chew? Continue reading “Setting Stretch Goals for Personal Excellence”

      Living With Autoimmune Disease and Food Allergies

      Since the Month of May is Celiac Awareness Month, and the week of May 8 2016 through May 14 2016 is Food Allergy Awareness week, I decided to share, both personally and professionally, about what living with an autoimmune disease and food allergies are like.

      While your results may vary, there are aspects of living with a chronic condition (involving the attacking of the body’s tissues from your immune system), and living with severe food allergies, that overlap.

      Much of the overlap falls in the realm of psychological and social health, not just physical health. It is here that we become one community, even if our symptoms aren’t exactly the same. Frankly, having an autoimmune disease sucks. So does having one or more food allergies.

      And in suffering through the suck, I’ve discovered there is this whole other life out there — and in here (*pointing to brain*). If you know someone who has autoimmune disease and/or serious food allergies, please feel free to share this post with them.

      Continue reading “Living With Autoimmune Disease and Food Allergies”