Amanda's Adventures

{March 17, 2015}   Everything Old is New Again

One thing I really love about travel is how it inspires me to see things differently. I look around me with a strong feeling of curiosity and a wish to remember each moment with each bodily sense. Combine the visuals, scents, tastes, sounds, and textures into one single strong memory. I like remember the height of the lowest branch of my favorite redwood tree along with the smell of dirt road and the tiny beams of light and heat hitting my back while I play frisbee in front of the dining hall at Family Camp in the Mendocino Woodlands.

When I get down in the dumps and sick of where I am, I sometimes pretend that I’m visiting instead. Observing the small unique characteristics of my neighborhood. Moving slower and actually stopping to examining things closely, discovering the hidden worlds found only in the tiny details we take for granted. This shift in perspective helps me stay positive with a small (and I think healthy) amount of detachment. This detachment allows me to observe and appreciate what is right in front of me and not wish it was something else.

I want to bring this sense of positive detachment back to my work. Back when I felt like I was “allowed” to be imperfect because I was still a student, I was able to better access this mindset. I wasn’t afraid of being wrong because my work was not yet a reflection of me. It was still a reflection of what I had learned. In terms of identity, I was a multifaceted person doing speech-language therapy, not a speech-language pathologist attempting to be multifaceted. I feel like I’ve worked so hard on my professional career that I’ve lost my sense of self. A big challenge I face at work right now is my need to do things perfectly, which never happens. But I keep trying and failing. And every time I feel like I’ve failed, I feel deep shame. Not guilt. Shame. Brene Brown said that guilt says “I DID something bad” while shame says “I AM something bad”. What you do can change and be forgiven. Who you are? Well, that’s a lot harder.

I need to get back to a state of being that allows me to do my work, not be my work. And this also goes for all of my other “jobs” that I don’t get paid for. I can’t let them define me. No role shall define me. If I let those external roles define me, then I am no longer the one who gets to inform who I am and who I get to become. The roles can be a part of me, but I’m finding more and more that there needs to be a piece of me who is just for me. A part of my heart and soul that holds a powerful and fierce love meant only for me. A few months ago I got a tattoo of the word “her” in my handwriting on my back as an external representation of my lifetime commitment to honoring and taking care of my authentic self. “Her” is that part, the part that stays no matter what surrounds. “Her” eyes see the world with that positive, appreciative detachment. “Her” ears listen intently and seek to understand, resonate, and empathize without taking on what doesn’t belong to her. “Her” arms hold only what she can carry and not an ounce more, and feels content with her contribution. “Her” nose inhales new memories of all the places she already calls home as well as places she’s yet to collect. “Her” mouth takes small sips of what the world has to offer and she has more of what tastes the best to her, knowing that others may have a different palate.

It’s time for me to experience the same old world with my new sense of self. 🙂


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