Everyday Inspiration… I write because…

In response to Writing: Finding Everyday Inspiration, Day 1:

I’ve been writing for so long that I have a hard time remembering when or why I started. I believe my earliest attempts at really writing a poem or short story happened when I was 11 or so. I remember writing lines of poetry after reading poetry in school, but the details are fuzzy. I remember writing a story about becoming a professional tennis player and being friends with Monica Selles and Andre’ Agassi (which should give away how long ago this was), but I’m not sure if I ever finished the story or what happened to it. write2

I know that some influence came from my grandfather on my Dad’s side, who kept a typed journal into his 90’s. Another influence was my love of books and reading. I read articles online but still read books and I occasionally buy a newspaper, which was previously a daily occurrence. I keep a written journal and write in it at least a few times a month to keep track of what has happened and to help me remember different things and events.

If you have read any of my earlier posts, you will know that I wanted to become  a journalist but allowed myself to listen to the advice (worse case scenario warning)  of others. I know my father meant well when he told me that journalism was a highly competitive field in which many journalists/reporters worked their way up from posts in place like Podunk Kansas (no disrespect to Kansas, it’s just worlds away from Chicago) to bigger agencies and markets, hopefully. That was not very attractive to a big city kid who had not yet gone to college in Mississippi, so I mostly  wrote journalism off.  After reading “10% Happier” by Dan Harris, a well-known journalist/reporter for ABC, I learned just how competitive and high-pressure journalism can be but I wish I had at least tried to go that route. It was a great book, which I highly recommend, especially if you have an interest in Mindfulness. rolled up newspaper

Getting back to why I write, I think I do it because it is something I have done for a very long time. I get an idea and this is my way of expressing it and cultivating it. I cannot draw or paint and I am not artsy-craftsy or even especially creative. I have written poems over the years to get feelings out and to organize thoughts but I have not been able to regularly do this in several years, about the time I started doing social service work.

I love to write, though, and I am grateful to Word Press for offering this outlet for me and millions of others that need a place to share their ideas. I think that writing is in my DNA and that it will always be something I like to do.

© 2016 blogdaysofchrell

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Life and Work, Work and Life… lasting effects of the work you do

I went to a workshop recently to learn about Trauma Exposure Response and the effects of secondary trauma on people who work with trauma victims. The speaker was Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky of the Trauma Stewardship Institute. I saw her TED talk, so I had a little insight as to what the workshop would cover but was pleasantly surprised at the knowledge I gained and the feelings it brought out of me and others in attendance.

While working in mental health/ social services for 15 years, and dealing with my own stress, family conflict, grief/loss, etc. concurrently, I know that life and the type of work I have done are not easy. I have had good days and bad days, success, failures, internal conflicts and personal conflicts, concerns about safety, sadness about how I tried to help someone which did not work out,  and I have seen substance abuse, child abuse, the list is endless. I realize that I have faired much better than other field workers and yet the job and life take their toll all the same. You and I and others have to figure out have to live life while addressing theses issues with and for others on a daily basis.

A few topics came up during the course of the workshop which are not in my cup of tea, but I kept an open mind and I am glad to draw from the knowledge well at any time. I am sure that there are some differing world views, but I chose to focus on why I was at the workshop and to learn how I can get back on track and feel better.  I realized that I spend more time than I should focusing on what isn’t and how I wish it would be. I have learned about being mindful, concepts of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (including Radical Acceptance), stress management, anger management, the five stages of change, and more. I have tried each of them and other coping methods, including exercise, but understanding how everything fits together and leaves long-lasting effects was powerful. Knowing that you need to take a brief walk at work is not the same as making a plan to manage your stress and exposure to trauma so you can live and work in healthy ways. I am now aware of this, and have a long way to go toward fixing, reconciling, and mending. My first step is to read Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others” , and the second step is to make some healthy changes, including regular exercise and mindfulness. So far, I am enjoying the book and working to implement Laura’s suggestions.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell