Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bob and I are back from San Antonio, two amazingly peaceful, quiet nights before two cray work days. My toe is healing well and I actually beat Bob at Scrabble two more times in the fifteen games we played. Amazing! Generous man is actually teaching me to think strategicly regarding Scrabble and points on the board instead of just making cool words.

I have my first bite on my "Ask me a question, any question and I will blog about it." challenge from yesterday. Actually I have two questions from one friend. Thanks Mary. Here goes.

Who are your heroes? (Thinking of LIVING heroes rather than those who are deceased.)

I am not one who thinks much in terms of heroes, either living or dead, but Martha Perkins truly has been a hero and role model for me. Martha founded The Listening Tree therapy practice back when I was a young wife and mother in my pink bubble years. The practice was a third career for her after teaching and counseling on the university campus. She started the practice when she was recently widowed, lonely and seeking, deeply missing the love of her life. She had spent some time after his sudden death taking cruises and entertaining, and had the means to continue in that way, but felt a desire to do something healing for others.

The practice she founded is special in its dedication to the provision of deep, quality counseling services to people regardless of ability to pay. Martha also was rare in the way she approached people seeking counsel, seeing their wholeness, their strengths, not just their brokenness. She taught me to look past diagnostic codes and to see people "half a heart beat healthier" than they are. Martha brought wonderful teachers, especially Carl Kirsch and Dorothy and Mort Satten into my life.

Martha recruited me to teach parenting classes for some of her clients before Kerry got sick. I wasn't interested. The girls were still small and I was happy at home, teaching a few classes around my kitchen table. I wasn't taking many chances in those days, or changing much. Then Kerry died. Two days after the funeral Martha called and said she had an office for me when I was ready to come and work. I started three weeks later and have found my life's work carrying on her healing tradition after her retirement.

Martha taught me that my grief wouldn't kill me, that tears were finite, and that energy is energy and the energy of pin had best be converted into something useful like work, art, or service.

Write about something that happened in your life that you found very personally rewarding?

I could answer this so many way - find rewards in many aspects of life, but I think I feel the clearest sense of reward when I do something that works. Often its simple things, like cleaning out a messy drawer or closet, making a necklace that sparkles just right in the sunlight, planning and preparing a meal and watching people I love eat it with satisfaction and delight. Finishing what I start and feeling satisfied is rewarding. Meal example aside, I try not to look for reward in other people's responses. That's a slippery slope for me because I want very badly to please everyone I love all the time and can get hopelessly tangled up trying to do so. I also feel a real sense of reward when I feel that I have behaved well in a difficult situation, responding with wisdom and kindness.


Ann said...

I love your definition of rewards, Victoria, which means we're surrounded by them all the time, even in the deepest, darkest times, rather like gratitude lists, just as we're surrounded by heroes. I think I'd prefer your way of playing Scrabble, creating neat words, but then I haven't been cut-throat competitive about too many things. Write on, blogger woman!

Mary said...

Victoria, I enjoyed reading the answers to the questions. I can see why Martha Perkins would be a hero. She sounds like a very caring, insightful, dedicated, helpful professional....definitely an inspiration for your own way of counseling & living. It was interesting to read about her.

I smile about your first answer to the question about what you found personally rewarding. I feel the same way....if something WORKS as I hope it will / think it will / pray it will (without any glitches), it is a GOOD moment in my day! I enjoyed all your answers. I hope more people will ask questions.

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