Yesterday was a day of exposure for me, or should I say of me. Three things happened that has me very spent, but satisfied. NO, stop it! Not what you are thinking. My choice of words were interesting, as I do not know always know what I type until it is on the paper and I look at it. My exposure experiences were very telling of where I am in the new grounding I am sensing.
The first thing that happened was that I had to give a presentation on the initiative I chair, or as they are referred: a Pillar. There are four sub-groups and I also chair one of those groups. This initiative is the organizations belly, I like to call it. It is the feelings and emotions that go along with good clinical care. It is near and dear to my heart. In the world of modern medicine, we churn out clinicians who have a tendency to be too mechanical with their care. This is brought on the money producing institution of health and it will, I promise you, only get worse. My goals for what I had hope to do under this umbrella had been trampled on earlier this year, and now, it seems I have been giving the green light to move ahead with a new motivation program within the agency. I am enthusiastic beyond my normal cheer leading self. But, I am also filled with trepidation of getting this concept out there and accepted. There are some real insecure and nasty people where I work. I have tried not to let them intimidate me or make me feel less than I am, but I am still very vulnerable and unsteady when I am challenged. For example, one of them also presented yesterday, and everyone knows that she was taking credit for something she had almost nothing to do with. She was not even at the meetings. The team I formed to create this project all were in the room, and after she told of the impact of the curriculum I developed, the team’s approach to the delivery which I brought to the table, and the positive reactions of the participants, she thanked the team. And very obvious and intentionally, she omitted thanking me.
So after that apparent slight, I had to present for my pillar. It is not like I do not know how to present, I taught public speaking for heaven’s sake. But it was like getting up in front of a blood thirsty, sleep deprived gang of thieves. I started off wonderfully, dancing and moving as I always do when I teach. I learned that so I would not be such an easy target and also the movement keeps the attention of the students. It was why I can be exhausted by the end of a class. As I gazed around, looking for a participant to hook eyes with, another teaching method, and all I saw was grimace after frown. What an unhappy group. There were a few who only wanted out so they could get on with their day. I was up there talking about the proposed work on motivation and team building to a group of starving hyenas. A few had their eyes closed as if this respite was designed for that activity. I sped up to the point of a blur, darting and weaving and speaking at a clip that would make a New York minute slow. My voice cracked, I was becoming flushed and then I was done. What a relief. The exposure was not so much my vulnerability in talking about the passion I feel for my upcoming project, but more in the fact of how, even after a year and a half, I still do not belong. I am not sure if anyone there feels like they are part of a whole, because the whole is a hole. But that is for another time. And that is the point of the project.
Later in the day, my husband and I trundled off to do something a few short years ago I would never had thought would happen. We went to a financial planner. We have been through a lot together, holding on to what we had by the skin of our fingertips. But we did it and now we have landing on the other side. We are comfortable in our finances and needed some advice on how to handle the plans for the upcoming years. Yes, the big mecca looms, more for Joe than I …retirement. I am not ready to not work, albeit I am not sure at what. After we met with the planner, we sat on our deck and talked about the future. We will celebrate at the end of month, ten years together. I realized as we sat how blessed I am to have a future like we do and with someone who is as kind and understanding as the man sitting next to me. Again, it has not been a smooth journey with us, as most couples experience some strife. But that topic is also for another time. The exposure to the future and what it might bring was a revelation for both us who are used to living by the seat of our pants and moment to moment. I have to laugh because living in the moment is what it is all about, but it is nice to know the next few will at least have some cushioning to make them enjoyable.
The last exposure was one I was not expecting. I have been participating in a workshop on Mindful Based Stress Reduction. Last night was our last session. We all were supposed to bring something to the group to share, be it food, art, song or writing. I brought some of my writing. I was not sure until right before I was asked if I had anything to share whether or not I would. I read my writing on friendship. Again, I was so nervous because of a couple of factors. I do not really know these people and they truly had no clue about me. Some in the group shared freely and I would stay still and quiet because they needed the opportunity more than I did. This was fine. But because I did not tell much about myself, they all thought I was a woo-woo hippy freak. Ah, true to that! Many of them had never meditated and yoga was something you ate with yogurt. Several had dropped out early on and the numbers had dwindled. They were a fine group of people who came together because of a common ailment. The lady next to me rang the chime signaling it was my turn. I unfolded the work and cleared my throat. I actually had four stories but I knew I wanted to read the one about friends. It was the most heartfelt one I brought and I thought relevant to the end of this relationship. I stuttered as I explained the origin and the instructor wanted to know the location of the blog. I had not thought that this was going to be asked and it threw me. I muttered I would tell anyone who was interested later the address. I had shut a door and I knew it when I said it. The exposure was so great to have these people hear about my personal journey. I began to read and my voice crackled under the pressure of my feelings. It was strange to hear my words aloud. I felt their eyes pinned on me in utter misconception of who had sat there all this time. I could barely look up and so I continued to the end with my beat red face turned downwards. This was from someone who had stood in front of many as a singer, and actor or as a teacher. I finished and looked up to see a mix of disbelief on some faces and others glowed with compassion. I had been so exposed, not like anything I had ever done. I turned towards the instructor who did not expect what he heard. Things changed between us. I recovered and actually offered another tale, one that was about my dog. It was humorous and easy. After the session ended, I gave the papers with the four stories to the instructor and invited him to my blog. I hope he will stop by and I encouraged him to share the location if he wanted to. We all scribbled our personal emails on a paper and our time together was over.
The day ended with me drained and on the ride home, I felt the flush of adrenal leave me. Because I knew what I was facing early on, I was aware all day for cues that would trigger my brain and put me out of control. I sense one attack to my vulnerable side. I could actually feel the beginning of the flood but I was able to stop it by really understanding the entry and need for immediate control. However, my body spent the day in a tight flinch. The repercussion was off course charlie horses and I did have a beaut of one when Joe and I were relaxing on our deck. My night was spent in a restless slumber, punctuated with the onslaught of muscles relaxing and cramping and fitful empty dreams. But it is ok. I get it, and that makes all the difference. I can handle it because there is no fear. That makes all the work I have done worthwhile. The vulnerability is not something I am comfortable with, but then would it be real if I was?