Category Archives: Reflection

“Are You Making Progress?”

Reasons why you should probably not tell your mother you’re seeing a therapist:

  • “Is it like hypnosis?” (“Mum, no.”)
  • “What do you guys talk about?” (This is tricky because we actually sometimes talk about her, heh)
  • “Are you making progress?” (Well if progress can be measured by the amount of tissue paper used… Maybe >.<)
  • “Maybe I should see a therapist too.” (….)
  • “I hope you’ll become positive and happy again.” (“Mum I AM still positive and happy.” “…Ok good.”)
  • “You’re also a therapist, couldn’t you just do therapy for yourself?” (“Ehhh…It doesn’t quite work that way…”)
  • “Do you have to finish the entire course?” (It’s not a course, Mum, and its not like Antibiotics…)

 

But amusing stuff aside, I’m quite glad to say that some of the intense and confusing emotions which emerged from this experience are finally beginning to clear (after almost 3 months!), and I can better understand what has been happening in my mind and body.

This is the short and not-too-much-info explanation:
So I learnt that our bodies store pockets of emotions which can lie dormant for years. These can include emotions from childhood and past experiences. And we never know what might trigger them. In my case, it seems that the impact of grief, as I witnessed a mother watching her child die, triggered my own stored emotions from earlier years, which have apparently been suppressed and unprocessed – Until now.

This insight has been very helpful in explaining certain things, such as why I was still feeling the intense sensations in the body long after the images and vivid memories of the session had faded.

It has also made me realise that everyone probably has their own internal battles. If I have been holding such intensity inside me for close to 3 months, yet still behave (almost) normally, getting up to go to work every morning, fulfilling all my duties at work, and meeting all my social obligations … It certainly has not been easy and I foresee that this journey could continue for a while more. It really is a reminder to be kind to everyone I meet, because we wouldn’t know what kind of storm a person could be holding inside themselves.

And yes… Even though I consider myself a rebel against the results-oriented nature of our society, I have to say… There has been progress ;p

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A Little Thing

It’s a usual music therapy practice to greet each person in the group individually at the start of the session, and to say goodbye to each individual. It is a way to invite each individual into the group setting, and at the end, to thank them for their contribution to the group.

Well yesterday, I forgot to say bye to each individual kid after a session.

After the group goodbye song, the boys were transited to go toileting, then to go for their outdoor activity.

But one of the little boys decided otherwise – he apparently pulled his teacher back to the classroom, where I was still packing and clearing the area after their session.

I had turned around and there he stood, looking at me, somewhat bashfully.

Unaware of his agenda, I asked “A, what is it?” Not that he could verbalise a reply, but I knew he was capable of communicating through gestures and vocalisations.

When a few more moments had passed without him initiating anything, I looked at the teacher standing at the entrance of the classroom.

“Do you know what he wants?” I asked.

“He wants to say bye.”

BOOM.

It hit me then. Of course. I had forgotten to give each kid their individual goodbye after the session, perhaps unconsciously assuming that the goodbye song was good enough and that it wouldn’t make a difference to them anyway… Apparently it does!

Squatting to his eye level, I said “Bye bye A!” and held out my palm for a high-5. He returned the high-5 immediately, smiled and turned to walk back to his teacher.

Heart melts.

The little things do matter. A lot.

Boundaries

I think this is something I’ve gotten better at over the years.

Still there’s always room for improvement.

The most difficult emotion I think I still struggle with, is guilt.

I feel guilty for saying no sometimes.

I feel guilty for pushing some people away, even when I know they’re not the most healthy company to keep.

I feel guilty for making time for myself because it feels selfish on some levels.

But I accept that it is work in progress, and that learning to set healthy and balanced boundaries will always be something worth getting better at.

Healing Conversations

Meeting up with a long-time friend last night after a period of hiatus offered me some new insights and perspectives on being in this world.

I told her that our meetup was very healing for me, for reasons I couldn’t quite articulate in the moment myself. “I don’t know… It just felt healing… on a deeper level.” I replied when she asked how was it healing.

It was only after some reflection and processing this afternoon that I think I came to some sort of explanation…

See, in my relationship with myself, I think I am at the stage where I can comfortably switch between roles, act them out accordingly, and give myself time and space to recharge, thereby reconnecting with myself, and maintaining authenticity and a relatively authentic relationship with myself. I may not always want to be outgoing and spontaneous, but if my job requires it I am able to tell myself that there is meaning in doing this, so let’s do it, and most of the time I am able to make peace with the different roles I have to play in daily life.

But, in my relationship with the world, I don’t think I always have this harmony or peace. In fact, there may be times when I might actually resent and blame the world for all my painful, conflicting emotions, my struggles with unworthiness and inferiority and inadequacy. While I can forgive myself for having to act inauthentically at times, I may not always forgive the world, that which has forced me to act in this way and which has imposed these struggles upon me (at least that’s how I see it).

And thus, having friends who represent a facet of that world, showing me that it is possible for at least a small part of that external world to understand, to not judge, to really LISTEN, to validate and see me for who I am, without expecting me to change to meet their expectations…

This longtime friend was just that, and I think that’s why and where I found healing.

Thank you 🙂

Walk Our Why

If someone were to ask us “why do you do the work you do?” I hope can come up with a better answer than “well, I enjoy it.”

The “why” of our actions is can be a very powerful motivator, something that sticks even when reality hits, and we realise that yes, some things are more work than others, but there are always trade-offs and nothing is more powerful than knowing WHY we do the work we do.

May we all find our Whys.