Monthly Archives: November 2011

Moving

Standard

Someone once said to me, that moving is considered as one of the most stressful things in life. I can vouch for that once more. In total I’ve been moving 9 times, including moving country three times. The first time was when I was 5 years old and I can’t remember much, besides that I was allowed to choose the wallpaper for my room (rose clouds with light blue suns and moons) and that I had to swap kindergarten much to my delight! The next big move was when I decided to go to Uni in Vienna. I still remember the tearful goodbye to my parents on Sunday and that I spent that night in hospital all by myself because I put my back out in the shower after they left.

On Monday I moved once more. Away from my beloved appartement on an irish farm where dogs, cats, cattle and hens were the only loud noises, to a boarding school in Waterford where the laughter, footsteps and music of 89 boarding girls is very much present.

After worrying for days if I’ll fit everything in 1.5 rooms, packing up and cleaning my old place, I am now unpacked (besides my beloved books, because I don’t know where to put them) and trying to settle into a new place and life. I feel overwhelmed, excited and nervous all at the same time. Trying to remember names and faces, trying to understand bit by bit my role here and the expectations of this job. And being the woman I am, I’m wrestling with all the new responsibilities, I am afraid if the girls will like me and get on with me, anxious if I’ll get on with the staff, doubting if this was the right move, tired emotionally and physically.

Over the summer I wrote a list of ingredients that would give my life joy and meaning, and following my passion and dreams was one of them. No one told me how scary that can be, how vulnerable I would make myself again and how much God is trying to free me from the prison I have built around myself by taking this opportunity and moving to the school.

My self-kindness vs. my self-critic is tested once more. Somehow I think courage without fear isn’t possible. If I wouldn’t be scared, I wouldn’t need to gather all my inner resources and take a step into the unknown, and experiences that this is exactly what trusting in God means. And I want to be me and authentic and not live by other people’s expectations! So I am trying to remember that “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we are.”

Connecting the dots

Standard

Since I’ve started my course in Counseling & Psychotherapy, I have started to see the bigger picture of humanity. For the last couple of weeks we’ve been studying the Humanistic Approach ( known as Person-Centred Counseling) which Carl Rogers started after he was disillusioned with Freudian Psychodynamic Counseling. Soon I began to see the overlap between Rogers theory and how we are trying to do youth ministry! Person-Centred is characterized by three core conditions, which the counselor needs to offer: 1) Unconditional Positive Self-Regard; 2) Empathy and 3) Congruence. As I was digging deeper into their meaning, one word came to my mind: belonging. Belonging is a universal need! It is an invitation to being honest, it’s a place where there is no condemnation, no judgement, instead there is acceptance, respect, community and love. It is a safe place. And we want to offer this place to the young people we work with and encounter.

But then I started looking at myself, the youth worker and future to be counselor. In Person-Centred words I am supposed to be a “light in the darkness” whose presence has power and can offer healing. But so often I feel inadequate. I feel like a mess, and I wonder “what do I have to offer? I am broken as well!” There is the self-condemned voice that whispers “you are not good enough”. As I was reflecting on this, one girl came to my mind who I see from time to time at the youth drop in center or on the street. She is living with a foster family and has serious issues. Whenever she sees me, she simply wants to get a hug. She is not ready to talk about her troubled soul, but she is craving love and belonging. And I need to trust that this encounter is enough, that by giving her a hug I can tell her that she is loved. So what I have to offer?! Presence! Yes , I need to work through my own mess, but instead of seeing myself as messed up, I can see it as a chance to get in touch with my own pain and suffering and my own humanity and be transformed into a “Wounded Healer”.

A while ago I scribbled down this poem after I had coffee with a girl:

Sit here with me

Just simply be

As we both breathe the air around us

in and out.

Words spoken full of pain

Just be with me

and sit

You are more than skin, hair,

bones, DNA, hormones and chemicals

You are a soul

Just be and sit and see

I want to offer you love and grace

Embrace it and breathe

Pain, confusion and suffering are present

But trust me, healing is in you as well.

Sit here. Be with me and breathe.