Losing My Motivation

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Over the past month, I seem to have misplaced my motivation. I am usually at least fairly motivated to accomplish most things, but these past few weeks, I find that I am much as this picture suggests, just here. Doing nothing, with nothing to say, and feeling quite like just a lump of unmotivated flesh.

Sure I have ideas about things I could do. They come all the time and I look at them and ponder how I might bring them to life and that’s about where it stops. I just don’t have the motivation or inspiration to proceed further.

I could force myself to do it. I can write anytime, but it would be just words without conviction or passion. I could paint, but it would be perfunctorily done without true art or expression. I could organize my house or do some deep cleaning, but I would rather rest.

Now, it is not as if I do nothing at all. I get up every day and work a 10 to 12 hour day at the business I own and run providing mental health counseling to girls and women five days a week and every other week adding on half days on Saturday. I supervise a therapist who is gaining her hours for licensure every day. I do all the things required to run a business every day. And I am very good at my job.

I have a family with a husband and three sons, adults all, but they still all live in the home with me and I am engaged with each of them on a variety of levels every day during and after my work. I do clean my home and cook meals mostly on weekends as after a 10-12 hour day with mental health I do not have the margin for that every day.

I have friends that I talk to and engage with as often as possible. Less now with Covid but I am still engaged with them as best we can.

I do many other things weekly in conjunction with running and marketing a business. I engage in family activities such as games and movies. So, I am not doing nothing.

However, my creative endeavors have suffered dramatically over the last month perhaps even longer. I have written and published things online but it was without much creativity. I have not painted outside of my therapy practice using art therapy in months. I have not written a single word on the book series I am working on in months.

Even today as I write this there are lots of ideas in my head for things I could write about. How I am hooked into the Netflix series The Last Kingdom and am on my second watch through of the four seasons. How I think Bridgerton could have been written by someone in a coma as it is that predictable and trite. How the NFL offseason is going to be a carousel of quarterback trades and changes. How Tom Brady continues to defy time. And I have all kinds of ideas for painting as well.

But nothing moves me to actual creation of any of this. I feel drained, tired, and dare I say it, lazy. And lazy is not a word I am familiar with. Of all the words I and others would use to describe me, lazy is not one of them.

Perhaps it is winter, but we have barely had any real winter this year in our part of Montana. Perhaps it is the start of a new year and the feeling that time is flying by. Perhaps it is the experience of my 58th birthday. Perhaps it is ongoing Covid and political unrest.

Perhaps it just a season of time where I take a creative rest. I am not sure but I am not enjoying it. Though I do not know how to get out of it and start the flow again. I hope that it does.

I do believe that nothing stays the same and that this too will change…when the universe is ready.

Grief Is An Unpredictable Ocean

Photo by Meenakshi Chauhan on Unsplash

Grief is an ocean. Sometimes peaceful and calm and other times angry and unsettled. Grief comes in waves.

As time goes on, the grief changes much like the ocean. The acceptance of the way things are is akin to the acceptance of the ocean as something that is always there but ever-changing.

It has been 11 years, well almost 12 years now, since my mother died. For many of those 11 years, my ocean of grief has been relatively calm with the waves only surfacing with birth dates, death dates, holidays sometimes. These waves have been relatively easy to ride out for many of these years.

These last few months with coronavirus, my ocean has taken on the characteristic of a tropical depression. Not quite a hurricane, but still strong enough to stir the ocean into a roiling reservoir of emotion and large, constant waves.

Working within the ever shifting landscape of death and fear with my clients daily has my own personal ocean moving a little more these days. My uncle died unexpectedly last week just a few years younger than my father currently is and it is adding to my ocean drop by drop.

It is a sobering thought that feels much like the experience of having a large ocean wave hit you in the chest and roll over you pushing you down and under, taking your breath.

My mother was very, very sick for a long time, many years before she died. She had diabetes and high blood pressure. She had several strokes from her forties on. She was on dialysis for years. When she died, her organs had shut down one by one and she was a shell of the woman she used to be racked with pain.

The last time I saw her, she was in hospice. She could not speak except to cry out in pain. They just kept upping her morphine to make her comfortable. I talked to her and told her that I loved her and that it was okay for her to go.

She could not talk to me but she looked at me in a few moments of lucidity and cried as I held her face close to mine and told her that I loved her.

I was the executor of things and had to leave the next morning to travel about an hour away to the funeral home location to make final preparations. On the way there, my brother called to tell me that my mother was gone.

I had years to prepare for this eventuality. Death was not a surprise and I was thankful she was no longer in pain or suffering. The initial grief was much easier to handle than this ocean 11 years later.

Clients come in on a daily basis worried about their own loved ones. Some have lost people this year to the virus, others know people who have died. Still others fear for their families and for themselves.

They are in grief for the normalcy of their lives. For the other things that have also been lost, scaled down weddings, barely attended funerals, and not being able to go and visit elders in nursing homes, or those who are hospitalized for different reasons.

Another wave, another ride.

As a clinical counselor, I know all the stages of grief. I know, clinically, all about the ocean and the waves. I work with clients every day to process these emotions.

It can be difficult to therapy yourself.

And so I continue to ride the waves, writing helps. Self-care helps. Acknowledging and accepting my ocean and knowing that the waves will subside as they always do will help.

The waves can wash over me and push me down in sadness and loss or they can lift me up to float in love and remembrance.

I love you mom.

Land Of The Lost

The older I get, the more people I lose from my life. A natural occurrence of aging because everyone around you is older too. Still, sadness and grief remain an ever returning constant.

Last night, my uncle Robert passed away unexpectedly. He was in his early 70s, only a little more than 20 years older than me. It was shocking and sad to get the news this morning from my father, who will turn 79 on Monday. Each passing reminds me more that others in my life will also be leaving soon…..and sooner than I would wish.

My uncle Robert was a giant of a man. I remember him from a very young age being larger than life and quieter than snow. He did not have a lot to say usually, but when he did it was either very important that you listen or very funny. He had an amazing sense of humor and a heart as big as giants. Always there to lend a helping hand no matter what someone needed. And he never, ever failed to make me laugh.

My heart aches for his family today. He was married to my aunt, my father’s sister, for 56 years with two wonderful children, my cousins. Along with many grandchildren. A man of quiet faith and steadfast love and support.

I am sad about his passing, very sad. But I think that his passing has brought once again to light the fact that others in my life will also pass from this life and some sooner than others. It is the way of things, the circle of life, but it does not make it any easier to wade through the ocean waves of grief. From my childhood, only a handful of the “older” generation now remain. Soon, I will be the older generation, or part of what is left of it.

The others will pass into the next life, but they do not pass from memory or from the heart.

I have a wonderful family of my own and I am so grateful for each day with them. But those I have lost are still part of my thoughts, my memories, my heart. And I navigate the ocean of grief some days with no waves and some days with many as I celebrate the present and the living while missing those who have been lost.

Everyone Has Days Like These

human hand between yellow petaled flower field

Have you ever had days at your job where you just wonder if you want to continue doing that job? Days where you just are not sure you like the job anymore?

I think we have all had those days at some point. No matter how much you may like your job overall, there are always days where we just don’t. Days where you feel useless, frustrated, angry, or just plain tired. These are the days where we can start to question the road we are on.

Even if you have gone to college for many years and have a Master’s or PhD. Even if you have invested countless hours into learning your craft and possibly building your ow business. Even if you have invested thousands of dollars on education and then continuing education sometimes becoming greatly in debt. Even then, we can still question our career choices.

If your days of questioning are greater than your days of fulfillment, you probably need to give the questioning a closer look. A fleeting thought of changing your path is one thing. Feeling this way every day is something else entirely.

The fleeting thought of giving up all you have worked for is usually just that, fleeting. It generally comes on in times of stress, overwork, or self-doubt. When these things shift away, we can take time to examine the things we love about our jobs. The things we know we do well. The things that drew us to this path in the first place.

Generally, we find that we do not want to abandon our path, but perhaps we need a break. A small piece of time to step back, breathe, and have a second more relaxed look. We will usually realize that we do love our jobs, most of the time.

Sometimes the break needs to be longer to get a clearer picture. And sometimes we come to the conclusion we need to go a different direction. But we can be certain that everyone has days like these.

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