30 August 2012

Blue Ribbon

I summoned up the courage to enter some of my photographs in the Socorro County Fair, just for the fun of participating, and this photo won a blue ribbon! It's a remake of a color photo I took this past April; I just love the black-and-white/antiquing effect and think it makes this a much more interesting image.

This is my final week of leisure and freedom; next Tuesday I start working in my new career, finally, as a child and family therapist out at the Alamo Navajo Health Center (30 miles northwest of Magdalena). I'm excited about the possibilities and am also gratified to find myself coming full circle, in a way, revisiting and finally benefiting from my 1990s anthropology fieldwork on cross-cultural medicine. Upon launching this new career I'd wanted to jump into training on equine therapy, but since I'll be working mostly with kids my first priority is to get some good training in play therapy. What a great job, huh?

17 August 2012

Hummingbird Medicine

Young female (I think) rufous hummingbird, Magdalena, NM, August 2012
Just outside my bedroom window a tiny messenger came calling this morning, perching quietly on the old peach tree for a good bit. She stayed long enough for me to get my camera, take a few photos, and enjoy the rare sight of a hummingbird at rest. Some people believe animals carry specific meanings and messages, so just for curiosity's sake I looked up what hummingbirds mean and found this:

What is hummingbird's message for us? First of all, adaptability in life's many situations and being able to "roll with the punches." If you have hummingbird medicine, you adapt easily to whatever situation you may find yourself in, and make the most of your new circumstances. You don't waste time looking back and wishing for "what was" for you are concerned with making the most of "what is." 

The second message is inner joy.... You take great pleasure in spreading joy and love and beauty to all around you, and have the gift of taking that inner joy into new and different surroundings.

So, be adaptable and nurture my inner joy as I move forward. Turns out to be a fortuitous message for today: I finally received my official license to practice therapy (under supervision for 2 years) and can now truly move forward into my new career! I start working part-time in Albuquerque on Tuesday, and will also interview next week for a more local job that seems both challenging and promising. Four years in the making, my journey begins a whole new phase. As busy as I'll be, though, I truly hope I continue to enjoy moments like this morning's, just watching a bird pause in its own busy life.

13 August 2012

New Phase...

New moon over the Jemez Mountains, shot near Santa Fe, NM, July 2012
Portal de Santa Fe, July 2012
I shot this brand-new moon a little over three weeks ago during my trip to Santa Fe to hand-deliver my mental health counseling licensure application. I spent a few weeks compiling all the necessary information and supporting documentation, and carefully completing the form to ensure quick processing and approval. I hand-delivered it to ensure its receipt a week ahead of the usual scheduled monthly review. I confirmed with the clerk that everything was in order, that I was well ahead of the deadline, and that, assuming I met all criteria (and I'd triple-checked that I did), I would receive my license to practice therapy within two to three weeks.

The new moon I saw that evening is now in its late phase, slipping back toward the sun and a new phase. Much to my dismay I found out last week that the application has been needlessly delayed (I won't go into why; that could blacklist me permanently), which automatically delays me in starting to make a living in my new career for another month. Another month of living on sporadic jewelry sales, student loans, and various other forms of assistance, while nearly four years of diligent coursework and clinical preparation simmer away in my head as I sit on my hands and wait to get to work.

A friend asked me to look for the gift in this delay. What gift?? But she's right in that my perception shapes my response, and I can consciously choose to find or create the gift here. Paradoxically, the delay is itself the gift. It gives me more time with my kids as they settle into the new school year (they started last week -- how crazy-early is that??), more time to develop a new routine for us all, more time to figure out how to help my son work through some pretty serious challenges that he's been struggling with for a while now.

The delay also gives me a moment to pause, to consider what I've accomplished, and to imagine the possibilities ahead. Recently I read something to the effect of "imagine without expectation" (can't remember the source) and recalled the following:

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
  -T.S. Eliot, "The Four Quartets"

Pause, be still, and wait without hope -- not hopeless, just in faith. This, I can do.

05 August 2012

Rain on Me

Light sunset rain on pond, near Magdalena, NM, August 2012
A month ago our "monsoons" seemed to be in full swing, and then -- nothing. This is not good, and as usual we're worried about the land, the animals, the big picture... Yesterday the skies opened up for a while during a party I hosted for a dear friend's 40th birthday -- seems like a good omen for her! Today we just got a few sprinkles before sunset and probably will just have heat and sunshine for the week. This is not typical for this time of year for us so, as always, we pray for rain.