The Art of Interviewing

The Art of Interviewing

Some friends have recently started a podcast about the idea of unsubscribing from the “normal” approach to life. It features interviews with individuals who have chosen alternative paths in one way or another... I have a different ear while listening to this new creation, perhaps because it’s new, perhaps because I have a bit of the behind-the-scenes process, but it occurred to me recently that I’ve never considered the art of interviewing before… which is funny because my job as a therapist is very similar: a series of questions.

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Living the Questions

Living the Questions

After much of a month spent in Colorado and Utah at the end of this summer, I returned home to Asheville only to find myself yearning for the big mountains and the aridity of the West. This longing is not new to me. Every so often my love of the geography of the western states comes crashing in, and I wonder why I am digging my roots into the wet soil of the Southeast.

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Circles

Circles

If time were given a shape, it seems it would be circles:

years, months, days…. all moving in circles.

The patterns of the natural world also show up in circles:

the hawk catching the warm uplift, rising in circles;

the circles of the vortex pulling the leaf under water, only to reemerge downstream, still spinning… circles.

Sometimes I feel as if I too am moving in circles with the lessons I am learning in this life. And yet...

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Take Me to the River

Take Me to the River

Summer time…. And the livin’s easy….

Or at least, that’s our normal association with this season of playtime, sunshine, beaches and barbeques. So what happens when our lives don’t slow down...For some, the summer’s promise of ease can turn into greater stress, which in turn can move us into a place of resentment, irritability, and far from showing up as our best self.

What do we do when we are ashamed of our actions? When we hurt someone? When we react rather than respond? When we do something or say something that makes us want to crawl into a hole and not come out until the world has somehow forgotten?

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Packing List: Part III

Packing List: Part III

Comfort piece: My green sarong. It’s my multi-tool piece of clothing. A skirt, a changing room, a scarf, a sheet to sleep under on warmer nights, a beach towel, a pillow cover… it’s cotton and feels like a security blanket in harsher wilderness conditions, or a piece of stylish accent to the same black fleece I’ve worn the last 5 days. It’s colorful. It’s fun but also functional. It’s not necessary, but each time I use it I feel a bit of joy and delightful acceptance of this gift I am giving myself.

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Packing List: Part II

Packing List: Part II

Leave the "options" at home.

On any trip where I have thought “I can’t decide which, so I’ll just bring both, and then I’ll have options!”… the same thing happens…I use far less than I brought and regret the weight of the excess baggage (scarves, shirts, pants, shoes, socks, earrings, books, bags). I believe this has to do with wanting to feel prepared when faced with the unknown, covering up a nervousness or lack of control with more stuff in the pack... as if having two scarves instead of one will help me better navigate the challenges of international travel. 

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Packing List: Part I

Packing List: Part I

I have come to believe that the way we engage with the various stages of an adventure directly relates to the way we live our overall lives. Do we immerse ourselves in the planning phase? Relishing each minute spent detailing our moment to moment itinerary? Do we daydream about the lives we want to be leading without ever getting past the google-image searches to actually purchase a ticket? Do we throw ourselves into the travel, show up to our station without speaking the language and no clue where we will sleep that night?

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Winter Constellations

Winter Constellations

She has a constellation of nightlights that illuminate her nocturnal pathways and I imagine her creeping through the rooms trying not to disturb the slumbering of her loved ones, the dim glow of her house a warmth in the cold night… her soft movements a dance of motherhood… Although not lonely, she finds herself sole witness to the dark, and in this solitude she feels more fully all that she is to her child, to her partner, and to the world.

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Fall Surrender

Fall Surrender

I follow several nature photographers on instagram, and this fall the images of golden aspens have been the highlight of my “social media” world. It’s as if the aspen canopy is glowing and bathing the surrounding evergreens with it’s intrinsic light. Although no aspens grow in North Carolina, the change of colors in autumn is still my highlight of the year, and I am struck by how this washing of the world in oranges, reds, yellows, deep purples, is then followed by a complete surrender and falling of brilliance. The trees cannot hold onto the autumn jewels; in fact their roots need the nutritious compost of their own sacrifice.

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It's All in the Repair

It's All in the Repair

When being trained as a counselor I was offered the following advice many times by many different people, often with slightly different wording: The relationship is built in the repair. A somewhat novel concept to someone who, like many of us, wanted to be liked by everyone and struggled with the idea of conflict with a client, this concept is larger than just the work that I do in the office or outdoors with clients. It’s about every relationship. My friends, my co-workers, my family, most definitely my marriage. The relationship is not defined by whether or not we have conflict, arguments, hurt feelings, loss, anger, tears…. It’s defined by how we respond to these challenges.

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Comfort or Growth

Comfort or Growth

Comfort or Growth: are you going for one or the other? I am not so naïve as to believe that we all fall entirely into one of the two camps, but I do wonder if we all can’t align ourselves more with one or the other as a life goal, as a way we organize ourselves, lean with our values, and tend to base our decisions. Are we striving to be ever more comfortable? To have easier and easier lives, as the rate of our technological development may suggest? Or do we gain pride in life by having to stretch ourselves, by waking up everyday with a hurdle to overcome, a challenge to navigate, defining our sense of self worth with martyr-like work at all hours of our lives?  Is it all about the next gadget or job that will make life more luxurious? or Is it all about how hard we’ve worked and what tasks we have completed?

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