chaos and the calm

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my professional life has felt like a cake baking in the oven. it seemed to have expanded its volume, but it is not clear whether the increase will remain or if it is all air and will fall when removed from the oven. i received some good (i think) news today, but remain apprehensive about the specific domino fall that may follow. i am nervous and excited. and i work to feel okay with not knowing. i hope and i refrain.

i remember a conversation i had with a lifelong friend the night that we met. it had to do with hope and demise and the symbiotic and yin-yang relationship they seem to have. a person’s demise is often connected to their hope. i have maintained this perspective since i claimed it in 1980 during a full moon lit walk along lake shore drive chicago.

so when i feel excitedly hopeful about the prospects of possible outcomes of this not unexpected news, i have found myself worried about the hope i muster. and if a hope become reality, what if what i hope becomes worse than what i have? or more strangely, what if it becomes better?

the cat that ate the canary

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image credit… things that dreams are made of blog

(idiomatic) A person who appears self-satisfied or smug, especially while concealing something mischievous, prohibited, or private

(idiomatic) A person whose appearance and behavior suggest guilt mixed with other qualities, such as satisfaction or feigned nonchalance.

this recent 4 day week has left me at once drained of thoughts yet full of wonder and hope. i have found myself amidst a myriad of projects which leads my manic-leaning brain to a really lovely place, but while there i am forced to remind myself of my limitations and a mandate to forgo perfection. 
my duties have taken a swift and slight turn to my “right” and it certainly feels that way. my fear (connected to hope) is that this shift will somehow just be temporary- but this last bit is completely my own psychology getting in my way.
last summer, while i was spending a short time as a member of the board for a local recovery advocacy organization, i was taking steps to begin to add to the current culture at my workplace. and by add i mean to start including the idea of success and recovery to our programs. since methadone is such an integral part of our clinic’s make-up and there are such a multitude of peripheral issues with that population-i.e. criminal, mental health, physical health, poverty- that success may have just slipped to below the horizon when working with our people on a day-to-day basis. re-introducing this idea and integrating into our daily operations has the potential to be a magnanimous gift to all concerned- clients and staff alike. 
in grantee fashion, it is time for our annual customer satisfaction survey. most of our patients are at our clinic 3-6 days a week and we are conducting the survey for 1 week. this year i asked to include the peer specialists and some patients who are doing well in their recovery to participate and help facilitate. i am thrilled that we get to include the peers and highlight peer support and the idea of success. we will have a drawing for a free week of treatment. i believe strongly that each time a client participates, we are acknowledging their ability and their value.
i have been facilitating a group for gay clients (mostly hiv+) for 3 years. recently my schedule changed and it became necessary to end that group. i am working to start a new one at a different time and i have tried to re-brand it and give it a new personality. as groups go, it was probably time for a change anyway. the new group has struggled with attendance over the last 2 months, but the last 2 weeks have brought some new blood. yesterdays group included a referral from a state agency who seems to be a bit of a drifter, unemployed and reports to be living with a meth addict. he seems puzzled why he has lost 2 jobs because of his mandatory UA’s. this is one great example of  the kind of outreach i hope to generate. i think it is called unmet need. i have been struggling with the logistics of developing a service that might be aptly called pre-treatment. it basically is outreach that supports helping people get connected with services (especially substance abuse) by enhancing their motivation to change. there are not many funding streams for this activity which creates challenges in grant funded operations. personally, i believe it also falls under the umbrella of recovery support services with the support being aimed at before recovery. hopefully GAB will be allowed to grow and we can see if this might have a positive effect. here is the new marketing collateral deliciously served up by jenna legrand at rocket house designs. i contacted malone sizelove in chicago and he graciously agreed to allow me to panhandle the name of his satirical and penetrating  GAB magazine which had a long and healthy shelf life emanating from boystown chicago in the 1990’s. you can see more about bhicago’s GAB magazine on facebook.

i stumbled upon this mash-up from summer 2012 and it’s haunting quality has captured an unfinished part of my spirit. feel free to listen a time or two. i believe there is magic in here. if you are interested, you can listen to a plethera of mashups from daft beatles on soundcloud here


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image credit-diego diaz marin

i am pretty sure that i am looking around for options as i have presently in the process of applying for a new position. i stumbled across a career horoscope reading and found it hopeful that it advised looking outside my immediate sphere for options. i have felt i might need to do this anyway for a variety of reasons, however there is that inner-critic that tells me i can’t get anything else and i need to hold on to what i have.
coincidentally, i have put out a couple of feelers and do have an idea or two. i think though that it is important for me to exercise my brain in this way. otherwise i remain stuck.

i wonder which would be tougher- being passed over for a position that might allow me to grow professionally and personally, or simply moving to position that may not offer me much change at all. tomorrow waits to explore what will take place. i know what i would like to do, but i am unclear about my motivation and my drive.

August 2011
Career Horoscopes

Dot your i’s and cross your t’s during mercury retrograde

reprinted from
Creativity is a key to career success for most of this month, with the Sun outgoing Leo until August 23. Instead of limiting your professional choices to the ones that are already in front of you, taking time to think outside the box may help you discover ways to improve your current working situation or to find a new one. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong in Leo, which is also a sign of leadership. Of course, there are risks in having your own business but that’s true of just about any line of work these days.
Another important factor now is that Mercury, the communication planet, will be retrograde August 2-26. This backward cycle tends to mess with information and messages, making it especially important to double check facts and to make sure that you and those who matter understand one another. The upside of Mercury’s reversal is the possibility to retrieve old concepts and reconnect with people who can help you professionally. Just be careful about any tendency to oversell or to buy into someone else’s inflated plans.
On August 21, attractive Venus’ shift into efficient Virgo puts a premium on competence. Refining your job-related skills and developing new ones can increase your value and, perhaps, your income as well. The Sun’s entry into Virgo on August 23 underscores the importance of being a competent and cooperative worker. Mastering tasks that require concentration may not be flashy and gain immediate attention, but can upgrade almost anyone’s professional status.

so i came across this german ensemble named “lovebirds” on beatport. they are so house-y and i swim easily in house music. always have. there is a much more popular version featuring stee downes, but i like this version, too. it’s a little more pared down.  when i am inside house music, i find drama, rhythm, melody, percussion, harmony, playfulness, and color- all of which really make my heart smile. here’s to making good decisions.  bon weekend 🙂

just say yes

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i have been working at a small health clinic which is connected to the large public hospital in my city since april 09. it had become really clear that i had outgrown my position. an opportunity had presented itself at the larger hospital campus and it fell into my lap. there was the problem of no funding for this opportunity. subsequently, i encountered a personality that became like a shotgun shell that shattered the veneer of my emotional safety. it has become a daily ritual for me to wrap myself up in protective armor because i have repeatedly  from time-to-time found myself the subject of unkind side jokes and not-so-subtle ridicule from a small set of individuals i like to call the “the heathers” that i share job duties with.

months ago i realized that i would not be able to remain sane (?) unless i moved forward. there was an attempt to lay down my armor, but i just felt as if i was met with a handshake and a hidden dagger and it solidified my resolve. what next i thought, but also felt that i had to trust that it would be better to be happy than be in fear.

just this small decision to make a change rather than sit in shit opened up a new world for me. almost immediately i located a different position on the main campus continuing to do the work i have passion to do. i interviewed for this position yesterday and was informed that it potentially is filled with possibility i had in no way expected. and the tone of the conversation was supportive and hopeful, which had me believing somehow that once again it was safe to be me.

this is a small story in my life, probably very vague, but there has been a very major “a ha” for me. the “pop” that is supposedly heard after the 5 year mark of sobriety has resonated in my life. it has taken me this long to get to square one of understanding just where my shortcomings begin. i am getting the beginnings of an unclouded view of how i operate in the world. it ain’t very pretty.

i have lived in fear for most of my life. i have been the subject of unkind chatter, both audible and whispered, and have developed a skin that is the thickness of ft knox. and i have accustomed myself to living like this. most likely, i defer to this emotional stance when i am not sure or feeling unstable. it is robotic. it is painful. it is not planned. but it is my nature.

so when i made a decision to try a different approach, to not bite off my arm to get out of the trap i was caught in, i feel i had made progress. i had grown. i felt free. a sense of freedom that invited the refreshing breeze of acceptance into my world.

round here

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Step out the front door like a ghost

Into the fog where no one notices

The contrast of white on white.

And in between the moon and you

Angels get a better view

Of the crumbling difference between wrong and right.

And I walk in the air between the rain, through myself and back again

Where? I don’t know

Well, Maria says she’s dying

Through the door I hear her crying

Why? I don’t know

have been very busy working 3 jobs these days. i work as a substance abuse counselor at a public health hospital here and work with persons with hiv. i also teach DUI classes 3x week and work with highly ambivalent people who may be seeing a substance issue in the light for the 1st time.  i also work with as a cater waiter with private chefs around town. of course the catering is the most lucrative position. it pays the best and the work is fairly steady for part time. i work with some extremely talented people, eat very well, and get to visits homes and neighborhoods that i normally wouldn’t see.

i actually love this diversity. i don’t think i could ever revert to being a server on a full time basis and retain my sanity. but i also think that working parties and small events affords me the luxury of letting go of some of the serious qualities of my day job. there are definitely people with problems and many of them cross my path. i love this job- or at least the possibilities it holds. my co-workers are mostly eccentric and that is very comfortable place for me to be. and the people i work with as a counselor continue to touch my heart.

i am still learning that “being there” sometimes needs to be enough. this continues to be a lesson that challenges my “fixer” sensibility. but i’m tryin’…

i  heard this song last night at a party and remembered how much i liked it….