Monday, November 17, 2014

Learning to feel...Again

November has been a crazy, busy month. Again. In looking back, I discovered that I only posted once in November last year and the year before. Apparently, my life in November tends to distract me from writing. Anyways...

I'm back and reflecting on what has been happening since I last blogged, in October. Some of the noteworthy events:

  • I attended a seminar on Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy and The Allender Center's Intimate Mystery marriage conference. 
  • I baked three batches of delicious pumpkin bars using real pumpkin from Ben's farm
  • Ben and I bought my granddad's 2005 Toyota Prius after he passed away (Bittersweet because of his passing and the fact that I will stop driving the Saturn wagon that I bought from him and my grandmems after she stopped driving in 2003. I have driven that beloved car for 11 1/2 years and 160,000 miles.)
  • Ben and I discovered the perfect cigar chair for my office while wandering the stores of Lake Geneva, WI after our marriage conference.
  • We hosted an amazing group of people connected with the Rock River House of Prayer at our house for a fun Sunday afternoon.

The seminar and marriage conference have probably affected me most. The seminar focused on attachment, which I love and find so powerful in our human relational experience, and how couples in conflict struggle in their feelings of secure attachment to each other. My goal and challenge as a therapist is to help couples and families to move through their anger to more primary feelings of hurt, fear and loss, and to be able to communicate those feelings in a clear and calm way, rather than in their usual negative cycle, so that they can connect more securely and begin to handle conflict differently.

Dan Allender's marriage conference was intense and amazing. His challenge to commit to a no-contempt marriage and to being your authentic self with your spouse resonated deeply within me. He also talked about attachment and connecting in marriage in the way that God wants to connect with us, His people. Dan presents marriage as a noble quest that gives you tastes of Heaven and Hell along the way to growing in intimacy with God and your spouse.

Professionally, I feel awed and inspired once more to engage with my clients in a way that helps them to let God heal their attachment problems and to find enjoyment in their relationships and lives. I'm asking God questions again about who He has made me to be and what He has gifted me to do.

Personally, I am discovering that I have lots of deep and strong feelings that I usually avoid when I am emotionally connected with Ben. I feel a mixture of shame and fear towards these feelings within me. I am afraid that my feelings are excessive and that Ben or others will judge me for having them. I then shame myself for having these "wrong" feelings and try to stop them so that I can be OK again. When God, Ben and other loving people extend me grace and love instead of rejection and disapproval, I have a hard time receiving it because I am so sure that I don't deserve it.

God is teaching me how to feel again and how to stay connected with my feelings in the context of relationship. He is helping me to respond well when I am gripped by disappointment, hurt or anger. God is showing me that I can express these feelings without being ruled by them and that allowing love to come into my heart is soothing in these moments. He is giving me courage to break down and cry with Ben, instead of by myself in the car. I feel a bit wild with emotions in this season, but I am excited to be fully alive and capable of experiencing the entire range of human emotions.

Still Counting Gifts:

  • #1041: A fun afternoon with my nephew Kingston on Saturday
  • #1042: Peet's coffee
  • #1043: A weekend away in Lake Geneva, WI and sleeping in a king-size bed
  • #1044: Dinner with friends and real-heart conversations
  • #1045: Having a hopeful heart and experiencing God's comfort in disappointment
  • #1046: Getting to drive my mom to the airport when she was flying to say good-bye to her dad
  • #1047: Being back at Trinity for the first time since I graduated in 2006
  • #1048: Our Prius :)
  • #1049: How God loved and connected with me when I was struggling
  • #1050: How Ben loves me extravagantly (On Friday, he dropped off the Prius for me to drive home once it was insured and the plates were on. He then drove to Lake Geneva to purchase the chair for my office and moved it in once I finished work. Finally, he went home and cooked a delicious dinner. My husband is incredible!)
  • #1051: We are flying to North Dakota this weekend to visit Ben's sweet family and celebrate Thanksgiving!
  • #1052: Getting my sister to pick out outfits for me so that packing is easier
  • #1053: Homemade pizza