Thursday, July 15, 2010

All About Me

I had an interesting (yet exhausting) day.

We had group consultation and self care, which is where all the interns get together and work in a specific process to work through difficult cases, interactions, role play, or just get to share something. I got angry at something someone said. I noted that I had a strong reaction and shared it (not a join, a difference, says the process), and let the rest of the interaction play out. I had to leave the room at the end. I was in tears, and couldn't bring myself to move to the next part of the group.

I spent some time in the chapel crying, and then called my husband, and questioned my whole calling, then I went to lunch, had an interesting phone call (more on that later), and then met with my supervisor after I visited my floors.

He said, quite astutely , "Do you feel like you're doing CPE?" 

Um, yep, I feel it.

He said, "Good, because you are really doing it."

I am discovering so many gender complications coming up this summer, working in a group of 5 men and 2 women. Finding a way to be angry and not feel guilty (or like a bitch) is hard as a woman (and for me specifically). I didn't have good role models for anger. However, my supervisor affirmed that I handled it appropriately, but allowed my own discomfort to "boomerang" and called it - I spent my afternoon feeling depressed and exhausted. My, he's a smart human being!

I did indeed spend my afternoon feeling depressed and exhausted, and he encouraged me to leave a little early and to do something nice for myself - to avoid even further boomerang activity feeling guilty and down about letting myself be depressed and exhausted all afternoon. Really, he is a smart guy.

I did handle my anger appropriately. We are encouraged to get out of our "person" system - or in lay terms, to not get caught up in our own emotions only when in an interaction - and to be in an "observer system" where we can have some transparency between what we're thinking and what we're feeling, and can both observe, note, and interact with awareness about how our own past experience is informing the current interaction. Fascinating, exhausting, and vital for ministry.

I'm pretty good at it, actually, but that doesn't make it easy all the time. As a matter of fact, it has a way of making me question my own authenticity, when I am feeling one way and noting it, and yet able to stay in a pastoral role (which is authentic, but it just feels weird afterwards).

In any event I realized that when I do the loving-kindness part of my meditation each day, I have never once started out with L-K for myself (?)! I find it difficult to do it even now that I'm aware of it. I have a decent self-image, yet I have a hard time even figuring out how I feel about this. I find it quite bizarre actually. And uncomfortable to send my own self L-K. But I have to. I see that.

So lots of good growth and such, but yeah, I'm exhausted.

My phone call that I mentioned earlier was good .It was unexpected - someone checking in with me to close a loop that made them uncomfortable. There was an attempt by that person to triangulate, which I was able to deflect, and it was all really positive. And I realize that it's all about me.

That person I got angry at? Not what they said, or how they said it. It was my past experience that created an authentic reaction to it. My ability to honor someone reaching out to me and also deflect some negative behaviors is about me too.

I'm growing, becoming, and well....seeking. Yes, I'm doing CPE.


ms. kitty said...

I'm re-experiencing my own CPE days through you, Kelly. So much of what you are going through, I went through too. CPE changed me in very important ways. Carry on----you're doing well.

Kelly KH said...

Thanks Kitty - I appreciate the affirmation! I do feel about 10x the minister I did 6 weeks ago :)

Qira said...

this post was ... I am very nearly at a loss for words. Beautiful. Poignant. Intimate. And oh yes, anxiety-provoking.