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Friday, August 5, 2011

Talk Jar

Talk Jar by northwoodsluna
Talk Jar, a photo by northwoodsluna on Flickr.

Today is going to be an awesome day! It's a gorgeous morning, all that's on the work agenda is a psych consult meeting with the Delicious Dr. D. and my 2 colleagues with whom I am employed by a non-profit agency. Between the three of us we cover most of the northwest Minnesota area providing in-home family counseling. I will be home mid afternoon and will have time to play in my art journal after that.

Yesterday was a really good day filled with sunshine, warmth, and gorgeous blue skies. I did feel something was amiss not having done a journal page for the day, but my creative time and efforts were spent in other directions. I was just too tired at the end of a busy day to do any visual art. Well maybe that's not true.I was creative in a number of ways.

I began the day talking to Goddess, and a day wrapped in her glorious presences makes everything go so much more smoothly!

Yesterday morning I made a Talk Jar to use with one of the families I counsel. I made the simple game board last year and have used it with families in a number of ways, to teach communication skills, to teach conflict resolution skills, to teach interpersonal relationship skills, parenting skills and just for fun. So many troubled families forget how to PLAY and enjoy each other. The game pieces that the family move around the board are usually cute buttons, or coins. Players advance by choosing a random M&M from the bag and then answer a question before eating the M&M. (If the M&M color isn't on the board they answer a question and stay put. I found prompts for a Family Talk Jar @ I've made dozens of "Talk Jars" over the years, and putting this into game form gets the families engaged in the process. Some of the best family sessions include PLAY! We did not get to "the jar", but it was a good session, long and difficult, so much anger and hurt. The goal I have in mind is for this mother and her 14 year old son to be able to talk about things other than what they argue about constantly. Who doesn't love M&Ms??? :) It was a good way to use up some of my overwhelming stash of art and scrapbook papers, and took hours to put together, I have had success when I put color and play into the therapeutic context. I am grateful for a good session, and although we didn't use the jar this week, we will use it next week and so my prep for the next session is already done. I love the fact that I do the counseling in the homes of families. Even the most rigid of resistance has a chink when they are on home turf. I am fond of this family with whom I am working, "Mom" works as hard as I do in the sessions, so much pain, so much vulnerability, so wounded. I was exhausted and drained after the session (Nearly 3 hours long) that I had to sleep for a couple of hours after I got home late afternoon.

My second creative venture of the day was to make a Martha Stewart recipe for lasagne made with Italian sausage, Kale, lots of sweet onions, grape tomatoes, cottage cheese and a bit of garlic, no spices other than sea salt and pepper to use up some of the Kale that friends gave us earlier in the week. (I didn't have the ricotta the recipe called for but draining the cottage cheese, and adding a wee bit of shredded mozzarella worked well). I wondered if I would a dish with without spices, but it was amazing and while I'm not a Martha-Wannabe, I was thrilled that it was absolutely delicious and that it looked like the picture of HER dish. The other evening I made a stew of chickpeas, sweetpotato, kale, and a bouquet of fragrant tasty whole spices that we ate over couscous. I did not like kale before but am becoming fond of it in dishes. I have a bit of kale left that I will cook this weekend in a sweet potato, Kale and lentil ragout. I made it last autumn when someone gave us kale. Lentils and the sweet potato/yam are my best friends! I love them and never get tired of them. The lasagne took a lot of time and work but I found myself humming, dancing to music playing on one of my Pandora stations. It was a lovely investment of time and energy! I remember the days when I was a Stay At Home Mom on a shoestring budget, trying to stretch a dollar, use up what we have, make substitutions for more expensive ingredients, healthier ingredients in recipes, decorating the home by making something out of nothing, to make our home a warm, comfortable, place of nurture and growth. Some of the happiest days of my life! The most important job I've ever had. The children grow up and leave the nest, but the mother remains. I find that when I think in terms of my vocation as Intensive In-home Family Counselor that much of my "job" involves mothering. None of ever cease needing mothering and find it by mothering/nurturing ourselves. I am so privlilidged to have the job that I have, I learn so much from my clients/families, and I have the opportunity to help others find their wings. So many broken wings, so many... I am a humble healer in some respects, mentoring others. Salary? Mediocre. Company benefits? So-so? But the intrinsic rewards are priceless. I'm in the business of filling other's buckets, and teaching them how to fill thier own and others' buckets. That my friends, is priceless!

My bucket is full! Life is abundant! I have all I need and more!

Life is good!

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