December 22, 2023

A Recovering workaholic Does a Life Review.

Woke up in the wee hours this morning after climbing in bed at 8 p.m.

The yukkies captured me again after a few week reprieve. Back then, I had a bout of bronchitis. Congestion, conjunctivitis (aka pink eye), coughing, ear pain, and muffled hearing this time. I went to Urgent Care yesterday morning and was diagnosed with a viral infection that is going around. Mucinex, sinus spray, and Prednisone. Sleep, lots of sleep yesterday. Hot water, lemon and honey, lots and lots of it. Likely the same today.

I attribute some of it to a burning the candle at both ends schedule that involves a full-time job as a therapist in which I hold space for clients who are healing, recovering, processing, evolving, grieving, and letting go of the vicissitudes of life. As a natural empath, I need to be cautious not to take on the pain of others. Secondary trauma is a condition that effects those on the front lines of caring for folks. The emotional and physical toll is real.

My part time work is a journalist, PR and marketing professional, speaker and interfaith minister. In addition, I joyfully take care of my nearly four-year-old grandson Dean and 18-month-old granddaughter Lucy. These active, on the go kiddos keep me on my toes for 15 hours or so a week. Being young ones, they are also adorable vectors. I can’t possibly wash my hands enough to ward off the cooties that jump on board after wiping cute, little noses.

In between, I fit in gym workouts. It is a necessity following a heart attack in 2014, although I had been going 5-6 days a week even prior. The cardiac event actually took place on the way home from the gym on June 12th of that year. Since then, I have come to accept that I am a recovering workaholic. Because of that, I need to moderate my schedule and be aware of my stamina level. This former energizer bunny has needed to follow the sage advice of the tortoise, “Slow and steady wins the race.”

As much as I love holiday festivities, I have mostly been hunkering down at home. I turned down a few invitations to gatherings that looked festive and fun from the pictures on social media afterward, but they all fell on times of illness. Recent exceptions have been a tree lighting in town, last weekend was a Latke Party I hosted and a Hanukkah celebration at Temple Judea at which people of all faiths from the community came together to celebrate the light that this world so needs. Gotta be healthy for Christmas celebration with my family. I’ve been listening to Jingle Jams on XPN to get me in the holiday spirit. My mini tree is decorated with angels, feathers, hearts, and twinkle lights and above it hovers dreidels and stars. The menorah I inherited from my parents held candles for the eight nights of Hanukkah.

Life has changed dramatically for me since the pandemic began. Before that, I was on the go all the time, offering them here in the Philly area and also traveling down to the DC area to facilitate Cuddle Party workshops. For those who don’t know, it is a communication, boundary setting, safe, nurturing consensual touch workshop that adults attend in jammies. I started facilitating back in 2005 and have likely offered 400 of them over the years. Although I miss that wondrous workshop and the people who attended, I don’t know when I will do it again.

I was so external, busy, buzzy, high energy, interacting with as many people as possible. I wanted to be essential, exhibiting what I called “savior behavior,” trying to fix, save, heal, and cure people’s wounds. I was missing my own as a result.

I wanted to be on the “big stage” with my writing and speaking. I wanted to be in the spotlight, thinking that it would validate my existence. After years of writing for wonderful publications, writing a book and contributing to others, doing PR and marketing for other people’s projects, officiating at weddings and funerals as an interfaith minister, editing books and magazines, being an expert source for people’s articles, hosting a podcast, being a guest on numerous others, interviewing movers and shakers/transformational people, offering therapy and coaching for numerous clients over 40 years, facilitating workshops and trainings, I am more casual and intentional about it and not popcorning, frenetic in my outreach. If something seems like a good fit, I will respond.

When I stood on the TEDx stage last year, I realized that it was the culmination of years of prep work and seed planting. I don’t need to replicate it. I have applied for other stages, but they have not extended the welcome mat, which is really okay. It took many months of intense study, practice, and angsting over it once I was accepted in the first place. Maybe I don’t have anything else to prove.

I am finally getting it, after hearing from family and friends, that I am enough. I do enough. The world won’t stop spinning if I take a wee break.

Bottom line…I feel tired. I feel wiped. Maybe that is what my body is trying to tell me. More attracting, less pursuing. I welcome opportunities to do what I love, as long as it adds to my life and doesn’t detract from it.

For now, I rest.


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