Archive for July, 2010

What do Your Dreams Say to You?

July 20, 2010

ON BECOMING YOUR OWN AUTHORITY

The other night I dreamt that I was walking down some stairs and a tall, elegant black woman was walking up the stairs.  She looked at me and asked me, “What do you do?”  I answered, “I’m a psychotherapist.”  She responded, “Oh, then you are your own authority.”

When I awoke, I thought, “What does it mean to be my own authority?”.

As with many questions, it is often easier to say what that does not mean.  First of all, it does not mean being an expert.  Although I have expertise, special skills and knowledge, in a number of treatment  areas, I am not an expert.  I always have more to learn, and, truth be told, I love doing so.  Secondly, it does not mean controlling everyone and everything else around me.  Much as I might like to, I cannot control what anyone else says, thinks, feels or does.  I can only control myself.  I’m sure that there are many more examples of what it doesn’t mean to be my own authority, and I’d rather look at the positive aspects.

There is a great deal of freedom in becoming my own authority, and it does take work to get there.  What do I have to do in order to become my own authority?  I must learn to “know” myself.  I don’t only mean “know”  in terms of what I like and don’t like.  I knew for a long time that there were parts of me that I liked and parts that I didn’t like;  I knew what foods I liked and those that I didn’t like;  I knew the kinds of clothes that I liked and those that I didn’t like.  On a very superficial level, these were things that I knew about myself.  It wasn’t until I started training to become a counselor, which included being in therapy, that I really got to know myself;  how I made myself happy and/or unhappy;  how unaware I was that I was angry and/or fearful.  It was only as I began dealing with my own issues that I began to be a “whole” person and able to  relate to others more fully.  The more I began to know myself and my feelings, the more options I had on how to react.

It was only in this way that I could become my own authority.  I still feel many things that I don’t necessarily like to feel, and I can deal with them.  I have no need to control others, and there is a great deal of freedom in that.

I would love to discuss any of this with you.  Please feel free to call me and thanks for reading this far.

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Have You Had to Say “Good-Bye” to Your Pet?

July 15, 2010

If you have looked at my web site, you have met my co-therapist, Dafka.  If you haven’t met him, I invite you to check out my web site, therapywithzora.

Dafka is big and black.  He is English bull terrier, lab and pit mix, and he is almost four years old.  I love my dog dearly.  He makes me laugh, and I do get very angry with him.  It took me a long time to get him.

Before I got Dafka, long before I got Dafka,  I had a cat, the first cat I had ever owned.  He was a beautiful gray Siamese Lilac Point, and I loved him dearly.  His name was Khamudi which means “My Sweet” in Hebrew.  Cats are supposed to live a long time, right?  I expected to have Khamudi with me for at least twelve or fifteen years.  This, however, was not to be.  At age four or so, Khamudi got sick, very sick.  I won’t explain to you what was wrong with him.  Suffice it to say that I did everything I could to save him.  I feel very badly at what I did with him trying to save him, and I would never do that again.

I know, now, that what I was doing when I subjected him to all those indignities, when I humiliated and tormented Khamudi by all of the treatments I put him through;  I was trying to postpone my feelings of grief and loss over not having my beautiful cat in my life.  We do grieve our animals and this is normal and natural.  We have tended them, and nursed them, and caressed them.  They, in turn, have tended us, nursed us, and caressed us.  They have made us laugh, and maybe made us cry.  They have also made us angry.  No matter what our other feelings are, we love our pets, and it is wrenching to say good-bye to them.

There are certain feelings which we go through when we are grieving the loss of a loved one, including our pets.  They are:

*Denial

*Anger

*Bargaining

*Depression

*Acceptance

We do not go through these feelings in a straight line, from one to the other.  We jump around and may certainly feel more than one at the same time.  There is also no “acceptable” time for going through these feelings.  People may say, “Get over it already”.  Please do not believe them.  It will take you as long as it takes you to grieve the beautiful animal that was a part of your life.

If you would like to talk about your feelings, about the loss of your pet, or any other losses, please feel free to get in touch with me.  Just know that whatever it is you’re feeling is normal and natural;  and it is important for you to go at your own pace.