It’s strange to me to think that it was just about a year ago that I accepted a position in the Caribbean. I’ve now been back in New York about as long as I was away. The life I led before, waking up daily to go to a hospital to do music therapy sessions with children and their families, feels foreign to me. I shattered that existence when I decided to quit my job to try something that was both figuratively and literally foreign to me. I shook my world up, then returned to New York to start anew. That said, I don’t think I’ve found my new normal.
At some point after my return, I realized that the things that had always grounded me before had shifted. I don’t have a regular job. My relationships have shifted. The identity I had created for myself no longer was. Thinking about this helped me find compassion for myself and the topsy-turvy world I felt myself navigating. And I realized that I would need to shift my focus, instead of looking for grounding to come from my surroundings, I would need to start looking inward, to find grounding from within myself.
I’m guessing that seems obvious to many people. I, however, have always felt myself susceptible to the people and things that surround me. I pick up others’ emotions easily. While that’s a helpful tool as a therapist, it can also lead to feeling a loss of self, which takes some practice to find again.
And listening to myself feels like the most important lesson I want to get out of this adventure. As I resist applying for jobs in institutions, I hear my being telling me that I want to be creative, following my own path. As I think about the regularity of going to one place, day in and day out, I find myself fantasizing about continuing to travel. In my days at the hospital, I felt the days mold together, one into another. Now, as I lead music classes, do yoga, spend time with family, my time feels richer, fuller, more fulfilling.
So I look to myself, listening intently. In a recent yoga class, the teacher reminded us that 85% of the practice is simply showing up. So I continue to ask myself to show up. Be present. Try to trust not only the journey, but to trust myself. I look forward to seeing where it takes me.