This post is a departure from my recent attempts to be uplifting and entertaining. A month and a half into being sequestered, there are still sweet stories to be found everywhere, but we are learning hard lessons too.
At least, I am. Some lessons are mind-blowing, and some are embarrassingly simple!
I have been semi-retired since last summer, so I was already reviewing my life’s work before the virus hit, trapping me in this endless solitude. But being faced with mortality daily, in such an urgent and graphic way, I find myself in hyper-drive examining my 40-plus years of professional life.
I started my practice as a Psychotherapist through both a very direct and also an unusual route! Direct because I was “called” to do this work at Church Camp in the 4th grade and have never once veered off that course.
But things also evolved in a round-a-bout way, starting my practice in the back of my Conversion Van, in the parking lot of where I was still waitressing, while finishing school. (A long, fun story for another day…)
During these last 45 days of isolation, quarantine, sheltering at home, etc., I have had many hours to contemplate the most important learnings of my life so far.
Here is what has risen to the top of an endless list.
I have four concepts, tenets, or theories that are the core of my therapeutic and life philosophies. I try, by the way, to have those be the same thing…practicing what I preach, etc. I know where some of these originated, but they have been with me so long now, I have no idea how much I have changed them in the process of making them my own.
And some I thought up by myself…
It seems like a perfect time to write about (and share) these four models. I really want folks to read these, and comment, so I am putting them in four separate posts.
I do hope you will indulge me in this summary of my life’s work. And as always, I would love your comments and/or questions.
In this first post, I want to address the concept most obvious to me during these Covid 19 days….Scarcity.
I had a wonderful Teacher/Mentor/Adopted Mom for 30 plus years. Elaine Childs Gowell was an amazing woman, way ahead of her time. An ARNP, and public health nurse, with a PhD in Anthropology. She grew up travelling with her family on various religious missions in Africa. She lived in New Orleans, practicing as a Public Health nurse, and working for Civil Rights. Then she moved to Seattle where she became a well-loved professor in the Nursing School at the University of Washington, while she started a private practice in Psychotherapy. She also studied Shamanism all over the world, and eventually became one herself…a very loudly outspoken spiritual leader respected by thousands.
Her most steadfast belief was that absolutely every issue, personally and globally, was caused by Scarcity…. literal or imagined.
Nothing, not one thing, can bring up people’s emotions and unfinished personal-growth issues faster than the belief that there is not enough of something!
Elaine moved on to her longed for “light” almost 13 years ago now, but she may as well be alive because I can hear her unapologetic proclamations daily, and loudly, during this pandemic. Pointing out to all the blatant proof that her theory was correct.
When all the factories and businesses shut down and those skies started clearing over Wuhan, I could just hear Elaine’s irreverent “Duh”.
She could tell you in a minute, what your personal/psychological scarcity issues were-whether perceived or literal…not enough time, not enough structure, or stimulation, or recognition or love!
At one point, back in the 1990’s, we even created an amazing 5-day therapeutic retreat called Experiencing Enough. It was designed to provide, for all who participated, the experiential, literal and symbolic healing effect of truly having enough. Plenty of time and attention and food and staff (and support for the staff) and sleep and fresh air and exercise and above all, love!! It went on twice a year for a long time. So healing for so many.
And Elaine could trace every single world problem back to a belief, imagined or true, about something of which there was not enough. Power, money, and natural resources all at the top of the list. (There are certainly some world leaders that could have benefited from attending Experiencing Enough!!)
Long before Oprah started talking about our life’s repeated lessons, Elaine was preaching about how our scarcity issues were going to bring us down as a species if we didn’t learn the lessons…and fast….lessons that first tapped us on the shoulder, and eventually smacking us upside the head with a two by four.
At the beginning of this pandemic, I decided I needed to have a “talk” with her.
She was pissed! After she got finished with her “I told you so” tirade, she quietly said, “I guess we’re finding out what comes after that two by four upside the head…”
Elaine was a Master of the Big Picture. She could see it all, the whole layout of the universe. And she knew there was enough…of everything…and for everyone! Even in her passing (she had a stroke), she hung around in her coma for way longer than her Doctors predicted possible, even “surfacing” repeatedly to connect with the current visitor to her home bedside….but the rest of us were not at all surprised. We knew why.
She was making sure all the people, who were coming from all over to pay their respects, to say their good-byes, had more than enough time….
I think my specialty is the Little Pieces, I can see minute details others miss, so I have always chosen to focus my energy, for myself and for those I work for, on the small blessings, the individual stories, and the next steps to be taken each and every day.
My goal? To learn, and live, and to show that Elaine was right. It’s always about Scarcity.
There may not be enough toilet paper or gloves or masks, but there is certainly enough beauty!!!
Thank you for reading…..and forgive me for not knowing how to do a “screen shot”. 😊
12 thoughts on “Day 47 of being “Grounded”- 4/21/2020 Lessons Solidified Part One-Scarcity”
She sounds a lot like my mother — also ahead of her time. I don’t think she’d be surprised by anything that is happening. She more or less predicted it years ago. I thought she was cynical, but it turned out, she was both cynical and RIGHT. This was a very interesting story. I was never as focused as you. I just knew I had to write. These days I am more focused on hoping to do a bit of good for the people with whom I interact.
I know I can’t do a lot, but this is what I can do. I’ll keep doing it as long as I can!
Well as one of your fans (and beneficiaries) i hope its a really long time!
Thanks so much for the comment!
Beautiful…filled with life lessons and a connection that changed your life. Thanks for sharing <3
Thank you Lisa. I learn so much from YOU too.
So true about perceived scarcity. One thing I’ve noticed during this time of staying home is how well and easily we manage…and how little I feel like I am missing.
FYI, if you use a Windows 10 operating system a screen shot can be taken by using the “prt scr” button. To get one of just one window, select the window and use alt prt-scr. If you use Apple I have not idea. Once you take the shot it is in the buffer and you can paste it where you want it.
Thanks. I’d never even noticed that PrtSc button before!!! I’m going to try it.
And thanks for your comment about scarcity. I agree…and I hope you’ll read the next installment and let me know what you think of it also.
Fascinating post. Scarcity. It does make perfect sense. But when does anyone perceive that they actually have “enough” of whatever they think they need? I am impressed you knew what you wanted to do in the 4th grade. Wow!
You know, finding that state of believing there is enough certainly can be elusive but once attained, well, there’s no more peaceful feeling. I guess I started learning how to access it when all the “gratitude exercises” became popular a few years ago. Now, these specific days, if I’m afraid we’re about to run out of toilet paper, I just switch to being grateful for something more important…like there is more than enough beauty outside, and toilet paper takes a back seat!!
Love your thoughtful comments.
The next step…attitude mixed with perspective leads to peace. Hmmm…your blog title. 🙂
Yes! Great way to say it. (I tend to run overly wordy!! 😋) Thanks!
I’ve known you a long time and met Elaine a few times but never put together that her work was based on scarcity. I had heard the term in our circle but not the tenacity in which her belief was held. Makes Perfect sense to me now. Thank you for sharing your perspective. I look forward to reading more.
Wonderful to hear from you! Thanks for what you said. It feels like such an honor to pass on her teachings and then actually have someone GET it! Yay! Thanks so much!
She was quite a character, wasn’t she!