Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I might be eating pizza

But I can.  Today I went to Bikram Yoga and worked my ass off for 90 minutes.  Blood, sweat, tears and contorting my body into positions I never knew possible, certainly deserves a celebratory pizza.

Also;  I’ve lost 15 pounds since August 10, 2010.  At one point the pounds lost was actually 19.  No matter the number, the most important and wonderful thing is, that I fit my body into a size 8 dress for White House/Black Market!


The combination of Bikram yoga, running, weights, and Weight Watchers has really helped me to build self confidence and a positive body image.

And just an fyi, the pizza is thin crust and frozen, so I am completely in control of how many calories I am taking in.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Graduation then and now


Undergrad graduation August 2006


Grad school graduation November 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jojo and the Pilot make plans for the future

No.  I am NOT engaged.  I am certainly NOT married. 

But after two years of dating (remember this Friday night or our first summer together?) the Pilot and I moved in together!!

I have claimed to hate the 4th of July, but that sentiment is gradually changing.  This year especially, because that was the weekend I moved into my boyfriend's apartment permanently. 

He said it best, we were celebrating my independence that weekend.  I had my masters degree.  I had my adult, real world job.  I was living with my boyfriend (independent from the help of my parents).  Mostly it was exciting to celebrate the progression of our relationship and the healthy approach we have taken with every step of the relationship.

It wasn't all rainbows and butterflies that weekend.  In fact, it was quite overwhelming with many tears.  But now I can look back on it with a smile and say all my worries were for nothing because I've never been happier.

Even though I'm learning it takes a lot of hard work, motivation and discipline to run a household, stay on top of the laundry, get the dishes washed and occasionally cook.

I'm working on it though.  Because these plans with the Pilot have afforded me the opportunity to live my life the way I always wanted too.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Will I have a career or am I doomed to forever be a student?

So where was I?  Oh yes!  Making a plan of attack for May.  This plan looked something like this:
  1. Talk to seminar Professor
  2. E-mail psychoanalytic mentor
  3. Meet with Comps grader
  4. Read Nancy McWilliams
  5. Read more Nancy McWilliams
  6. Read a third Nancy McWilliams book
  7. Organize all class notes that could be of possible interest while taking the exam
Implementing this plan took me from March until the day I picked up the exam in May.  I had two weeks to write my exam, which was picked up on a Monday.  By Friday of the first week I had six pages of nonsense written (I still thank my ENC1101 teacher and Anne Lamott for this writing approach).  I woke up on the first Saturday morning, looked at the Pilot and said, "I'm redoing it.  I'm squeezing the client into the theory, instead of the using the theory to describe the client."

I re-wrote that part and completed subsequent parts all by the close of the first week.  This meant I had a whole week to edit, add and refine my work.  I passed the first draft off to my mom and the Pilot who both edited it and asked many questions to help me clarify my writing.  I woke up at some other point that week and decided to rework one more aspect of the paper and then was completely confident in what I had written and only needed to edit and pay attention to page limits.  I finished it at 7:30 pm the night before it was due, printed it the following morning and turned it in, among much panic.  Remember, if I didn't pass the test this time around I would not be graduating on my projected graduation date.

Additional pressure about graduating on time was coming from other places; my practicum site.  Back in March (the same week I found out I hadn't passed the exam the first time) I was interviewing potential interns for next year.  After all the interviews had been conducted, my supervisors took me out for a dinner meeting to discuss my thoughts, their thoughts and hopefully land on a decision.  We all agreed within the first 5 minutes of the meeting who we would like to offer the position too (although she ended up declining, having taken a position elsewhere); which left a lot of time to chat about other stuff.  My supervisors had a hidden agenda all along; THEY OFFERED ME A JOB!!!  So passing the test in May, not only meant that I would graduate on time, it also meant that I would employed upon graduation.

On June 18, 2010 I returned to school to pick up my exam results.  The Pilot was unable to accompany me there this time, but requested I call him as soon as I got the envelope so he could be on the phone with me when I opened it.  I called (3 times before he answered), opened the exam, and read aloud, "Congratulations, you have passed!"  I was jumping up and down in a dark, abandoned classroom as I continued to read further comments that included this gem; "You met or exceeded our expectations on every critical domain."  I hung up with the Pilot, called my parents and then my supervisor.

Ten days later, I had finished my required 750 hours of intern work and walked into the Lighthouse as an employee!  My graduation ceremony is in November, but I am officially practicing therapy with an MACL!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Running as a metaphor for my academic career

Remember the stress that occurred six weeks prior to my birthday?  The first two weeks of January I was writing a paper (a comprehensive exam to be more exact) that would make or break my academic career- pass the exam and graduate or fail and have to take it again in May. Failing the exam was an unbearable, crippling thought- what if, then in May, I did not pass?  Then I really wouldn't graduate "on time" (because the next, and last opportunity, to take the exam would be in January, long after my set graduation date of November).

Well, proving the theory that "what we focus on grows," I did not pass my January exam.  The test was broken up into three parts and I only passed one.  This meant I would have to retake the remaining two sections in May.  Devastation set in.  Regrets came pouring out in the form of tears.  The Pilot silently and patiently drove the car home, so I could quiver in disappointment and wallow in self pity for the remainder of the day.  I did just that, crawling into bed shortly after I received the news and slept.

The next morning I woke up, still reeling, but forced to move on, duty calls.  I went for a run.  A horribly slow, incredibly painful 3 mile run.  I pushed through the physical pain, crying for most of the run, from the combination of physical discomfort and emotional disappointment. 

However, I finished the run, without stopping or taking walking breaks.  And a powerful thought came over me upon completion of the run; "The run was difficult, but I finished!  And I am a better, stronger, and healthier person for having done it." 

The same can be said for my academic career- it has been a difficult, challenging road (with MANY unexpected twist and turns) to obtain my Masters degree, but overcoming those obstacles will make me a better, strong, healthier person and certainly a better therapist.  Armed with this metaphor I made an action plan and moved on towards May..

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sneak Peek

I've been composing blogs in my head for months.  I just never seem to have the time or drive to actually type and publish them.  Here is a short list of what will (hopefully) being appearing on Mastering Mind Body & Spirit soon.
  • Running as a metaphor for my academic career
  • "The 4 of us" (my thoughts on female friendships in groups of 4)
  • My temporary vacation from eating red meat
  • My psychoanalytic reading list
  • Jojo and the Pilot make plans for the future
  • Will I have a career or am I doomed to forever be a student?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Interviewee becomes interviewer

Exactly one year (to the day), after my interview at work, I was handed a stack of new intern applications to familarize myself with because 2nd round interviews will be conducted by me!

It is bittersweet.  And throws into harsh reality for me what the next couple of months will be bringing my way.  I have to complete practicum, apply for and take the liscensing exam and find a job.  Hopefully, all this can be accomplished by September 1 (at the latest)!

I am sad to leave practicum because I have wonderful supervision, guidance, and support there.  But, I am excited to actually get paid for all this hard and mentally exhausting work I am doing.  No more babysitting.  Stable salary.  Set schedule.  Basically, I want to start my adult life.

I cannot think of a better way to become an adult, then conduct interviews for your replacement.  What questions should I ask?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Amazing Grace

Gone...but not forgotten.  My grandfather passed away 1 year ago today.  Today, I do not want to recount the joys of his life or the pain of his loss, I just want to find strength in the song played at his funeral, Amazing Grace.

Amazing Grace Lyrics

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.


T'was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed.


Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.


The Lord has promised good to me...
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be...
as long as life endures.


Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
a life of joy and peace.


When we've been here ten thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
then when we've first begun.


"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,    
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentines Day Recap


My dozen lavender roses from Robbins Flowers!! 

The pilot baked and decorated a Valentines cake.  It tasted delicious!  How sweet and cheesy is he?! 


My new dress and necklace paid for by Christmas and birthday gift cards to Target.

My big smile at the end of the night!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I woke up yesterday and just felt off!  I never really found the right words to describe the feeling to anyone, but some of the attempted descriptions included, "gross," "in a funk," "off balance," and "living in the twilight zone."

I think my body was angry yesterday when it woke up after a horrible night's sleep, although I managed to sleep through the rare Illinois earthquake.  The previous night had included bad for you dinner choices and 3 glasses of cheap red wine while dining at Ziadi with a friend.  My body was fed up with mistreatment, after my birthday, the Super Bowl and the Ziadi trip I had consumed too many non-nutritious calories and way to much alcohol.  Not to mention finding convenient reasons to not make it to the gym.  Hence, the "gross" feeling.

I got to work and thought I would have an hour to re-group before my first client came in.  I had big plans for that hour; eat lunch, journal and meditate.  I wanted to get myself out of whatever mood it was that I was in, because I knew I would not be an effective therapist.  Then an opportunity to an observe a client I was really wanting to interact with appeared and I could not turn it down.  The session was great, but my countertransference was OUT OF CONTROL and afterward, I was faced with no time to process the whole thing before going into session with my own client who has been particularly difficult to work with recently.  By the start of my third hour at work, I was sitting in my supervisor's office crying for reasons, I still could not find the words to explain.

My next client, also a difficult one canceled and I was finally allowed sometime to try to get my act together when 2 disturbing facebook status updates caught my attention, causing frantic text messages to GR and a google news search that yielded this result: 2 Priniciples Shot by Teacher in Knoxville!!!  GR's mom works at that school.  She is fine.  But that's when the, "I'm living in the Twilight Zone" comments first slipped from my lips.  It was a strange day.

My next 2 sessions were fine and I thought I was getting back into the swing of things, until my last client did not show up for session and my stomach started to hurt, prompting another skipped gym session.  By the time I made it home, I was exhausted.  I had to pack for the weekend at the Pilot's house, which just seemed to laborious at the time, I considered coming home after school today and then driving out to his place instead of heading straight there, just so I wouldn't have to pack anytime soon.

The Pilot was having a really good day and I felt horrible about having to tell him about mine.  I would NOT have, if he hadn't asked directly, "How are you?"  Even then I just explained it away as having a rough day and started crying because I still couldn't describe it.

I woke up this morning and packed for the weekend, because I NEED time with the Pilot tonight.  However, I think today is a good day to take a personal day.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Heart Healthy

Friday February 5 was wear National Wear Red Day to support Heart Disease Awareness in Women.  I sported red...did you?!

Sunday February 7 was the 2 year anniversary of my father undergoing open-heart surgery!!

For the past couple of years, February has been a rough month for me, despite starting with my birthday!  This year and years to come will be different because February is American Heart month.  I want to figure out a way to make Heart health a priority in my life, the lives of my loved ones and society at large.  I guess I'll start by donating!!

American Heart Association
Cardiovascular Health Test from my local hospital

Over the last few years this issue has become incredibly important to me and it is something I am becoming increasing passionate about.  I have some other ideas cooking, but what can you think of to help spread awareness?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Birthday blues and blooming

The 6 weeks leading up to my birthday were, in a word, stressful.  They included the holidays, a vacation, and 2 very serious, very time consuming papers.

Basically, everything fell apart around these 2 papers.  Vacation could have been more enjoyable if I didn't have to worry about the paper.  And the paper could have been better if I didn't have to focus on vacation.  One of these papers, my comprehensive exam, WILL make or break my graduation and I could only focus on not passing.  Because I was so consumed with that paper I began to slack (or be less enthusiastic) about work, which then pushed me into a belief that I was bad at my job.  Bringing us back, in a vicious cycle of thinking, to the paper.  Thinking the paper must be bad because I am bad at my job, and therefore could not possibly write a psychological theory and application paper.

Things got worse.  My 26th birthday was looming LARGE and I did not want it to come.  I did not want to acknowledge it.  I felt that 26 was a tremendous leap from 25 and I was not ready to be old.  Further, I felt unaccomplished and I did not want to be an unaccomplished 26 year old.  I was not meeting my own prior set expectations; I'm not married, I don't have my advanced to degree, I babysit for a living.  Let it pass silently was my prerogative until the Pilot got sick of it all, "Just have some friends over."  To which I responded, "I can't afford to go anywhere or do anything, no one from the city is going to want to come out and everyone is probably busy."  Upon reflection it occured to me that I was so concerned about the fact that I would feel rejected if no one could come, I was making up excuses to not even bother asking.

By Tuesday of the week before my birthday I was so down on myself I told the Pilot and my supervisor that I did not feel as though I was succeeding in any on area of my life.  I felt like everything was insurmountable.  I was in a hole so deep I couldn't see the light.

I'm not sure how it happened, but on Thursday a perceptable shift occured!  I moved from "woe is me" to relaxing for the weekend and meeting my birthday head on. 

My relaxing birthday weekend ended up as such:

Thursday-  I turned in the last of those two terrifying papers and vowed to not talk about, think about, or write about any subjects relating to psychology, school, or practicum.  I also received incredibly positive feedback from my supervisor on my "turning a corner" and really becoming a therapist.  He mentioned having confidence in me and that patients were having positive reactions to me and my work as well.

Friday-  I babysat in the morning, napped in the afternoon, went to the gym for far too long and hung out with the Pilot.  I embraced not having a babysitting job for that Friday evening, by not stressing about the money and looking at the time as a precious gift. 

Saturday-  Friday's precious gift of time turned into a 500 calorie-loss at the gym which then turned itself into it's own little Saturday morning birthday present.  My lowest weight in over 4 years!  163.7!!!  I whooped and hollered, made the Pilot come and look so that I knew I wasn't delirious.  I wasn't delirious and promptly suited up to head to the gym again. 

Also, got all the supplies ready for the party I did decided to throw myself.  I tested the waters early in the week, seeing who would be available on Saturday night to hang out and those most important to me were all available or made every effort to make themselves available.  I ended up in my parents newly re-converted living room and dining room with 5 friends, my brother, his girlfriend, the Pilot and my parents occasionally peeking their heads in to say hello and chat.  It was the definition of quality over quantity and I would not change a thing about that evening.  The Pilot opened up to my friends and in return experienced how truly great the people are that I have chosen to surround myself with.  They even complemented my cooking, which I can't take all the credit for.  The Buffalo Chicken Dip and Pigs in a Blanket are from the Hungry Girl genius.

Sunday-  My true day of relaxation.  We skipped church (sinners!) and I took my time getting ready for the gym, took my time at the gym.  I made no rush of anything that day.  Took my time and loved it.  Spent the night with the Pilot, celebrating by him cooking me dinner.  Nachos, at request. 

Monday- My birthday!  I babysat in the morning, happily, I might add.  I need the money.  Then indulged in a massage, my birthday present from the Pilot.  Drove to my parents house for another celebration that included, lemon chicken, again by my request, birthday cake, lots of wine and beer and home videos.

Tuesday- Came too soon after Monday night's late night festivities but I was ready to face the week.  Not to mention, receiving one last present, an Emotion Focused Body Therapy session with a friend who induced an emotional clearing for my new year of life.

It was the perfect birthday weekend!  I went into my Tuesday sessions with a re-newed sense of self, a confidence I was unfamiliar with, but loved and embraced and a new sense of calm and self-awareness.