Sunday Pause with Laura 11/6/22

Nov 7, 2022 | Blog, Newsletters

Hello friends,
I’m extending cozy, November greetings to you, even though falling back into daylight savings and earlier darkness is one of my least favorite days of the year.  Sad, but true. I like daylight!

For your geography/astronomy loving parts:
Spokane, Washington, (30 miles from the Idaho border and 100 miles south of Canada) lies at nearly 48 degrees latitude, as far north as the border between Quebec and New Brunswick—farther north than most of the contiguous US. You might be surprised to learn that Bangor, Maine, “only” lies at 44.8 degrees latitude. We receive just over 8 hours of daylight during winter solstice, but 16 hours during summer solstice—quite a contrast and adjustment, especially when outdoor activities all depend on daylight. ‘Tis the season to not leave home without a headlamp for a day long outdoor adventure! Don’t ask me why I know this. : ) The pressure to make the most of daylight hours is here for awhile now.

(Pics below: The maple tree we planted 17 years ago in its illuminated Fall glory after yesterday’s gravel ride and our newly carved owl family’s first snowfall—the view from my office window.)

To piggyback on last week’s mailing (which you can read here along with previous Sunday Pauses), October, my favorite month, was full enough to roll morsels into this month.

I celebrated my mid-October birthday packing and flying to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to give a 2 day IFS Introduction to a staff of 25 motivated clinicians! While I was disappointed not to get to celebrate with friends after so many birthdays restricted by injury and Covid, I couldn’t imagine a bigger gift than this opportunity: my first in-person solo teaching event post Covid. Squeal! And Wyoming at this time of year is pretty gorgeous!

My #7 wing Enneagram parts (fun-loving and playful) convinced me to make the best of my traveling birthday. “C’mon, Laura, have fun with this! Parts worried about being judged can relax; nobody knows you! Who cares? Birthdays give you a pass to wear silly things and enjoy a few extra laughs.”

IFS embraces the multiple facets present within each of us. Multiplicity is normal and quite frankly, makes life a lot more interesting! My birthday Tshirt reads: Since 1970, sunshine mixed with a little bit of hurricane. (Yes, it’s true. 🙂
Since I still need to wear a visor in airports to shield my brain from the blinding lights, my birthday cap reads,“Keep Calm; It’s my Birthday!” Not a bad reminder while spending the day flying. My accessories made a long day a little more celebratory, interactive and Delta gifted me with a first class beverage–how ’bout that?!

You know you’re in Jackson, WY, when you see one of its 10-12,000 pound elk antler arches and airport bear spray receptacles–just an hour from Yellowstone National Park.

What do your parts prefer on YOUR birthday? I hope they allow you to be celebrated and appreciated–even if you have to create that for yourself!

Autumn in the West holds its own unique beauty. We don’t have hillsides of red hardwood leaves like New England, but the yellow aspen, cottonwoods and larches pop in the sunshine. Here is downtown Jackson and the lakeside retreat site from behind our cabins. (And yes, the cold water beckoned and briefly refreshed after both days of teaching!)

Introducing IFS to mental health professionals is one of my greatest joys and privileges. IFS has been a lifeline for me professionally and personally since it unexpectedly chose me in 2008. I have numerous mighty IFS mentors and colleagues to thank, who continue to support, challenge, encourage and teach me. 

After my brain injury in 2010, I had finally worked my way back into the land of the living professionally. I was assisting at IFS trainings in CA and OR and taught 1 day IFS Introductions for a national company in the western US region. Then suddenly everything shut down and was cancelled due to Covid. I returned to my pre-pandemic shut-in existence that I knew all too well. It was an extremely depressing time, after having worked so hard to recover from my injury and get back to the work I feel called to do. 

What’s fascinating, however, is that the lockdown opened a door to a new format of teaching. Now my work is focused on international online consultation groups for IFS Professionals–something I never would’ve dreamed of prior to Covid. 

Needless to say I was thrilled to be invited for this in person work opportunity on the shores of Fremont Lake, outside Pinedale, Wyoming. 

Here I am after having set up the classroom before our first morning. What a gorgeous site for a workshop. The lake was just beyond those picture windows behind me. 

Returning to classroom humbly reminded me of the myriad of facets that comprise teaching: managing and choosing handouts, organizing slides, videos, experiential exercises, meditations, answering questions, didactic teaching, live demos with students, etc. Teachers have my utmost respect and after years of waiting to do this again, my appreciation for this craft was renewed!

I don’t take a single facet of having the capacity and opportunity to experience this for granted. I appreciate teaching more than I ever did before getting hurt and being limited by the pandemic.  

Here is our happy crew and my two wonderful colleagues responsible for inviting me! The staff was as excited to experience IFS as I was to share it–and in-person made this even more special.  After the days of teaching, many of us walked, hiked or ran or dipped in the cold lake (WY’s second largest freshwater lake) to replenish our parts!

On a run on my last evening, I’m pointing to the Wind River Range where Erik and I experienced one of our most demanding and exhilarating 8 day backpacking trips 2 years ago. This area holds a special place in my heart.

If you’re new in my world, I’ve been leaping after milestone events and healing victories for years now. It’s become kind of a tradition. I don’t know how long I will be able to jump, given my age as well as my robust case of Rheumatoid Arthritis. When people ask why I jump, I tell them, “Because I can.”

I was honestly so tired after the workshop finished I assumed I wouldn’t be leaping. But in my final visit to the lake to say goodbye and express my gratitude, I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t try.

When I’m alone, it’s a bit of a selfie countdown game to time this correctly. When the shutter actually captures me in air, I burst out laughing because the chances are pretty low that this will even work. But I’m persistent! The creative game makes me happy and holds onto my celebratory joy. This experience and location were worth jumping for! 

And the jump seems to pair well with Wyoming’s symbol of the bucking bronco which met me as I returned my rental car at the airport.

How do you celebrate milestones? What do your parts need to feel acknowledged and validated? 

Wearing my Never Ever Quit shirt flying home. I wore this the first time I flew to give an IFS Introduction at Camp Pendleton (north of San Diego) before Covid and knew it would be especially meaningful this time.

I hope you can keep pressing forward, gently and persistently towards your dreams, your hopes, your wishes–large or small. Stick with it. You got this!

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