Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ruby Slippers

It's been a while, mostly because I've been trying to figure out how to put the experiences of the past few weeks into words, and also because 8th week is hellishly exhausting.
There's a light at the end of the tunnel.

In essence, the best way to describe my emotion right now is humbled, a little confused, tired, and very very determined.

8th week is when you're most tired, but you can also see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's when everyone starts to break, when tempers go, when people get sick of dealing with each other, and when we all start to snap. But, remember, from those breakdowns come rebirth, rebuilding, re-shaping, and a stronger, clearer consciousness.

I will also say that I had no idea regarding the depth of my classmates' compassion, empathy and support until this week. I knew they were good, but they warmly surprised me, and I am very grateful.

In any case,
Thank goodness for two things this week: Bikram Yoga and Ruby Slippers.

Bikram yoga has been a source of sanity for me for a while in my life. Aside from being hot yoga and a great workout, it's really about controlling your breath, and about being grounded and situated in the moment. It's main message is to be mindful.
Lord knows I need that.

Ruby Slippers have supplied my sanity in the form of a 4'11" Italian-from-Boston smart-as-a-whip nurse(CNS)/professor who could arguably be dubbed an unofficial hero(ine) as far as our class goes. If you end up in the MEPN program, are in it now, or have done it in the past two years, you (will) know who I'm talking about.
I had a tough situation this week, created a bunch of crap for myself- totally my own fault- and just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore, right when I was about to crumble, she walked onto my floor, put her arm around me, and whisked me away.

Until she walked around the corner, I was a complete wreck.
Her energy is so incredibly positive, so clear, so *real* that you can't help but drop any defenses, because you don't need them.
We took a break in her office, to chat and let me get myself together.

Hell, I would have gone to Kansas when she came and got me if it meant just taking a break from where I was, but I ended up in a place with a friendly vibe, the radio playing one of my favorite songs, and I immediately relaxed. Anyone who has Wizard of Oz commemorative items on their walls is okay by me.
There were more Ruby slippers in this room than you could ever imagine.

Something about sparkly red shoes just makes everything alright.
In fact, when I asked her about them, she said, "Hey, sometimes I just need to click my heels too."
Rock on.
We had a really direct, poignant conversation that was incredibly helpful. I felt like I had the ability to keep going, which was not the case 15 minutes prior.
Perception and reality; these topics I was left to ponder, and you know what? I got it. I understood what was up, and knew exactly what I needed to do to make the bumpy road smooth again. Instead of feeling defeated, I felt inspired.
She encouraged me to get back on the horse, make the day a new one, and go forward.

When we left, I felt like I was wearing a little of that sparkle. I had to check my shoes a couple of times that day.

So, a reminder to myself and to others, slow down. Slow down in our processes, slow down in the intensity of this program, slow down and take a breath and think, slow down and just take a breath.

And if you need to, click your heels three times and take those 5 minutes to yourself. When you don't know what to do, just breathe, and let the answer come to you. It's not about fast, it's about learning, about doing things right.

And ultimately, it's still about your patients. If you can't be there for yourself, how can you be there for them?

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