Life continues to bring an assortment of mixed feelings as the days pass by.
One thing I know for certain is how much I am enjoying my writing skills, both professionally and for pleasure. It is a way to capture many of my thoughts, even the fleeting ones and putting them in a place that I can reflect on them.
Reflection is an important part of my work with children and their families, whether it be in a teaching or therapeutic capacity.
It helps see the journey travelled, where we have come from and where we hope to go.
I am very grateful to all those people who have taken time to send their condolences to me since my dad passed away last month – it is a strange place to navigate the inevitable grief and confusion that has followed, but I can only hope it will strengthen my ability to be empathetic to the children and families that I serve – it has definitely had me thinking of the very important influence he had on me, and my family.
If you could put your life before you, what character would you choose to represent you?
Clients who utilise the sand tray in their sessions have an opportunity to select mini models to ‘tell their story’ and see it in front of them. If there have been challenging situations or scenarios between visits this can be the ideal place to take a second look at them in more detail, in the safety of the play space.
Feelings and emotions can be explored intensively or by just recapping the situation. A place to pause and centre or to move on without hesitation.
The sand tray is said to represent the subconscious mind and the miniatures are on offer to help bring some of those deep seated thoughts and emotions to the centre, but only within the client’s personal level of comfort.
It is one thing to be able to talk through a problem with a trusted friend, colleague, counsellor (or other health professional) when we are older and more articulate, but one of the many reasons I love to work with the sand tray is to help my clients manage the things that may not know how to articulate verbally with safety and confidence.
The only thing that compares is the trust and subtle acknowledgment that I receive in the form of a smile and a spring in the step of a client as they return to the big wide world.
Grief never ends. But it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay.
Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith.
It is the price of love.
This year has been nothing like I expected it to be, with plenty of plot twists added into the mix. Like most people I had a general idea of what might happen but at roughly the half way point of 2019 it is safe to say that not much has gone to plan…but that is because it has been better. Not always ‘by design’ but that’s okay because it has meant that I have grown and been tested outside of my comfort zone.
If we consciously chose to be outside of this I don’t necessarily think that we would push ourselves that hard – however it is interesting to see what I am really made of….
Lately I have been processing the sudden and very recent passing of my Dad, and in some ways I still can’t quite believe it is true.
I am being sharply reminded of how grief feels and since that it was I most want to share with others I am embracing this magnitude of emotions with my family by my side.
I could refer to the five stages of grief as well documented by Elisabeth Kubler Ross as a starting point, although there are of course many more. I am thankful for her work as a guide post to help me at least some way recognise some of my up and down emotions.
For now, it is just important to be easy on myself and ride the roller coaster for as long as I need to.
The gifts of beautiful flowers and condolence cards are close by with comforting words for reassurance which reminds me of the love and support I have received with love and kindness.
Perhaps most important though for right now is to just not resist what surfaces from within that I will privately journal.
Since undertaking a writing course I have discovered how much I want to say and share in the hope that it could assist others when it is my turn to support them.
Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to join Wendy Steward as a guest on her podcast ‘Wendy’s Way’ where she interviewed me on Play. It was a great experience to be able to share with her some of my personal insights on the importance of play for children, their families and the reason why it is so important in children’s development.
You can download the full episode on I-Tunes or visit:
Look at this beautiful creation made by children at a local beach. Do you remember the last time that you did this or have ever done this?
I think I might love it so much because this is something I valued as a child and how I spent my time…modelled by my family who also loved nurturing me through a love of nature and learning.
It may be winter in Melbourne, but that is not stopping me from enjoying all that nature has to offer.