Professional Alchemy: Clinical Energy to Creative Energy

This past Summer the clinic and practice that I built over nearly 15 years transitioned to new, old hands. I knew it would provide a psychic relief for me; and even still I underestimated the freedom that the transition offered to my life. Not just a release from time expenditure or financial responsibility, but the low-grade white noise that had pervaded every waking minute of my life for so many years. For those of you who have had an experience like this, you know… it’s priceless.

I decided, very unlike myself, to take a pause. To reject diving into yet another thing, and just enjoy having one job for the first time in 25 years. Again, for those of you who have had an experience like this…IYKYK. I cook dinner most nights, I watch YouTube history videos with my son, I walk the dogs a lot, and I care for myself in the way I cared for thousands of patients and students, and never extended to myself. It’s weirdly simple and simultaneously revolutionary.

And still, I knew I had more to offer. My mind and heart weren’t dOne (again, IYKYK); I had creative juice left, I was just ready for a different challenge. I enjoyed the heck out of my Summer. I worked, took local trips, read books, laid by the pool, and just did ‘regular people life.’ That might not actually be a thing, but from where I stood over many years it looked like folks played a lot more than I did!

So, it’s been a busy Fall quarter and it’s been good to feel the imaginative juices flowing again. All that fresh, generative energy that sat a little dormant there for a bit with the slowed pace of the last two years and recent months…now I get to put it into the arena of teaching

I have a couple of projects in the hopper (who I am kidding, I’m still me)…helping a student mental health group get off the ground, working on an international collaboration for this class on student mental health, a poetry challenge with Hanford… and one of the recent launches was this super cool class I got to co-teach with my amazing colleague Mo West (article linked below). We definitely intersected with some fascinating challenges: teaching college students who didn’t really do much high school in person, navigating some of the shifted comfort in social engagement, and even my co-instructor’s car accident and recovery.

We definitely had to practice what we preached!

Check out the article: https://www.uwb.edu/news/december-2022/reducing-stress-for-success

It’s been really fun to use my brain not just for teaching, but for learning, and to engage in teaching something that I also really, really need to keep practicing: mindfulness. Teaching, much like clinical care, is transformative for us as instructors, and this class was that in triplicate. I feel thankful to my students and my awesome co-pilot for this opportunity (that we will hopefully get to revise, improve, and re-release next year)!

iteachcuzilearn #studentmentalhealth #mindfulness