The Great Summer Breathe

It’s time to take a break and just breathe. This summer it’s not so much a summer break as it is a summer breathe. I have so much to be grateful for and my life remains a very happy one, but I need to switch off a little.

It’s progression time from the Level 3 course on to Level 4 and the college are diabolically bad at admin and how they handle these things. It was a nightmare and people were so stressed out last time around in February when we went from Level 2 to 3, and clearly no one’s bothered to make any improvements. People are left hanging. Some of us were sent a progression task a full 24 hours before others and the interviews were the same with some people left hanging. Now we’re waiting for the enrolment letters – some have them, others not and with this you also get the added stress that if you haven’t received yours, WILL YOU AT ALL? Because like last time, the fear of God has been put into all of us with more applicants than places. I’m doing my best to accept it’s completely out of my hands and what will be, will be, but it ain’t nice and I already feel like crying in case I don’t get my letter. Of course with a shortage of places, the later on you get the letter, the bigger the risk is that the day and group you want to be in will be full, so there’s the added crap of that too.

Grant me the serenity…..

Well. I’ve given it my best shot. Done my best with all tasks and assignments, handed in everything ahead of all deadlines and not missed a day or been late. I can’t do more than that. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll be super disappointed. That’ll burn me good. But I know that I’ll handle it. Have a good cry, then lick my wounds and find another way. Deal? OK.

Also bristly because a couple of people are getting under my skin and I don’t like that shit. Need to figure out what it triggers in me and my part in it, sit with it, make my peace with it and then navigate it better.

So the Summer Breathe is well timed.

I haven’t blogged much lately, nor have I had the time OR peace of mind to write on my wannabe book, but I churned out the bulk of it during lockdown so it’s really just the home stretch now and I’ll be on it once the course stress is out of the way and I’ve had my breather. For now though, time to shut down and find my foot hold again. I need to reset, clear my head and find my balance again – the last few weeks with their challenges and stress of various descriptions have exhausted me. Time for reflection and grounding. This is best achieved in the deep forests of Värmland. We didn’t think it’d be possible to find a sensible way of getting there this summer, but with driving and a couple of night ferries we can safely get there and keep distance etc. It wasn’t an easy task to work all this out but thank God lockdown has lifted enough and we can do it this way. The idea of sitting by the west wall of Falla having my morning coffee in just over a week almost gets me tearful. It’s my favourite spot in the world.

Have a lovely summer break everyone – hope you are all keeping well and safe and I’ll see (or read, rather) you all again very soon. Some time into August I guess.

Today I’m not going to drink.

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891 Days

The end is in sight now for the Level 3 Counselling course, thank God. Progression for Level 4 isn’t automatic just based on passing, and just like back in February when we finished Level 2 and wanted to go on to Level 3, there is now lots of stress and anxiety over getting a place. Level 4 is a two-year Diploma after which you qualify as a Counsellor and can practice and during this level you take real clients on placement, so it’s the serious part of it. We were given a case study task and if we pass this, we’ll have a progression interview and then see from there if we get a place. I’m keen to do it and still feel this is the route I want to take and I can’t deny I’ll be super disappointed if I don’t get a place (actually, make that devastated – it’ll HURT!) but at the same time I feel quite at peace with whatever life will throw me. I am, after all, living this life on life’s terms and so I don’t feel it’s my task to control everything. Nice.

And what if I miss out? What if they say “hey Anna, thanks but no thanks, we don’t think you’re mentally resilient enough” – this is indeed one of the things they will base their decisions on. To be a counsellor, you need to be pretty robust and of course you can only take your clients where you’ve gone yourself, so if there are things you cannot cope with, what hope do you have to help others cope with their stuff? It’s out of my hands really. I know in my heart I’m strong and can withstand any storm. Sure, lots of things fucking terrify me, but there’s nothing that I’ll run away from. Even presentations and fishbowl exercises – I’ve done it all without fuss and gone for each one. I’ve not shied away from any of it or tried to find an easy way through. Not once have I tried to escape. Not anymore. I’m sober now, remember? So whatever will be, will be.

I sort of look at this with anticipation to find out what life has in store next for me. If I get a place, hey great! It turned out the way I thought it would. If I get a no, then it might be life nudging me to re-route and this could be one of two things: reflection and more work on myself, or all the above plus doing the recovery coach certification I’ve had my eye on but have been delaying whilst I work on the counselling stuff. And a no doesn’t mean it’s a no forever, it just means it’s a no right now, this time, and so as much as it may bruise my ego and knock my confidence, I have risen from worse than this! That’s how I see it. Not a loss or defeat – an opportunity. A nudge from the universe, whatever scenario I’ll be facing.

Do I truly believe all this? Or am I trying to sound more positive and calm about it than I actually am? Hm… Nope, I do feel this way. Genuinely. I’ve done all I can, faced everything and not backed down or hidden away.

The future is bright. And it will remain bright even if it doesn’t end up looking the way I want it to or expect at every turn for this simple, beautiful reason:

Today I’m not going to drink.