Let’s Catch Up
It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog and I have several exciting updates to share with you. Here is where the story starts…
I entered 2016 having already achieved several of my professional goals (maintaining a thriving private practice, teaching Trainings for Therapists on EMDR Therapy and Somatic Psychology). But this year I wanted more. I named two big Intentions and then Big Magic (thank you Elizabeth Gilbert) happened.
First, I asserted to the universe, “I will create an online offering of my work so that I can reach more people.” Next I stated, “I will write a book.”
I wasn’t sure what form these intentions would take but I started anyway
“This is where the magic begins. When we stare into the invisible veil of the future and we have only our imagination to cross that divide. Sometimes we all can feel frightened or even immobilized by the unknown. But something extraordinary can happen when we project our YES onto that blank slate. And something equally amazing occurs when these intentions are followed with motivation, action, and endurance. This post is about vision, hard work, and harvest.”
Dr. Arielle Schwartz
It was January, and I had just engaged in my annual ritual of naming intentions for the New Year. We hosted the annual gathering of friends and each family created a vision boards to anchor our goals, dreams, and desires for the coming year. Among the many personal and family intentions I placed new two professional goals: a book and an online offering.
In the coming weeks I had to face the nearly paralyzing voices of my inner critic. Voices in my head that said, “Who do you think you are? What makes you think people will want to hear what you say? You hate to be on video. You can’t do this!” I was called to dance with my shadow; to free my heart from the prison of the critical mind. (This princess really doesn’t like to live locked away inside a tower.)
I worked with the feelings of shame, embarrassment, and humiliation. These places in my psyche were awkward and uncomfortable. I held these young parts of my being close and brought in radical self-compassion. I spoke back to the critic that said, “You’re not good enough” and asserted “It is my job to shine and to bring my gifts into the world. Nobody else can do this for me!”
I also decided that if even one person is touched by my words then they are worth sharing.
I got specific. I wanted the online course to be high quality, affordable, experiential and accessible. Serendipitously, a friend connected me to a Healbright, a company with a shared vision. We partnered together and put in months of hard work, sweat, tears, and (thank goodness) laughter. We developed and recorded the course Resilience Strategies for Grief and Loss which offers a collection of lectures, yoga, guided journaling exercises, and mindfulness practices. It is everything I hoped it would be.
When I finished working on the online course in May I decided it was time to turn my attention to writing my book. I didn’t know what form it was going to take. Sometimes I sat and stared at the blank screen of a page on my computer. How to start? What to say. I wrote anyway. Other days I was in flow and words poured onto the page.
I made a commitment to myself to write a little each day. Truth is I’m a working mom, so some days I wrote a lot and other times days would go by without any time to write. I began to tell people that I was writing a book even though I felt shy about my endeavor. I knew that the more people I told the more real the book would become; that this process would hold me accountable to my goals. It did.
I sat down at my computer to work on the book and experienced a state of powerful flow and clarity. Suddenly, I could see the book; I could feel it in my hands. In the middle this writing session I received an email notification on my phone,
“Dear Dr. Schwartz,
We are a publishing company in California and we would like to speak with you about writing a book for us…”
They had come across a blog I had posted on the topic of Complex PTSD and Dissociation. It caught their attention. We were under contract for the book within a week; a contract that asked me to complete a book in 7 weeks. And I did.
More Hard Work
Balancing hard work with motherhood takes many forms. There is no right or wrong. Sometimes for me it is about accepting the busy, imbalanced times rather than fighting them. I embraced a temporarily unbalanced life. Some days I spent 5 or 6 hours studying and writing about difficult topics such as death, grief, neglect, child abuse, shame, learned helplessness, and dissociation.
No, I’m not superwoman. I asked for help. My parents flexibly changed our summer vacation to watch the kids while I created a writing retreat. My husband (a stay at home dad right now) was amazing He picked up many of the home duties that I simply could not attend to at this time. The kids had to be more patient with me; a little more self-reliant as they take on some more responsibility at home. I trust that my being busy can be good for them.
And, I have had to be vigilant about my self-care. Daily yoga, long walks in nature, and massage have kept me sane. But, if I haven’t returned an email or replied to your phone call, please do not take it personally. Ultimately I had no choice but to accept that imbalance and imperfection have their place, so long as it is temporary.
Now, we make our transition to fall. A few weeks ago I was talking with a friend of mine who is taking over her family’s farm in Illinois. Her stories are straightforward reminders that all good harvests require many months (if not years) of commitment and hard work. I am in the beginning of a harvest season.
I do not regret the many hours spent behind a computer screen over the spring and summer. The draft of my first book, Healing Complex PTSD: A Restorative Workbook for Developmental Trauma Recovery is in the hands of the publishers as I write this. It will be available online and in stores mid-November. This is both a personal accomplishment and an honor to give birth to what I believe is a valuable contribution to others. I truly believe this book will be of service to people who are in the process of working through early childhood abuse and neglect. (Expect more on this soon!)
And, this week my 8-module online course became available. Please check it out and pass this on to anyone you know who would benefit from grief support from the comfort of home. Healbright has many affordable courses at $59 per course or $99 for a 10 course annual pass. You can learn more or sign up here: Resilience Strategies for Grief and Loss.
You can get a taste for the course here:
About Dr. Arielle Schwartz
Dr. Arielle Schwartz is a licensed clinical psychologist, wife, and mother in Boulder, CO. She offers trainings for therapists, maintains a private practice, and has passions for the outdoors, yoga, and writing. She is the developer of Resilience-Informed Therapy which applies research on trauma recovery to form a strength-based, trauma treatment model that includes Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), somatic (body-centered) psychology and time-tested relational psychotherapy. Like Dr. Arielle Schwartz on Facebook or sign up for email updates to stay up to date with all my posts.