Welcome to Thrive Tribes and my very first blog post. I am Lisa and I am a licensed clinical social worker, boy mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend! Ever since I was a little girl I have been fascinated with transformation, sparkles and people. I love watching people evolve, achieve, set goals and accomplish awesome things through hard work, commitment and dedication. It’s what I do and what I don’t do. I can be highly motivated to the point of rainbow sprinkled insanity and it’s the insanity part that often keeps me reassuring myself that “I’m fine” in an effort to prevent me from taking on new challenges and risking change. So currently I find myself sitting right on the line of burnout, spending a lot of time wondering if growth and transformation is really worth the rainbow-colored fog anymore. Transformation stretches and shakes me. It takes me way out of my comfort zone and dumps me right in the middle of all of the junk I prefer to avoid…self-doubt, fear of failure and the ickiness of my ego and really who needs that? The process is full of so many up’s and down’s and while parts of it can be exciting, it is generally not fun until you get to the other side and look back and witness just how far you’ve come. It’s like it just has to feel super bad for a while to ensure that you really want it and are willing to commit no matter what it takes. And while I love bearing witness to this type of transformation, I don’t always like taking part in it or risking the “feel bad” stage. So this little space is where I am pushing myself beyond burnout to build some new vulnerability muscles and stretch in the direction of beautiful because my spirit recognizes that it’s the rainbow colored sprinkles that energize my world and keep me fired up. There is still work to be done.
Professionally, I have been in the world of child welfare for a really long time. I love my work and I am doing exactly what I always dreamed of doing. I am proud of what I do and I am blown away that I am able to do it. I work in a beautiful space, with beautiful people, a beautiful schedule and I “play” (therapeutically) with children who need a grown-up to help them walk through traumatic experiences that they never should have experienced in the first place. It is brutal and hard and gratifying and glorious and the juxtaposition often makes me want to run as far as I can, as fast as I can and never hear another word from another human being again. And that’s the craziest part… in all of the trauma these little people define resiliency and growth and teach me how to stay planted, trust, show up and keep putting one foot in front of the other. They are brave, engaging, authentic and transforming. They are everything that I want to be and even though they are often struggling and afraid they carry on, they communicate (effectively but not always in a way that is lovely) and inspire me to do the same. (especially the lovely part…i’m working on it)
So here is my super hard truth. I am tired. Not the kind of tired where I need a nap or a good night’s sleep. But bone tired. Because, in all of it’s imperfect beauty this work seems to be getting tougher and more confusing and our systems seem so out of whack I often have no idea what the answer is anymore. I kind of want to take my ball and go home. There is no time to stop and I often feel ashamed because the self-care strategies that used to work are often not enough anymore and that makes me wonder what in the world is wrong with me. But someone please tell me exactly what the formula is for preparing hearts to deal with so much. When someone suggests self-care as the answer, I always wonder what exactly they mean? I love massages, great books, mani/pedis, vacations, therapy and all other sorts of goodness but to some degree I think these strategies can become cover stories for a deeper need that is harder to handle. The truth is that sometimes we just have to stop, own our truth, speak it messily and feel safe enough to explore it without blaming ourselves and being blamed by our professions, other professionals, families, friends, etc. We need to connect, be heard and know that we are not alone.
If I lost you in all this child welfare talk I apologize. You don’t have to treat trauma, be a first responder or a human service professional to get overwhelmed by helping. I see it and hear it all the time from teachers, moms, wives, business owners, grandparents, friends, foster parents, caregivers, family members, etc. If you are in the trenches, walking with someone you love through a painful experience, grieving, trying to juggle a ton of roles or in a life transition/crisis you didn’t plan for you know exactly what I mean. “Heart work” is everyone’s work and at some point it catches up with all of us and requires us to openly communicate with ourselves and others and to recognize that burnout and compassion fatigue can blindside us at any moment. And it’s okay. It is so very okay to not be okay. And it doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you or that you are a poor helper or healer because you are exhausted and maybe even angry, frustrated and overwhelmed. In fact, I think that it means that there is something very right with you and that you are human and that you are not immune from feeling and needing help too.
So Thrive Tribes is my self-care/self-compassion gift to myself and the space where I am going to work on figuring this all out in my perfectly imperfect way. I am so delighted to share it with you. People who invest in others are my tribe. The work we do is essential to the love and healing that is so desperately needed in this world and this is our space to lift each other up, commit to radical self-care and rise. We need your brave, engaging, authentic, transforming and perfectly imperfect self to keep showing up and bringing your unique and powerful gifts to the table. Let’s devour rainbow colored crazy sprinkles as we grow, transform and thrive together.