Let’s all take a deep cleansing breath…now shut the hell up

8 11 2010

Once again, it’s confession time: I don’t like Enya. I haven’t used incense since high school. I don’t know what chakras are, and I’m OK with that. I don’t really even believe that people are sincerely good at heart.

I am a bit cynical and sarcastic. I’ll give you all a moment to let that news sink in.

Sometimes, it makes me feel a little out of place in this profession.

Back in Dr. Horrible’s social work school, I got tired of learning how closed minded I was. Well-meaning suggestions that I introduce my elderly clients to the healing power of crystals or repetitive chanting just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t mean to laugh at people, I genuinely thought we were joking.

I started to feel like the Grinch Who Stole New Age.

I’ve worked on improving, really I have. I’ve opened up the old mind a bit. Meditating isn’t for me, but that, combined with breathing exercises, has helped a lot of my anxious clients with the scary life stuff they can’t control. I’m willing to incorporate that with some of what I’ve been told are more traditional, “Western” methods. (Apparently, “Western” in this case does not mean that lassoes will be used. Boo.)

I’m even co-leading a teen girls’ self-esteem group that combines movement with shouted affirmations.

Does anyone need another minute? OK.

Once a week, a group work intern and I lead a group of 13-17 year old young women in stretching, punching the air, jumping invisible ropes, and other moves designed for the sole purpose of making me look ridiculous. All the while shouting along that we are strong, beautiful, and “no” is our power.

Followed by snacks and discussion time. (Both of which bring me right back into my comfort zone.)

I was rather skeptical at first. I did not become less skeptical when my co-leading intern brought out electric mini-candles and a silk scarf, to place in the center of our circle to “calm the environment.”

But you know what? The girls love it. And this jerk over here is having a great time.

Meditation, breathing, and scented candles help some workers to cope with the stressful, upsetting situations we deal with. I cope through obnoxious sarcasm humor. I’m willing to make a deal with the tantric (I don’t know what that word means) social workers out there.

Accept my methods, and I’ll accept yours. Turn on those electric tea lights, pretzel your legs, and imagine a glowing ball of warm energy illuminating your face.

But when I am venting after my fourth unsuccessful home visit attempt that week, saying, “The woman has two babies and no money, where the hell is she going, to a day spa?” the correct response is just to let it go. Not to say, “Wow, she must really be experiencing a lot of isolation. Maybe she’s identified some new supports.”

We can coexist. I firmly believe this.

Provided we all learn to relax, remain aware of one another’s auras, and practice laughing at ourselves.

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4 responses

8 11 2010
cb

I have to say, I am by nature a pragmatist. I like to keep as open a mind as possible, until I start giggling anyway.. I think I might be struck off if I suggested healing crystals (through the giggling!).

8 11 2010
socialjerk

I really would have appreciated a warning about the tealights and guided meditation in our last group. I need a heads up to keep it together in such scenarios.

11 11 2010
j0518

We started a “Yoga for Kids” group at our program, which is a preventive and sounds very similar to what you do. You’d be surprised at how quickly the kids got into it. No one is teaching these kids that respecting oneself goes beyond “don’t let someone else get one over on you.”

11 11 2010
socialjerk

That sounds great. I’ve heard such food things about teaching yoga to younger kids. I used to work at a summer camp for kids is foster care, and a Buddhist monk came and taught meditation one day. Some of the kids started getting up extra early to practice, because they loved it so much. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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