Saturday, January 7, 2012

Empathy Overload

Have you ever had someone walk in to your life for a brief amount of time, and completely turn your day upside down? That's what happened to me today. I had one client. Just 60 minutes of time with this woman, and she will never know that as soon as she left, I sobbed like a baby.

I should start by saying that when people come see me to get a massage, often times they tell me things that I don't think they intend on telling me. I end up hearing their life story. My husband says it's because people in uncomfortable situations talk to make things more comfortable. That's why interrogators don't often have to say much to provoke the whole story.  I like to think it's because I have some sort of secret-telling super power.

My client today was a pleasant woman. She was upbeat and happy but I could tell she was in pain. She told me that she had been up late attending her parents 45th wedding anniversary. This led to her expanding on her family, including a brother that had past away many years ago. She told me how hard it is, even now, as she goes through life not to feel the pain of his loss and sadness at the events he is missing.

She made me think about the people who have lost loved ones recently (there have been many). Weeks ago, a few years ago, many years ago, and the pain is the same. She said some days the pain is just as bad as the moment they found out he was gone.

I'm learning something from tragedies like this. I am becoming more concious of how I spend my days, and what  I worry about. I am taking more pictures of my kids. Trying to make as many memories as I can with them. Her story touched me so much.

But she wasn't done.

We started talking about her physical pain. Recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, she was scared. The pain is so different. So illogical. I know a bit about this. I have family members, including my husband, who are in constant pain. No one understands them. People don't see a reason for sufferers to be in pain so they think they are hypochondriacs or drug seekers. Sufferers of chronic pain don't want this life. It can lead to depression and despair. It can lead to resentment from spouses. It can lead to missing major events in their families' lives.

I listened to her speak and and ached for her. She has a long, hard road ahead. Because it's not just the pain. It's the impact that the pain has on your life. I can relate. I know all about this. I hate it. It's not fair.

So when she walked out the door, relaxed and loosened up and with words of encouragement from me, I felt over loaded. Emotionally exhausted.

Not only did I get a lesson from her about making time with my family count, but she reminded me that everyone struggles. I will try not to get so stressed out with my kids for being kids, and upset with my husband for something he can't control.

She was a reminder from a higher power today.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Trimming The Fat

2012 is going to be my year to trim the fat out of my life. I'm not talking about shedding my 40 plus unwanted pounds (although that would be nice); I'm talking about the excess that has consumed my family until I feel like we are drowning in it.

Stuff, toys, papers, electronics, clothes, activities, TV shows, internet use, phone use, fast food. I feel like we are bombarded with images and ads and everything is so frantic and stressful.

My goal for this year is to make things more simple. Throw things away. Purge our lives of the heaviness.

Wish me luck.