Three Things I Never Thought I’d Be Grateful For in 2016 + Happy Holidays!
By Kate Daigle, MA, LPC
Happy holidays from Kate Daigle Counseling!!
2016 has been a remarkable year all around, marking my 6th anniversary serving clients in private practice and in the community, and it has been a year that has brought personal and professional growth to me in a way I had never experienced before.
I celebrated the birth of my first child in March and becoming a mother has deepened my human capacity to feel for love, fear, hope, grief, and sadness among other emotions immensely. I am so very grateful to the community of family, friends, doulas, fellow sleepless mothers, my husband, and yes, my clients for allowing me to grow and explore this additional role in my life in such a meaningful way.
What has surprised me are several things that I’ve found I am truly grateful for this year that I might not have expected to be. I wanted to share this list with you as perhaps it could help you reframe or discover healing and growth in your own lives in unique ways.
Three Things I NEVER Thought I’d be Grateful For in 2016
1.) Sleepless Nights. Whhhhaaat?
Okay, not really. I love love love my sleep and it is a huge part of my mental and physical health. Having a new baby certainly throws you for a loop in this department and shows you in not-so-subtle ways that you actually are NOT in control!
When my daughter would wake up, especially in those early weeks, and wants to eat and cuddle, my heart swelled 5 sizes. You know how the Grinch’s heart swelled 10 times bigger than it ever was? Well, my heart wasn’t quite as small as his was initially 🙂 but this time offered me pause and an opportunity for reflection. Those quiet moments actually were times where I was able to most clearly reflect on what is important to me in my personal life as well as in my professional life and truly grounded me.
This mindful nightly pause has contributed to more presence in sessions, being more connected to who I am, and deepened my capacity to empathize with clients whom I serve. And the good news is that I am sleeping much better now 🙂
2.) Rebuilding my practice from (what felt like) scratch:
I took three months off to be with my daughter, and at the end of those three months I thought that I would return to my practice and it would fill up quickly to be where it was before I left.
This was not actually the case. Many clients were on other journeys and doing really well, or seeing other therapists where they were thriving. It was wonderful to see them using their wings and flying 🙂
This also meant I needed to rebuild, renew, and redefine who I was and how I wanted my practice to look. Who am I? Am I different in some way now? Who do I serve?
It’s still a work in progress, but I am happy to say that my practice is thriving again and I believe this is due to two things 1) Really honing in on who I AM, who I serve most effectively, and knowing who I CANNOT help and referring them out to qualified colleagues and 2) Setting very clear boundaries, with my time, my structure of my practice, and my own self care.
Whoa, this is hard sometimes but it is essential to being able to be present both in my career and at home.
3.) Losses that I have experienced.
Whether it is the loss of a relationship, a hope, a pregnancy, a fantasy, the promise of the first female President, or anything else, loss is something that guts us all the way down to the depths of our soul and challenges us to ask: can we survive?
The answer, I’ve found, is YES.
Many many people survive loss and have to truly look at their capacity to be resilient because of this. While 2016 has brought birth and blessings in SO many ways, there have also been several significant and painful losses. Our capacity to survive loss also deepens our capacity to experience love and to connect with and heal with others. I sit with clients every day who have survived immense loss and I hope that they can feel safe to know that I am in it with them.
Here is something I am not surprised at all to be grateful for: my community and my clients. THANK YOU for your support and for inviting me to be a part of your life. I am so very grateful to be able to do the work I do and it fills me to the brim with hope for our planet to heal and connect in peace and not in conflict.