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Cleats Season


“Let’s talk about the pattern you have,” Jana said.

That is one dynamic therapist, who can identify a pattern in me, when I didn’t even know I was prone to patterns.

She explained that I begin with a ‘hunger for independence.’  This is when I begin to feel the urge to step out and try something new, if only new to me, new to this lifestage, new to today.  I’m going to try something.

Then I progress to the stage of ‘the open spirit.’  This is when I start brainstorming my list (e.g., write a book, begin grad school, clean out a closet of memories, return to speaking publicly, scatter ashes, etc.).

Then I slow down a bit in the stage of ‘inner conflict.’  I begin to argue with myself.  Should I do this?  Should I not?  Is this appropriate for me?  Is it honoring to Robb?  Is it okay for my children?  Can I follow through once I’ve started?  Should I… shouldn’t I… like plucking petals off a daisy.

And then, in the stage of ’embracing,’ I jump off the cliff.  I get annoyed with myself for all the questions and conflict, I tire of trying to decide, so I just… decide.  Go.  Boom.  Done.  I did it.

After I’ve jumped off the cliff and embraced whatever I’ve determined would define the next step, there’s always a crash.  It’s never one of regret or remorse, but rather the aftermath of taking the plunge.  This aftermath has become smaller, less debilitating, and further apart with time, but it’s still part of the process, part of the pattern.

And then? Once I get on my feet once more, I start all over again.

Hunger for Independence.
Open Spirit.
Inner Conflict.

Here’s the challenge for the people who love me: until I’m ready to embrace the something new, I do all of my thinking internally.  When I finally decide I want to do this, then I want to do it now, and my friends and family had no idea this was coming.

What?  She did what?!  Yep.  She’s doing it. She sure is.  I didn’t know we were doing this… but here we are.

(I imagine it must be hard to love me well when one must somehow anticipate the current pace of the day.)

Jana said, “Tricia, I liken it to a football team.  They have lined up, the play has just begun, and before anyone realizes, you’re rushing the ball 100 yards down the field.  No one can catch you.  No one can stop you.  No one saw this coming, and there you go.  Sure enough, you score a touchdown, and there are points on the scoreboard we wouldn’t have had if you hadn’t taken the plunge and run with it in your first opportunity.  But now, after having run 100 yards, you’re down for the rest of the game.  Dehydrated.  Muscles strained.  You’re on the bench for a while.  But, we can’t deny… she sure made some huge strides while she was running.  She made some ground we might not have made otherwise.”

And then she said, “Tricia, I know you.  You’re very quietly putting on your cleats.  While the rest of the team is warming up, you’re watching for your chance to rush the field.  Could you do me a favor, for the next few weeks, during the holiday season?  Hang up your cleats.  No major rushing.  Just keep the pace, please.  This isn’t your cleats season.”

She makes a strong point.  A strong, strong point.

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. That is an amazing therapist… and makes me think about my own patterns, but wow… this has got me thinking. Glad you have her.

  2. What an insightful therapist…. and she speaks your native language, too. “Metaphor.” 🙂

  3. “Just keep the pace, please. This isn’t your cleats season.” Oh, I love your therapist! I’m going to take that admonition to heart, too.

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