It’s a sign…It’s time

It’s been a week since I’ve returned home and I all ready wrote about my vacation and missing home. Since my return, there have been these little things, whether it’s things people have said or what I’ve been listening too podcast wise or the opportunities that are coming my way thats telling me that my attention needs to shift. Shift back to my passion of helping others. 

As I have had to start over in Israel growing my practice, since there really is no option for me to work at an agency here, I am forced to confront any of my fear points and blocks. We all have them, and for most of it the fear resolves around failure, which is obvious but there is it’s lesser known cousin, the fear of success. Especially for those of us who grew up in homes where money was tight and struggling was/is has the dual message of not being desired but also something that makes you stronger. We look at people with money as the other, and I think in order to distance ourselves and soften the pain of not having the ability to do things as easily as those with money, we talk about their character (whether we know them or not) in negative ways. 

I find myself having the fear of success more than the fear of failure. Being a therapist means the world to me and it’s a huge responsibility, people are hurting and have often suffered repeated blows relationally and emotionally. I want to help this, not exacerbate this. 

During vacation I had the opportunity to hang out with friends, many of whom are in the field. Some work at agencies, there are are those who have their own practices or are involved in group practices. As I talked about my difficulties with starting my practice with all of them, I realized that much of it has to do with niching and trying to decide who I want to work with. 

Yes trauma survivors but there’s more to it than that. More things I’m interested in.  I talked about wanting to work with kids under 5 and their moms. I wanted to do consulting at pre-schools and work with teachers and parents with kids with difficult behaviors. I received welcomed advice from all the people but hey it’s vacation so it was harder for me to keep track of it all. During this timeI also had  a meeting with a woman who was creating a nonprofit for survivors of domestic violence and was looking for trauma therapists who could serve on her board. We talked and we clicked and I said yes I’ll do it. I don’t even know what I’m doing but the thought of being able to be at the beginning stages of creating a program for survivors and their families was very appealing to me. 

As I returned with my sister I got back into the groove of things here I continued to be confronted with things related to my therapy practice. I listen to podcasts talking about niching and picking one thing (yet I’m interested in everything), so I continued to ignore because it was overwhelming me.  While at the same time I’m having former clients and people connected to former clients reaching out to me. Some still struggling and wishing they could wrk with me again (but they can’t) or wanting to update me on how they are doing.  A reminder of the impact that the work I do has impacted other’s in a meaningful way, which is really why I do it.

I then had an opportunity, well two, to join consultation groups. One for those building a private practice and the other for therapists of color. I’m trying to decide if I should pick one or just join both, I see the value in both, plus connecting with others and building relationships is important to me. With one of these groups I get to work with an amazing practice building coach who interviewed me on her podcast (and it’s airing next week which has me a little anxious). But since I decided to invest in myself I signed right up for this group (glad I did it early because it’s full now) and I’m thinking I’ll join the other. Being a therapist of color has many dynamics and it’s good to be connected and supportive to each other. 

Prior to going on vacation I sent my resume for an online school based therapy program in the US that someone recommended to me. While I was in California they replied and said they weren’t hiring for people with a California license. Then this week they emailed me wanting to schedule an interview online. The job is cool because I am a contractor not an employee and I can make my hours, it just has to add up to 5 hours a week minimum. 

Yesterday I had drinks with two friends from work.  We had such a great time, just getting lost in it all, it reminded me of why I missed being home in Israel. I have, in just 6 months made some great friends.  Well one friend was telling me how some words I said to her months ago played in her head as she dealt with high emotions from someone she cares about. She was able to stay calm and all went well (when maybe in the past her emotions would’ve taken her to another place because  the other person was losing it). This lead her to then talk about how I should talk to our boss about doing assessments or consulting with the kids at the school we are working at, the value the school would have using someone like me. This meant the world to me but also was just too ironic because I had been thinking and discussing wanting to do this with my friends the previous week when I was on vacation. Of course my immediate thoughts were like, who me? Why me? Am I really that good? But I pushed them aside and remembered yes I am good and it’s really something I am interested in. So I must find a way to confront my fears and talk to my boss about it. Especially since she wants to open a 3rd school. How fun would that be to be on site working with teachers and/or parents with kids that have behaviors that are concerning. Helping to see the spectrum of development and how to help children who may be at the extreme ends (slightly delayed or advanced) adjust and manage in school. 

All of these things hitting me at once feel like I need to shift my attention back to my practice.  I’m thinking it’s a sign…time to confront my fears of success and fears being seen to have a conversation with my boss but also look for opportunities to actually grow this part of my practice, well and to just grow my practice in general. 

As an aside, especially since I was about to post this blog I realized I needed to update about the banking situation.  My friend (shout out to TL) helped me call the bank and credit card to figure out what’s happening with my money. Well it turns out I was taking out 750 shekel every month a nd moving it to my savings account. So I called and got that rectified and then I transferred money (that wasn’t supposed to be in my saving account) back to my checking account so I wasn’t hurting so bad. Also my checking account/credit card has this terrible idea that rather than listing every individual transaction I make they will lump all money spent in a day together and charge me at the end of the day. (Yes it makes 0 sense) So I have to confront my other demon, finances, and start tracking every single thing I spend and where I spend it or lose my mind. So thats a goal for over the weekend, to get financially organized.

A Tale of Two Homes

This week I’m back in California and it feels nice. At first it felt weird. Over the past 6 months Israel has felt like home, despite me not knowing the language and being confused about banking, I love the life I’m beginning to create in Israel. 

On the other hand being able to see friends, friends that I’ve had for decades, is so nice. It’s so safe and familiar to be with these friends and the same with my family, particularly my cousins. I just love the ease at which we communicate with each other and how most of these folks I still talk to fairly regularly so I don’t miss them so much. I think this has helped my adjustment to Israel, knowing that I have unconditional support from my cousins and my friends here. 

Being in the same time zone as my potential online clients is nice as well. Just in the couple days I’ve been here I’ve connected with other therapists and we talk about building our practices, how we found our passions/specializations, and talked about our hopes and dreams for our businesses. This has made me realize that I need to invest in myself and my business. I have to get rid of the scarcity mindset that plagues me and hijacks my thinking. 

But this blog isn’t about work but about the differences between he two homes.

One of the biggest surprises of this week’s trip was how much my appetite changed just in these short 6 months. Before I made aliyah I could eat endlessly it seemed, loving the feeling I would get when I was full. As I visited people and ate out at restaurants I noticed how large the portion sizes were and that for the most part I couldn’t finish my meals. I also no longer enjoyed the feeling of being stuffed, finding it made me feel uncomfortable and sick. I enjoyed the foods I hadn’t eaten in 6 months, burritos and Thai food, but they also tasted different. In the past I could eat these foods every day but now I was fine just eating there once. This part was the most surprising. 

Another thing I noticed was how much I shifted in terms of the weather. The cloudy mornings I used to love, I was annoyed by, because it was summer and I wanted to wake up to the sun. Also it was truly cold in the morning, and some days stayed cold, which I also didn’t like too much. The last day I was home it rained off and on. I honestly dislike rain the most.

I went to my synagogue and received so much love. One woman walked up to me after services and said I remember you talking abut making aliyah but I didn’t realize you were doing it. This made me laugh. Otherwise I got lost of hugs and smiles. Also it made me realize how much of this I really miss because I haven’t found or looked for a conservative synagogue in Israel. It’s important to me that it’s conservative, not reform or Orthodox, so at this pint I’d rather not attend. But I also think a goal I have by the time summer ends is that I need to find one here in Tel Aviv and find a way to go at least twice a month if not every day shabbat. 

I found myself really missing my home in Israel this week which also surprised me. I enjoyed catching up and going to my synagogue but otherwise I missed my routine, my motivation to write, speaking Hebrew (poorly), my kids from work, my dog, and also the friends I made. That was most surprising. I didn’t realize that in this short amount of time I had made meaningful connections. 

Israel and California could not be more different from each other. I love them both for different reasons but I was surprised by the fact that I missed Israel as much as I did. I want to make aliyah because “it felt right” and my first trip back to the bay area confirmed that Israel really is my home.