Monday matters: Stepping back

My consideration for February is what to do and what not to do to establish good self-care. I think the most important piece for me to remember is what I shouldn’t do. I tend to want to take on as much as I possibly can. I love the idea of being busy. Being too busy, though, makes me really unhappy. I think I’m just so accustomed to being busy that having free time is too foreign. This all being said, I’m going to relieve some of the pressure and post to this blog only once a week.

What don’t you do?

Monday matters: Distillation


[dis-tl-ey-shuhn]  Show IPA


the purification or concentration of a substance, the obtaining of the essence or volatile properties contained in it, or the separation of one substance from another, by such a process.
I’d like to distill. I’d like to separate volatile properties from my clinical practice. One way to do that, I’m supposing, is to get out of my own way, but I’m not sure how to do that just yet. (I am the most unforgiving boss.)
Another way to distill is to say No. I’m finding I need to make more of an effort to do such a thing.
This being said, I’m pretty sure I’m going to say Yes to a songwriting challenge put forth by Megan Resig and Wade Richards of On-the-Go Studio podcast. I write a lot of songs, but I don’t actually get on to record them. Here’s hoping.

The week wrapped up

I have continued on through this cold, cold week. My Tuesday was very full with clients, and so was today, but yesterday was not. Yesterday therefore proved to be really rough. I’ve decided that my Fridays are now my office days, and I plan to spend some time tomorrow planning out the hours of the week more carefully. Yesterday I wandered around aimlessly. I had the baby with me for much of the day, so I accept that he pulled my attention, but wow. I think I looked like a zombie, ambling around the house.

I hope next week is warmer. A string of 82-degree days will work out for me. The only trouble with vacations is that you have to come back.

The importance of the music

Today, I was reminded of the triangular relationship that the client, the therapist, and the music have while in a music therapy session. I have a client who tends to enter into the therapy space and sit down, apparently waiting for direction from me. This behavior isn’t unreasonable, but I’ve been encouraging this client to explore some of the instruments I leave available while we sing our hello song. Today, she moved to the ocean drum, and for the first time in several weeks I observed this client transitioning very fully into the sound that she made with the drum. I accompanied on the guitar, and soon found the ocean drum to complement the guitar, and vice versa. At times, we introduced vocalizations, but for more than 10 minutes, we simply used the music. I did hear a little voice in my head saying, Time to move on. Why aren’t you moving on? What if she gets bored with the ocean drum? Why don’t you stop playing before that can happen?, etc. However, I trusted (thank you for putting that word in my head, Lindsay) that the music can hold its own in this context. That is why I’m a music therapist, in fact.

Every so often I need to acknowledge more readily the importance of the music. Do you ever have that problem?

Monday matters: Continue on

I’ve just returned from a fantastic few days in Key Largo, Florida. The weather was perfect; 80 degrees and sunny. We Minnesotans wore plenty of sunscreen, so luckily there was no burning involved in this trip. However, coming home to 10-degree cold and frozen driveway barricades was really difficult.

February. February in Minneapolis. This month is so uninteresting. Finding something to look forward to is a challenge, in my opinion– the holidays are over and summer is so far off. My consideration this week is continuing on. I will think of ways to reinvigorate and re-inspire my clinical practice. Being that it’s a Monday, and 24 hours ago I was all encompassed by warmth, I am having trouble finding excitement in much, to be honest. However, every day is new. Perhaps tomorrow will melt the snow.

How do you continue on? Do you set up things to look forward to on a daily basis? Or do you rather have events happening months in advance?

Don’t forget: Submit your words by February 15.


Monday matters: Accountability

As a small business owner who is still new to all of the intricacies such an identity involves, I have tried a variety of ways to keep up with myself, so to speak. Recently I was listening to an episode of Internet Business Mastery in which there was mention of accountability partners. I’d never thought of this before, so I sought out someone who is also a music therapist in private practice, and who also has a young child. Our thought is to check in with one another on a weekly (or perhaps just monthly) basis.

Accountability is somewhat difficult in private practice. I am all alone here. I’ve even taken to plotting out my day on an hourly basis. Today went fairly well. Tomorrow is a mystery.

What do you do for accountability?

Coming up on Wednesday will be a guest post on the theme of 2014.

Keep reading.

Image source

What are your words? February writing prompt

Today is already January 15. I will be putting up a submission next week for January’s writing prompt, “word of intention.” In February, I’ll be considering self-care.

February seems to be right in the middle of winter for us here in Minneapolis. I know the calendar says otherwise, but last year we had snow as late as May. I abhor the cold weather and snow generally sucks, in my opinion, so clearly I live in the wrong place. But, I’m here, and one major part of enduring the winter here has to be those pieces of the day that are attributed to self-care.

As professionals in a helping field, music therapists often talk about self-care. Do we really do it, though? What does “self-care” mean?

I’m curious about what “self-care” does not mean, too. I know much of the time, self-care is expressed in terms of daily activities. What are the things that we don’t do? What about self-talk? Do you combine that with self-care?

I want to hear from music therapists, art therapists, counselors, therapists, teachers, administrators, and anyone who uses self-care intentionally. Please write up a few words to describe what you do and don’t do for self-care, in relationship to your professional life. Send me your words here, and be sure to include your contact information and links, by February 15.

See you in January

After my two clients tomorrow afternoon, I will be taking two weeks off from work. I’m looking forward to spending (maybe) less time online and on-screen. I’m looking forward to cleaning up and catching up on paperwork. I’m looking forward to closing down 2013. I’m looking forward to seeing family, and seeing my baby’s first Christmas play out.

What is exciting you? What’s one good thing about 2013? I had a baby. That was good.

Happy holiday-time. Happy new year. I’ll see you again in January.

Monday matters: My word

I’ve liked to use these “Monday matters” posts as a theme for my week, or as a result of what I’d thought of in my week before. In this case, I am going to think of my theme for this upcoming calendar year. I’ve posted in the past about a theme word. I’m deciding between three words right now: “Hone,” “clarify,” and “lessen.” In our peer group meeting, we talked about how hard it is to say No sometimes. I like the word “lessen” for that reason– I can use the word to help me identify where I can reign in some places in my work. I like the words “hone” and “clarify” for similar uses, too.

Given that the last two weeks of December are bound to be busy and not work-heavy, I’m probably going to be done posting for this calendar year on Thursday. Please contact me with any writing you want to publish on your professional theme action word for this next year.

Monday matters: Professional hobbies

In the past week, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I call professional hobbies. I define this kind of hobby as one that relates to your profession, but is something that fulfills a subcategory of your work. For instance, a lot of people are podcasters, but are producing their podcast in order to relay a message about their primary work; I don’t think anyone calls themselves a “professional podcaster.” I consider my blogging a professional hobby. I am not a professional blogger, however.

I enjoy writing quite a bit. I imagine a lot of people do. If you happen to be one of those people, but don’t find yourself writing regularly for whatever reason, consider composing a few paragraphs on the topic of words of intention over the remaining days of December. Send me your thoughts, and I will publish them here. If you have a website and other contact information, I’ll link to it. At the top of each month I will publish on that theme. I will share an upcoming theme on the 15th of each month; feel free to continue writing on what these topics mean to you in your work.

My theme word for 2014 is still changing. I’ve thought of explore, expand, and recently, clarify.

Do you have an intention for 2014? Have you thought any more about a theme word? Let me know.