Tilicho Lake

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I have a tattoo on my left forearm that says, “Who do you choose to be?” My own reminder that in every moment I have a choice as to how I show up in the world. Sometimes I do well at living into my values and sometimes I fall far short.

I went to Nepal in April and it was one of the best trips I have taken so far. We spent 5 days in Katmandu and 10 days trekking from the Middle Hills into the Himilayas. We barely scratched the surface of the unending view of the mountains. Our highest point was 4,600m, but there, that isn’t even that tall. In the city, I fell in love with the juxtaposition of beauty and dirt, grandeur and poverty, simpleness and chaos all intertwined into this beautiful cacophony. The people are kind and there is a stillness nestled into the chaos that I must assume comes from the deep faith that is apart of their culture. I do not consider myself religious, rather deeply spiritual, but I have always resonated with many of the tenets of Buddhism. Being surrounded by prayer flags in the country Buddha was born brought out an energy I felt at peace around.

When I was in my mid-twenties, I had what I jokingly referred to as my quarter life crisis. It was a time where life as I knew it sort of fell apart and I was forced to look within and start asking some hard questions. One of the biggest was “who am I? ” which eventually morphed into the tattoo I have now. I did a ton of personal growth and development in that time period, including therapy. It’s the path that initially set off why I am a psychologist today.

A very dear person at that time in my life introduced me to an Irish poet named David Whyte. While many of his poems are beautiful, there is one in particular that really resonated with me at that time in my life, Tilicho Lake. When I was trying to figure out who I was, I was also trying to become an authentic version of that person. I took that poem and I pasted it to the mirror on my bedroom dresser. It stayed there for years and I looked at it every day. When I moved to New Zealand, for a little while I put the poem and a picture of the lake as the wallpaper on my phone.

I had no idea where Tilicho lake was, or even if it were a real place. It wasn’t until we had just crossed the pass into the Himalayas and I gasped at the beauty of the mountains, I knew I wanted to go deeper and higher into them in the future. The guide of the trip suggested a specific pass I should return to and offhandedly said, “While you are there, take the extra two days and go to Tilicho lake.” I froze when he said this as the goosebumps grew on my arm. “Where, I said?” and he repeated it. Turns out Tilicho lake is in Nepal and it is one of the highest alpine lakes in the world. This return is on my bucket list now and I really hope that one day I can see the true shape of my own face reflected from the lake.

The trip was a much needed break and I returned feeling recharged (and in shape!). It is a good thing, because I returned to some big changes and difficult situations. Feelings were intense and it felt like I had several challenging things occurring all at once. While I am scientifically minded and trained, I do have a healthy love for things I consider in the “unknown” category of life. Things humans haven’t quite figured out yet. While I would not consider myself a follower of astrology, I do find it fun sometimes to see what a local astrologer from Tulsa says about the full moon each month. This month happened to be a moon in Scorpio, which is powerful energy that will (at it’s best) break up and challenge old belief systems, especially in relationship to power dynamics. No idea how true any of that is, but man it felt appropriate to all that was going on when I returned.

I decided not to go for the Clinical Manager position. It was a tough choice. I could choose to go for a step up in title, along with the added salary benefits, but I would have had to leave behind my training. I wouldn’t have time to do both roles. After much thought, I decided to risk it on what I truly love and see if anything comes to be. Things are looking pretty promising, but it is too soon to tell and nothing official has come to fruition. It’s hard to take risks, but luckily I have learned early on that if I follow my heart, I’m often really grateful I did. Even if it doesn’t work out the way I want, there will be other jobs and other titles to go for (hopefully).

It was also odd to return to have some of my peers take on the managerial roles instead. It’s weird to adjust to the new group dynamics and my friends no longer being my equals on the title hierarchy. There was a bit of storming in the beginning, but I’m very blessed to be surrounded by people who can have tough conversations and work through conflict in healthy ways. Things seem to have stabilized now on our team and I am hopeful I have made the right choice. We have a fourth pilot of the training scheduled in June and I am hoping we are almost at the place where it becomes official and gets rolled out to the site.

My partner and I decided to go ahead and try for a child too. No idea if it will happen, and I am trying really hard to stay in the middle with it. If it happens, it happens and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I am sure there will be a grieving period if it doesn’t, but I probably always would have had to experience that, whether we decided to try or not. I think there are losses either way- for the mother I could have been or the freedom of the person who chose not to raise another. It’s a delicate space and my partner and I will hold it the best we can.

I’ve finally booked my first trip to visit the States later in the year. I only have two weeks and I can’t afford the travel costs to go to all of the states my friends and family are in. I’ll have to rotate where I go on return trips, or hope plane tickets get way cheaper in the future. I am excited to be back though, even if only for a short time.

I feel like I am in a pause right now. Lots of things brewing, nothing actually tangible yet, but lots of possibility. It’s hard to know what direction life will turn in. I feel I am being asked to let go and be patient. Two things I have never been good at.

I do know that life is always giving me opportunities to grow. Testing my limits, providing opportunities to heal old wounds or change old patterns. Asking me to do things I’m not good at, and stretching me to see other people’s perspective instead of just my own. It can be hard sometimes, especially when my ego gets involved. I genuinely try and sometimes I do well. I’m also trying to learn to embrace the times I don’t too and try again to be better or to learn. There’s a lot going on in my little space right now, as I am sure there is in yours too. I’ll be back to catch back up in a month or so, but until then, I hope you too can try to find the balance, show up as best you can and have the grace to try again if you find you have fallen down.

Until next time.

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