Tag Archives: compassion

Dear 2020: A goodbye letter

Dear 2020,

Thank you for your lessons.

stacks of journals on a multi-colored pink, orange, blue, green cloth with February, April, August titles showing tag: dear 2020

My 2020 Journals

You taught me:

  • To listen more deeply – to myself and others.
  • My needs can be an offering and opening to greater connection.
  • I am human – I can’t be everything to everyone, and I don’t have to be good to be loved.
  • Body first, business second. -Kate Northrup
  • I am not responsible for others’ growth, I’m only here to love them through it.
  • I cannot tell the future.
  • I’m willing to live with myself, no matter what. I look forward to living with myself, no matter what.
  • To live my life, let my kids live theirs, and love them fiercely while doing it.
  • The best-case scenario is just as likely as the worst. Believe in it.
  • WHEN YOU’RE STUCK: Drop down into your body. Feel. Listen. Move. Turn it over. Offer it up. Do the work that’s yours to do. Let God do theirs.
  • I am a human, standing on a dog, standing on a crocodile -Mike McHargue, You’re a Miracle (And a Pain In The Ass): Embracing the Emotions, Habits, and Mystery That Make You You
  • To pay attention to and care about how I FEEL.
  • That when I imagine a future where I get sick and die – I’m living into a scenario that is out of my control. When I imagine a future where I keep showing up to what is, with gentleness and care for myself, I feel so much less anxiety. I’m living into a scenario that is within my control.
  • If we don’t wrestle with anger, we never get to the heartbreak. And if we don’t get to the heartbreak, we don’t get to the healing. -Lama Rod Owens, Love and Rage

Thank you for the joy.

I found joy in:

  • Deep cleaning – like, on hands and knees with a toothbrush

    middle aged white woman with short brown hair wearing a white mask on her face Tag: dear 2020

    The Necessary Accessory of 2020

  • Long baths and lots of oils
  • Family TV watching: Ted Lasso, Bob’s Burgers, Blackish
  • Long walks
  • Exploring my neighborhood
  • Rhythms + Rituals – the daily chore list, morning meditation, evening gratitude, following the lunar cycle
  • Playing games – Superfight, Monopoly, Life, Cards Against Humanity
  • Happy Hours with my parents
  • Zoom dates with friends + family
  • Naps
  • Completing my stress cycle – swamping, jumping, shaking, breathwork
  • Being home
  • Watching shows with Chris: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, United Shades of America, Better Things, One Mississippi, Schitts Creek
  • Naps
  • Podcasts – Dolly Parton’s America, Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us, Morgan Harper Nichols
  • Sunday Sabbath and State of the Unions
  • Activism – writing, texting, calling, giving money
  • Biden/Harris winning the presidential election

 


Thank you for the space to grieve.

I grieved the losses of:

  • Hugs
  • Grandma – even though she died in 2019, I felt the loss more deeply this year
  • Spending time with my siblings and their children
  • Traveling – to see Chris’ family in Boise, Oregon Country Fair, Brownlee, the beach
  • George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Riah Milton, Dominique Remmiefells
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • John Lewis
oregon state capital building with a smoky, hazy, orange sky behind the building Tag: dear 2020

Oregon State Capitol in Smoke

Thank you for the teachers and mentors.

I welcomed new teachers and mentors:

  • Rachel Cargle
  • Morgan Harper Nichols
  • Colleen Jones
  • Prentis Hemphill
  • Sarah Gottesdiener
  • Marlee Grace
  • Emily and Amelia Nagoski
  • Alex Elle
  • Drew Hart

 

My 2020 contained so many FFTs (F**ing First Times – thank you, Brene Brown, for this descriptive term) – so much tragedy, loss, confusion, and struggle. It also contained magical synchronicity, unexpected joy, opportunities for rest, and deepened connection.

May we tuck away and integrate the lessons that are ours to carry forward, and may we leave behind what no longer serves us, as we cross the threshold from one year to the next.

car rear view mirror showing a snow capped mountain range in the mirror with evergreen trees lining the road behind the car Tag: dear 2020

Photo by Jack Hodges

If you’d like support as you reflect and process all that you’re leaving behind in 2020, I made you this free Reflection Guide.

I’m wishing you joy, peace, and rest – dear one. Here’s to continuing to show up for ourselves and each other in 2021.

With so much love,

Brea

Merry Everything

 

white letters spelling NOEL with green garland behind the letters and a christmas tree off to the side with gold ornaments Tag: merry everything

Photo by Caroline Hernandez

Merry Everything

One thing that unites many December holidays – is an honoring and celebration of LIGHT.

Being the darkest time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, we need intentional reminders that the light will return. This year maybe even more so than in other years.

Welcome the returning light

candle light with black background and red and green blurry lights Tag: merry everything

Photo by Davidson Luna

In our family, we’ve been lighting Advent candles, menorah candles, the Christmas tree, and the yule log. This time is always one of deep reflection, grief, gratitude, and the early whispers of coming dreams. 

If you’d like some inspiration as you reflect and dream during this transition from darkness to returning light, here’s an annual reflection guide to support you.

My wish for you

Tonight I’m celebrating Christmas Eve with my family, giving thanks for the precious gifts we’ve received and the lessons that have unfolded.

May this time of darkness and the returning of the light assist in opening wells of patience, peace, love, and joy within each of us. 

a green limb of an evergreen tree with the sun coming up with a forest and green field in the background Tag: merry everything

Photo by Isham Photos

 

I look forward to all that the coming year brings, and am so grateful for you as we venture together into 2021.

With so much love,
Brea

2020 Reflection: Gratitude and Grief

woman with brown hair sitting on bed with white blanket wearing a white shirt with red and orange flowers holding both hands to her heart Tag: 2020 reflection gratitude grief

Photo by Fa Barboza

Annual Reflection

The time has come to do your annual reflection. You’ve got a few hours blocked, drinks and whatever you’ll need to stay comfortable and focused as you move through the materials you gathered.

If you want a recap on the materials to gather, start here.

As you begin your reflection, I’ve created a template that you can use.

Enroll for free in this Annual Reflection course, and then you can you can save or print your Reflection Guide template here.

Gratitude and Grief

woman holding a yellow, heart shaped leaf with orange nail polish in the forefront of the picture and woman's head and trees are blurred in the background Tag: 2020 reflection gratitude grief

Photo by Jakob Owens

When you consider reflecting back over 2020, what feelings and sensations arise in your body?

Take time to notice and check in with your body this week – noticing the sensations and just observing them or moving as they call you to move. 

 

Reflecting on this intense year will likely bring up stuff for us. Part of this process is to meet what comes up – starting now – from a place of gentleness and curiosity. 

Essential oils to support reflection

Plants and elements from nature can support our emotional processing. Here’s an oil protocol to ground and center you, that encourages reflection and movement of stagnant energy. You can apply it daily during your reflection period.

person standing on the beach with the water reflecting the mountains in the distance and the blue and yellow sky "Reflect, balance | soles of feet, cardomom + arborvitae | navel, cypress | heart + foreheard, lime | solar plexus, vetiver | inside wrists, douglas fir + peppermint | back of neck, frankincense | top of head, cup hands and inhale" Tag: 2020 reflection gratitude grief

Balance – grounds your energy and spirit in your body, allowing you to access greater intuition and supporting you as you process emotions.

Cardamom – calls difficult emotions out of hiding, allowing you to move, feel, and process them to completion.

Arborvitae – brings extra support and grace to your vulnerability.

Cypress – stirs up stagnant energy and encourages movement.

Lime – eases pain, helps you connect to gratitude within Life’s lessons. 

Vetiver – helps you get in tune with your deepest emotions and desires.

Douglas Fir – calls in the wisdom and support of the generations who came before you.

Peppermint – infuses the process with clarity and playfulness.

Frankincense – opens you to divine wisdom, guidance, and truth.

Review

In order to cull all of the memories, milestones, themes and lessons from the past year, I first go back and do a month-by-month review. 

Monthly Play-by-Play: Milestones, Important Events, Memories, Themes

Using your calendar, journals, notes, and photos, rewind to January. Put yourself back in that month, as gently as possible, and remember what you experienced.

open calendar on desk with gold candles, flowers, brown straw hat, pen and marker, white sheet Tag: 2020 reflection gratitude grief

Photo by Estee Janssens

 

On your Reflection Guide under the section titled “Monthly Play-by-Play”, make notes about each month. 

  • What milestones did you cross?
  • What important events took place?
  • What memories do you have?
  • What themes were you working on or learning about?
  • What losses did you experience?
  • What did you celebrate?
  • What did you learn?

Stay with yourself

As you recall these memories, your nervous system will respond in kind. Let it.

Notice the emotions and sensations that are stirred in you. Breathe with them. Move with them. Cry with them. Laugh with them. Shake with them. 

Be gentle and patient with yourself as you do the work of completing the stress cycle. This is a key practice in moving away from burnout.

If you want support in being with these emotions, please reach out to me.

Highlights

man holding black framed glasses in the forefront with the man and background blurred Tag: 2020 reflection gratitude grief

Photo by Nathan Dumlao

Once you’ve made notes on each month of the past year, you’re ready to reflect on the year as a whole.

On your Reflection Guide, consider the highlights of the year. 

  • What were the most important events of the whole year?
  • What were the major milestones?
  • What themes emerged and played out over the course of the year?
  • What were the main lessons?

Favorites

Now let yourself have some fun, recalling all of your favorites from the last year. Use the template categories to inspire your reminiscing, and add categories of your own!

Takeaways

Spend some time reflecting on, synthesizing, and summarizing your takeaways from the past year.

  • What are you ready to forgive yourself for?
  • What are you thankful for?
  • What are you grieving?
  • What will you leave in 2020?
  • What are you welcoming into your life in 2021?

Closing Ceremony

Congratulations!! You’ve completed your annual reflection. 

You may feel many emotions after taking in your year as a whole. Closure, grief, gratitude, and sadness are all common. Completing a closing ceremony can help you to honor and embody all that you’ve reflected on.

There’s no right or wrong way to do a closing ceremony, so let yourself get creative. It can be as simple or as complex as you want! 

The goal is to allow the energy from your reflections to manifest or be expressed tangibly.

Some ideas to inspire you:

  • Write on pieces of paper all that you’re grieving, forgiving, or wanting to leave behind, and then burn them in a fire.
  • Use flying wish paper to release your lessons or desires.
  • Summarize your lessons on a 3×5 card and place it on your altar.
  • Create something with the energy and emotions you’re feeling: a dance, a poem, a painting, a hat, a cake…
  • Donate your time or money to an organization whose mission aligns with one of your lessons, griefs, or gratitudes.

Hello 2021

In the coming weeks I’ll begin my visioning for 2021, and look forward to sharing that process with you as well!

For now, I’m sending you so much love as you look back over your year. May we all be extra gentle with ourselves through this process. 

woman standing on the outside of a blue guard rail holding both hands out while she looks out at the blue ocean Tag: 2020 reflection gratitude grief

Photo by Nathan Dumlao

So much love,
Brea

Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021: Preparing for my annual reflection

blue background with black text goodbye Tag: goodbye 2020 annual reflection

Photo by Renee Fisher

Goodbye 2020: Annual Reflection

Near the end of each season, I spend time reflecting on the previous three months and planning for the next three months.

At the end of the year, I reflect and review the past 12 months, giving gratitude, grieving, forgiving and releasing the year. I dream into the coming year, making plans and setting intentions.

I’m preparing for my 2020 reflection, and I’d love for you to join me!

Prepare to Engage

Over the course of this month, I’ll be sharing my process with you and invite you to share yours with me. 

Here’s how you can participate:

  • Joining The Burnout Proof Interpreter Collective private Facebook group where we’ll be sharing and discussing our reflections and intentions
  • Sharing your reflection and intentions in the comments below as we move through the month
  • Replying to my weekly email love note where I’ll be sending out prompts and my own reflections

You can also of course keep your reflections and intentions private, and just use these posts as inspiration!

Prepare to Reflect: Set a time

man's hand holding a glass ball with a tree with pink flowers in the background and the sunset behind the trees Tag: goodbye 2020 annual reflection

Photo by Yeshi Kangrang

The first step in looking back over my year is to set aside a time to do it. There are a few parameters I consider:

  • When can I have everything gathered by? The list of what I like to gather is in the next section.
  • When do I have 2-3 hours to myself? If you need to break this up, schedule it in whatever increments will work for your schedule.
  • What time of day do I have the most energy? This reflection can be emotionally intense (especially after the kind of year we’ve just had) – schedule accordingly.

Once I’ve got my dates on the calendar, I know how much time I’ve got to gather my reflection items. 

Prepare to Reflect: Gather

The next step in looking back over my whole year is to gather the tools and info that will help me. 

Here’s what I gather:

  • Journals – I make a new one each month, so at the end of the year I have 12
  • Calendar – my Google calendar
  • Visioning + Intentions document – created the December before
  • Photos – I use Google photos, which makes it easier to jog my memory by looking up specific dates or locations
person standing on a beach in the distance with mountains in the background and a sunset reflected in the water Tag: goodbye 2020 annual reflection

Photo by Pepe Reyes

Over the years I’ve made it easier on myself by keeping all of these things in specific places, so I don’t have to spend too much time looking for them. 

If this is your first time, or you’re just developing your routines, do your future self a favor and spend some time getting intentional about where you keep your items during the year.

Thank yourself

If you’ve made it this far, preparing for your annual reflection, you’ve already given yourself a great gift! 

Spending time with yourself, giving care and attention to all that you’ve been through in the past year, goes so far toward developing a loving relationship between you and you. 

green evergreen forest of trees on the edge of a lake with fog coming off the water at the trees edge Tag: goodbye 2020 annual reflection

Photo by Juan Davila

Take a moment to thank yourself for devoting this time to you!

I look forward to sharing my review and reflection process with you next week! Until then, take such good care of your precious self.

This is not business as usual | Self-Care Strategies for Interpreting During a Pandemic

This is not normal. 

Interpreting during a pandemic, especially a VRS shift, is like entering a war zone. People are stressed, frustrated, in pain and completely freaked out – with good reason

Don’t treat your shift or yourself like this is a regular day. It’s not.

This is a triage situation. 

As interpreters, we can’t expect ourselves to be 24/7  enjoying our #quarantinelife, productive, #blessed, #handlingit, checking things off our bucket lists and doing our work like it’s business as usual.

This is not business as usual.“Interpreters are first responders who cannot respond.” - Babetta Popoff Tags: interpreting during a pandemic, covid-19

We are on the front lines, witnessing the lives of many people in crisis on a daily basis

Facilitating communication between people who are calm and connected is hard. Facilitating communication between people who are triggered, afraid, sick and overwhelmed is exponentially harder. It can be helpful to name why this is so hard. Let me offer a suggestion:

It is hard because you care.

Connect to the humanity of it. Seeing another human in pain (fear, frustration, anguish) causes us discomfort. It hurts because we care.

This hurt is compounded by the fact that we’re each personally going through hard things, so witnessing the pain of others lights up and intensifies our own personal pain.

Stress affects brain integration.

ID: 40 year old woman with short brown hair and mulitcolored sweater, pointing to her hand in a "4" handshape, symbolizing the brain as it dis-integrates. Tags: interpreting during a pandemic, brain integration, interpreter, self-care, flip your lid, freak out

Brain Dis-integration

When we’re calm, our brain is in a state of integration where all its parts work together to balance and support the other parts. We’re able to problem solve, understand different perspectives, organize our thoughts, and carry out our plans.

When our pain is lit up – when we’re stressed, overwhelmed, outraged, anxious – our brain’s connections dis-integrate, and we lose our ability to do all of those things. 

This video explains integration and disintegration with a ‘handy’ visual that you may just want to teach everyone you know. When you and those in your life have shared language for what’s happening inside, you can lean on it when times are rough. And boy, are they rough. 

Give yourself triage care whenever you can.

Identify ‘check points’ that remind you to scan your body for tension and breathe deeply into it, allowing it to release and relax. Even 5 second check points throughout the day can do wonders. During a VRS shift some check points could be:

  • During your setup process, just before you log in to take calls
  • While ringing or waiting for a caller to answer
  • While on hold
  • Between calls
  • When you log out for a break
  • When you return from a break
  • At the end of your shift

Make self-care a habit.

During this crisis, as interpreters we must have time and practices built into our lives to care for ourselves – to be able to handle the stress we’re exposed to and experiencing. This includes time to cry and grieve and scream and break down. Time to laugh and connect and time to just let ourselves be

Daily reflective practice allows our nervous systems a chance to decompress and rest, and builds stronger connections toward integration.

You wouldn’t ask your car to keep running without giving it gas. Don’t ask your heart, mind, or body to show up to work without having what it needs.

A daily self-care practice creates stronger connections for brain integration.

As you flex this muscle of integration, over time you will find it easier to stay calm through the hard stuff. When those around you are in disintegration, or when things are tough for you personally, your brain will naturally maintain integration in more and more difficult situations for longer periods of time.

The goal is not to become immune to disintegration, it’s to notice it.

We are human. The ability of our brain to prioritize safety when necessary is a very good thing. The goal then becomes a growing level of consciousness, where we’re able to shorten the time it takes to return to integration when we’re not actually in danger, and where we’re able to be gentle with ourselves and others throughout this messy process of being human.

In this integrated state, we become a true source of support for those around us, and are able to act with more compassion and empathy – for ourselves and others.

May we make this state of integration, compassion, and empathy the new normal.