Hesychia: Day 2, Week 2

The hardest thing about practicing is not getting to try again.

I directed my first spiritual direction session today.  Ever since yesterday, I have been plagued with periodic attacks of anxiety imagining myself in the director’s chair on display within the fishbowl having to perform for the group.  Today I tried to tell myself that the nervous energy I was feeling was really excitement and that I was ready for this.

And then I spent the whole 25-minute session trying to control my shaking and relax at the same time.  My goodness, I was in a state!  My facial muscles were twitching, and my body was tense.  My fingers were fidgeting, and my heart was pounding so loudly I could barely hear my directee speak not two feet away from me.  I spent most of the session trying to breathe deeply to calm my heart and hoping no one could tell how internally stressed out I was!

The good news is, God showed up.  My directee did not pick up on my anxiety at all and was not “blocked” by anything about my demeanor.  In fact, he actually appreciated my attentive presence and reported that the word I had shared that seemed to name some of his experience was really insightful and helped open up a new avenue for him to explore.

The group was gentle. They acknowledged my anxiety and offered suggestions for next time.  The facilitator actually made some revisions to some of what we had learned last week about how to interact with the directee in a session that was really freeing for our whole group.  So we all learned together.

It was both affirming and a learning experience.  I was proud of myself for having taken the risk to name what I was hearing in the session and was honored that it resonated with my directee.  I was proud of myself for taking the risk to participate in the practicum at all.  No one was holding me there. I could have skipped out. I could have even quit back on Day 2, Week 1 when I was so full of doubt and discouragement.  But I stayed. I tried. I learned.

And you know what? I wanted to go again and put my learning to use right away to see what it felt like to be a little looser and more myself in the session.  I wanted to try more active and reflective listening.  I wanted to pause and ask a deeper question. I wanted to be in the hot spot again!

I’m actually disappointed I won’t have another opportunity to play the director in practicum until we return for Session 2 in April.  What a change from last week at this time.  What a change from this morning!  This morning I was trying to convince myself that my anxiety was excitement.  Now my excitement has actually usurped my anxiety.  Now my heart is beating in anticipation.  Now that I have tried and learned, I feel ready to do this.  I can do this!

As the Little Engine said,

I thought I could! I thought I could!  I thought I could!

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