Spirituality IS a major component of my work because it is a major part of who I am as a person and a major driving force for how I live my life. The DBT-CBT recovery workbook that I wrote was initially written as a Christian DBT-CBT workbook; however, due to the biblical focus, I was not able to use it in the therapy group I conduct at the state hospital. At the hospital, I was using packets of information (handouts) that summarized the major DBT-CBT concepts without spiritual references. The patients continually asked for more information to study outside of group, to work on at home when discharged, and to share with their families…while all my time and energy was being spent on developing the Christian workbook. The pressure mounted and I felt I had to leave the Christian project and develop a secular workbook for use with my patients. Believe it or not, I feel God blessed that endeavor and guided the writing of the secular workbook.
Here’s the brief story. While working on the Christian workbook, I became pregnant at the ripe age of 43 and naturally lost the energy and focus on the workbook. I ended up losing the baby and did not immediately resume work on the workbook after physically recovering. Within months, the internal (and external) pressure to write a workbook for patient use was mounting and by the following January, I was absolutely tormented by it…I had no peace. I was so burdened by my lack of focus on the workbook that I had to complete a Wise Mind Worksheet to deal with it! Of course, the end result was to set a date to re-engage in the writing process, but to abandon the Christian workbook to focus on a secular one. I finally said, “Okay God, I’ll do it…I’ll start on January…” and I specified the date.
Amazingly, at that moment of submission of my will, I lost that pressure…that tormenting burden…and I finally felt “at peace.” Oddly enough, as I write this now, I realize the date set was the time period when the baby was due…towards the end of January that year…pretty cool synchronicity!
When the agreed upon start date came, I got back into the workbook as I agreed to do. I took out all the biblical references and began writing it for a secular audience. I remained insanely focused on the project for the following 23 months…until I “got ‘er done!” That was 23 months of near “24-7” focus on the workbook during non-hospital job waking hours! Everywhere I went, the workbook went…kid sport practices, rodeos, traveling even 45 miles from home, “vacations,” and even to Six Flags! I said it was an “insane” focus!
Once the book was in print, I’d flip through it…and would be stunned at the amount of work and time that went into it. It is astounding. I’ve often said of myself that “I was born to work” and I’ve recently decided that my degree of task energy and persistence is a God given quality…because it is soooo unnatural…and if I had it my way, I’d play and entertain myself instead! I whole-heartedly believe that God is the driving force that has enabled me the capacity to pull off the projects I have pulled off in my life! Without the hand of God in my life, I really don’t think I would have made it through all the life experiences I have been through…the good ones and the bad ones.
All in all, spirituality is a major driving force in my life…something that defines my life…and thus flows into all aspects of my work…and not just in the form of “works”…but also in how I choose to interact with the people that are a part of my life…including the patients I serve!
What about you? How does your spirituality affect your work?