There are many things going on in life right now. Some are great, and some are…not so much.

On the positive side; I was able to get the internship I wanted for my senior field work next fall. As part of the social work program, our senior field is an internship lasting both fall and spring sessions. The work should be at least 16 hours a week, and includes classwork, forms such as process recordings, and a capstone project.

The internship will be at the VA in Brockton, and will entail working with nursing-home eligible veterans with spinal cord injuries. These are veterans in long-term care, and the work includes group therapy, individual assistance, case management, and other things I will learn later. I am psyched for this opportunity. When discussing the possibility with the department field work supervisor, we checked off all the boxes I was looking for in a field placement; elders, long-term care, hospital, and veterans. This is the work I have wanted to do, and jumped at the chance to do it.

I also recently had to look for paid work. Two years ago this May, Borders Books in Hyannis closed for the last time, and since then the state has been helping me and my family get through my taking classes with unemployment assistance. Now, two years later, that assistance is over. I couldn’t have made it this far into the program without that help. Massachusetts is one of the best states for unemployment, and I and my family are better off for having it. Many bills would have been unpaid and grocery trips skipped otherwise. One more thing to be said for living in a solid Blue state.

The job I was offered recently, and took, is working at Father Bill’s homeless shelter in Quincy doing support staff work from 4 pm-midnight three days a week. Part of this involves helping check people in and other front-desk duties. The rest I’ll learn about soon in training. It feels great to know that not only am I getting a paid job for the first time in two years, but it is something¬† I want to be doing.

This semester we helped with a research project where the class interviewed guests of the MainSpring shelter in Brockton. The experience reminded me of why I wanted to go into social work, and I knew that I needed to work in the shelter. Talking with the men and women, listening to their stories, but not being able to delve deeper into what they were saying since we had to stick to interview protocols, was frustrating. My hope is that in taking this job I can help, and learn from the people and experience. I’m excited to have this job and work with this population.

All of this I chalk up to what happens when you stop fighting and pushing to move your life in specific directions. As Aleister Crowley once said; “A man who is doing his true will has the inertia of the universe behind him.” I’ve always thought it was a nice quote, and haven’t really understood it until now. (I hear you…”Crowley? Really? Weirdo…” But I worked in a bookstore, and as a person on a spiritual quest in such circumstances I read everything I could get my hands on. As Robert Hunter and Gerry Garcia wrote; “Once in a while you get shown the light/in the strangest of places/ if you look at it right.” A great piece of advice.)

Maybe some fine day I’ll write a but about Buddhist conceptions of karma; easily one of the most misunderstood aspects of the religion. Actually the link is the best explanation I’ve found, so I can check that off the to-do list.

I bring up karma because in one sense it is about actions and consequences. For me specifically, it involves damage I inflicted on my body over a ten-year span. The good news is that I’m recovery, and doing pretty well with it. The unfortunate news is that I am left with Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and it’s brother Barret’s Esophagus. Oh; and I have a hiatus hernia (aka hiatal hernia) too.

This entails a complete change in eating habits. No more acidic foods, such as tomatoes! Thai food! coffee!! and pretty much every else I love to eat. Sriracha! Oh well.

I will meet with a nutrtionist soon, and see if there is more to life than apples and cinnamon, bananas and salad. And black licorice! That is the one good news, and explains why I’ve always loved the stuff. Anisette cookies are still on the menu! It also probably explains why I’ve loved Galliano all these years, although that is obviously off the menu anyway.

So there are ups and downs, like always. The frustrating thing, especially with the hernia, is that when the GERD acts up and keeps me awake late into the night, like tonight, then the hernia also acts up. That means no picking up the grandkids to give hugs, or play with them for any length of time. There is no way to get comfortable, since the pain shoots around the front to back, until it feels like my middle is on fire. It also makes it hard to walk across campus with my backpack on, like today, which is causing these issues now. I had a bad night last week, and overdid some lifting a couple of days later, and nowhere I am. Waiting for the pain killer to kick in and kick my butt.

So a lesson; don’t ignore your heartburn! Find out what caused it and STOP DOING IT for Chrissakes. It’s nothing to fool around with.

 

Sorry there isn’t more fun. So many other things are happening; my volunteer job is great, there’s new Kristin Hersh music, Chucklehead is talking reunion, hockey playoffs are starting soon…more and better stuff next time!

 

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