Becoming a Social Worker (part II).

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April 18th 2019 – Mt. Oberon Summit Peak, Wilsons Promontory National Park – Victoria, Australia 

I am a social worker. I completed a degree, got a certificate and am now qualified for most ‘human services’ type jobs. Although I can label myself a social worker, I believe the process of becoming a social worker takes many years and I am far from it.

It has been about 1 year and 5 months now that I have read, listened and worked with the life narratives of families.  Their lives are written as stories on paper and with them, we work to rewrite, reframe and remind them that life can be different.

More people are seeking help, more referrals are coming through for support, day in and day out, I am reminded that people and their lives are complicated. In most cases, their lives now are a result of generations of trauma. I am reminded that there is a lot beneath the surface and today’s society can encourage us to push it further down so that we go into dark places, lonely and alone.

Becoming a social worker takes courage because you have to sit with a lot of discomfort and responsibility. The personalities that are attracted to the field are sensitive by nature and drawn to the troubles and troubled in life. Our sensitivity is crucial to understanding people but also makes us vulnerable to vicarious trauma. We leave a part of ourselves open so that we can connect and immerse in the stories we want to mend, to search for a glimmer of hope in the people we work with to support them to positively propel forward.

Despite, our acute awareness of social problems, and the constant exposure to peoples pain and fear, we are able to find light in the darkest of stories and gratitude in the hardest of times. We wear our hearts on our sleeve and keep moving forward, searching for justice in every bullet that comes our way.

I am grateful that I am going through the process of becoming a social worker. It pushes me to be strong when I want to give up, teaches me that life goes on for everyone when things don’t work out and to never stop questioning why.  I am so excited to learn in the years to come.

*30th Jan 2017 I wrote a piece with the same name.

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Today I am grateful for:

A restful Sunday

My mother

Fresh air

 

 

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A Plastic World.

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I walk around these days and all I see is plastic.

Plastic that I’ve never noticed before.

Plastic that makes me feel angry, frustrated and dissappointed at humans.

Plastic that is ruining the world.

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My goal in reducing the amount of plastic I use has been an year long journey and is one that continues. When you stop and think, you realise how much plastic and disposable material humans go through in their short time here on earth.

I don’t know when it all clicked in my head and I started to make the connections but it has made a big difference to the way I live my life. These are not big changes but I know they make a big impact environmentally.

And so I extend the love and compassion I give to people, to the environment every single day and am a firm believer of the quote-

Be the change you wish to see in the world

I have seen my efforts have a ripple effect on those around me by just being concious of how I live my life.

These are the ways I have changed my day to day living to reduce plastic, I am not perfect but I am trying:-

  1. Reusable bags – I keep reusable bags in my car, at home and at work. Whenever I buy something and I have forgetten my bag, I simply don’t take a plastic one. I hold the things I bought in my hands.
  2. Light-weight thin reuseable bags – For vegetable and fruit produce when doing groceries. (https://www.thefregiesack.com.au)
  3. Frank Green Reusable cup – I don’t remember the last time I took a take away cup for coffee. If i don’t have my cup, I don’t take take away, I simple sit and enjoy coffee at a cafe. (https://frankgreen.com/au/)
  4. Menstrual Cup – Instead of single use pads, a silicon menstrual cup can last many many years and save a lot of money. (https://www.juju.com.au)
  5. Who Gives a Crap recycable toilet paper (https://au.whogivesacrap.org)
  6. Wooden spork – this is simply a spoon and fork made out of bamboo which can be used instead of take away cutlery. (https://www.ukonserve.com/Bamboo-Utensil-p/uk016.htm)
  7. Metal straw – a metal straw that is reusable and washable instead of single use plastic straws. (https://www.biome.com.au/805-reusable-straws)
  8. Water bottle – I carry it every where I go and if I didn’t bring it, I simply look for a water fountain.
  9. Reusable food wraps – A replacement for cling wrap, wraps made out of plant/bees wax that mould to the shape of anything and keep your food covered. (http://wrappa.com.au)
  10. Vapouriser/ diffuser/ essential oils – Instead of candles to scent your environment, essential oils also have different health benefits as well. (https://www.doterra.com/US/en)
  11. Bokashi Bin – I live in an apartment worm farming isn’t ideal but a small bokashi bin has completely cut off my food wastage, everything is composted and put back into the earth. I simply add my compast to a communal compost bin when my bin is full.
  12. French press + loose coffee beans – Instead of single use coffee pods for a coffee machine.
  13. Bulk-food stores – I have found a local bulk food stores that has everything from spirulina to rice, chocolate and shampoo. I simply bring glass jars to the store, weigh the jar and fill the jar with as much product as I like. No plastic, no waste.
  14. Soap Berries – A recent addition to doing my laundry. A soap nut that is a natural surfactant and is compostable. With the use of essential oils, clothes will be clean and smell clean. (https://www.thatredhouse.com.au)

There are many more ways to incorporate a day to day eco-friendly lifestyle but it is a process. I have made a lot changes and honestly there is no better feeling than coming back from a shopping trip and knowing that you did not harm the environment by the purchases you made. I say start somewhere and start now.

We should all stop being lazy and take responsibility for what is happening to the environment we live in. We have evolved to be a race that indulges in single use items, sadly the world isn’t designed for this privilge. We need to realise that the earth isn’t disposable or single use, we have ONE EARTH and that is it.  

Education.

I never thought that I would be living in a country with so much privilege and still be fighting for the rights to education.

Humans. We categorize, we classify and we discriminate.

There is a lot I can’t say but I cannot comprehend how anybody can make an argument against the importance of education.

No amount of money can ever be equivalent to how much education is worth – it is priceless.

To be able to read, write, speak, make meaningful social connections, have a voice and so much more is what school gives a child.

As adults, taking a child’s rights to education for ANY reason is a disservice to humanity itself.

 

– 2018 –

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‘Speed doesn’t matter, forward is forward’ – 

This is my theme, quote or mantra for the year.

The transition from being a university student to now starting fulltime work can bring up a lot of uncertainty and mixed feelings about where you are going.

I find that being at university, I always felt I was going somewhere or doing something with the constant reassurance and positive feedback from lecturers and friends that I am doing well and in the right direction. This is hard to find when you aren’t in that environment, so as someone who thrives off feedback, I can feel a little lost without it – stagnant.

I have this quote plastered everywhere, so it prompts reflection on where I am and what I have been doing and that pace doesn’t matter. It is easy to compare, sometimes things that are not even of interest to you can make you feel as though you are not good enough if someone else is doing it. It feels ridiculous to feel envy or jealousy when someone else has something that you don’t even want but it happens.

So this year I will take my time, try my best to live in the moment, appreciate how far I have come and continue to grow – never stop learning. 

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5 things I am grateful for today

Meeting old friends, having meaningful conversations, reflecting about life and our futures.

My family and their never-ending support.

Quiet breezy mornings.

Eye-opening and informative books.

Nature. 

I’m not lost, I’m on my way.

 

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19th November 2017 – Mount Kosciuszko, Thredbo Australia – One of my goals this year was to climb to the summit of Mt. Kosciuszko, time and weather didn’t allow but I made it as far as I could, turned back and made it an adventure for another day. 

 

As exciting as new beginnings can be, it also brings confusions to where you want to go. It feels as though we are supposed to have it all figured out. But I don’t. I saw the following phrase/poem on Facebook, I loved the change in perspective and carefree nature of it:-

I stopped telling myself that I’m lost,

I’m not.

I’m on a road with no destination, I’m just driving with hope that I’ll find a place that I like and I’ll stay there.

I’m not lost, I’m on my way. 

~ Ahunnaya

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5 things I am grateful for today:

the stormy weather

opportunities, possibilities

days off work

life

nature

 

 

Spring & Health

18 days into the month of spring but today was the first day signs of spring were in the air. It was warmer, the wind was fierce and musty as it carry’s particles of pollen on a journey to a place to begin anew. Spring makes me feel happy and light and just as it is new beginnings for nature, it feels like new beginnings to me too.

2 days ago I decided to stop putting a price on my health. There was an exercise regime I have wanted to commit to for awhile now however the price tag pushes me away. I am generally healthy, I try to be however over the past year I have definitely had too many meals that don’t do much benefit to my body and I am starting to feel the consequences.

I put all the guilt that comes with investing in my health aside and signed up for it. It’s funny because I’ve probably spent many dollars on gym memberships and never gone or not made the most of it without feeling guilty. I decided that I rather pay for something more expensive that I know that I will do than something that isn’t, which I won’t end up using anyway.

Money is complicated and I am trying to develop a healthier, richer mindset about money. I think not putting a price tag on my physical or mental wellbeing is a step in the right direction. Afterall, putting in the effort to be healthy now, means less bills later in life, bills that will probably come in big lumps. Your body is all you have got till the end of your life, it can enhance the way you live or limit it and you are stuck with so it so best take care of it.

So what shifted my mindset?

  • Reading ‘How not to die’ by Dr. Michel Greger – He goes through the top non-communicable diseases in society, addressing why they are present and then how to lessen the chances of an early death.
  • Downloading Dr. Michel Greger’s Daily Dozen app (it’s free) – it provides a rough estimate of how much fruits, vegetables, nuts and all the good stuff you need daily to maintain your health. The more things you tick off the list, the better your gut will feel.
  • Reading ‘You are a badass at making money’ by Jen Sincero – I don’t agree with all she says but I have taken on board the good bits. I have become aware of my own negative mindset when it comes to money and am slowly shifting it.
  • Reading ‘Gut’ by Guilia Enders – this book provides the science behind how your gut works, the mechanisms and its importance in our function as humans.

I don’t think any one of these resources on it’s own would have really helped me. I think it’s the combination and holisitic understanding I have now that has shifted my mindset. I am so glad because better late than never plus my degree is coming to an end so fulltime work means i’ll have to manage an income wisely. No better time to learn about money and health than now.

(Note: Only spend money on things that are within your means. Just like your health, your finances are important too. If you want to pay for something that you feel you can’t afford, perhaps analuse your spendings and see what ‘luxury’ items you can sacrifice to allow space for other things in your life. That is what I did. )

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5 things I am grateful for today:

Spring

My Determination

Relaxing days

Being alive

Books, books, books

 

 

Breathe.

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breathe in, love.

breathe out, hate. 

breathe in, gratitude.

breathe out, resentment.

breathe in, joy.

breathe out, hostility. 

breathe in.

breathe out.

Clarity. Carefree. Content. 

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5 things I am grateful for today:

Life

Love

Simplicity

Chance to relax

Books that are practical