For as long as I can remember, I have been a caretaker. I learned empathy as a young child and became highly sensitive to the world around me. I also learned how to read people and social cues very well and became adept at making situations really smooth and easy. I never liked conflict and didn't really know how to process or address anger and undoubtedly, somewhere in the mix, I lost sight of myself and forgot who I was.
In college, I was in a particularly intense relationship---where I experienced large bouts of anxiety and periods of longing that were so intense that I could barely stand on my own two feet. When I was around him, I was overjoyed and elated---and when I would leave him to go back to my college dorm, I felt scared and so alone that I thought the walls of my life would cave in on me. I was in therapy and I felt the most disconnected from myself than I probably ever had. During that time in my life, I was willing to focus all my energy on this other human and it just stopped working.
I remember making lists of things that I liked down in my journal to help jog my memory about who this Brooke person was. Cinnamon, vanilla, nature, walks, friends, coffee, live music, art----and the list went on and on. I had forgotten who I was to my core and myself just bottomed out. I have made it my mission over the past 10 or so years to really get to know and understand who I am, since that doesn't come naturally to me, especially when I step into the caretaker, empath role. It can be draining to not know exactly where my boundaries lie and so I have had to teach myself.
I really do think that I was brought to this earth in order to not only heal others, but also very much so to heal myself in the process. The space holding and support that I so easily give is, consequently, something that is begging to be learned as a self-practice. When I started Open Circle Healing, I knew deep in my gut that this was something that I really wanted to commit myself to....and when I make a commitment to something like this that really feels in alignment with what I want, I am all in. The beauty of this work lies in the necessity implicit within it for me to get to know myself better; what my boundaries and limits are--what my preferences are---what resonates as true for me even if it doesn't resonate with others around me. This, as much as it is a business of helping others---is a business of helping myself.
I write this currently from a bed and breakfast in Wimberly, Texas, which is one of several heart homes that I am lucky to feel completely at ease in. I found this place on a random google search one afternoon a couple years ago during a time when a confusing relationship was nearly ending and I just needed to give myself some space. This time, I'm not here because of a relationship, but rather because I really desired to take myself here again on a solo retreat of sorts to clear my space, to rejuvenate from working so much these past few months and simply because I wanted to (and that is enough of a reason for me nowadays). If I cannot make time for myself, then I cannot make time for my clients, friends or family.
The owner of this place asked me what I was going to go do here and I told her simply, I'm here to write. Austin is loud. Wimberly is quiet. I need this space...she then told me she always envied writers---and that she had an apple pie baking in the oven and to help myself to hot tea. I feel really blessed in this lifetime. I am in love with the journey of life with all its ups and down, twists and turns and I am, now, more than ever, committed to loving me because at the end of the day, I am the one looking out for myself.