Oct 07, 2020

Building Resilience: My Experience of ZCP’s Sessions

Noriko Smith is a Massage Therapist who works with medically fragile adults and children, including in a family cancer center. Noriko also volunteers as a Gentle Touch Therapist at a children’s hospital and a hospice in California.

In November 2018, we lost our home of 22 years in The Woolsey fire in Malibu, CA. We lost everything. When we had to evacuate, I took only our cats and a dog and a carry-on bag. The next day we heard the news that our house was completely gone. I couldn’t function at all for at least a couple of months. There was no hope, total devastation. I never thought I would be able to get over the sadness and anger or feelings of loss. I am still in the grieving process.

Then the pandemic hit, and like so many people, I wasn’t able to carry out my work, and that’s when I found Zen Caregiving Project’s online sessions and I am so glad I did.

One of the most important things I learned from the sessions was how to acknowledge the suffering I was experiencing and stop judging myself.  I usually try to discount my suffering and criticize myself for not being strong but the sessions helped me to acknowledge my suffering and the feelings of all the loss I had experienced. They helped me tell myself “You are doing good. You are more than enough”. I’ve realized how important it is to bring compassion to myself as well as others.

The sessions also definitely helped with my anxiety. I have suffered from depression and anxiety for many years. My mind gets stuck in the future or the past worrying about things I don’t have control of. But since attending the sessions, I can now notice when I am in an anxious state, recognize my feelings and accept them instead of covering them up or running away from them. Throughout the months I’ve attended the sessions I have also seen my emotional capacity growing. Instead of reacting quickly to my kids or husband, I can pause and observe myself and respond in a more helpful way (well, at least I think that’s the case!)

The whole experience of taking these sessions has helped me be more in touch with my emotions and open to sharing my feelings and being more vulnerable. And I’ve discovered that when I become more vulnerable, I also become more resilient.

We finally just got the rebuilding permit, believe or not, almost 2 years after the fire happened. There have certainly been a lot of struggles between now and then. Obstacles and challenges keep coming. It’s called life I guess… which is why I so appreciate the Zen Caregiving Project’s sessions, as they support me in accepting what is happening now, no matter what is going on in my life.

We all have gifts. I believe we are given this life to deliver our gifts. I thank Zen Caregiving Project for the gift of these courses.

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