It started as a Facebook post…

It started as a Facebook post…

Right, Facebook. Loads of things are on my mind. Too many! 

I attended the SEI awards on Tuesday night, which marked the end of a 12 month journey of major learning, progress and pivots. A really personal journey. Let me tell you, it has been a roller coaster. I’m still baffled I even won the award in 2015! An amazing organisation, truly, and a heartfelt hug of thanks for my mentor, Sara Dennedy, who was a rock of sanity throughout. My biggest learning? Two things: 1. Scheduled time out is imperative, and 2. While I am a visionary – passionate, outside-the-box and bigger-picture oriented – delivery of services, the actual work, being with my clients, supporting diverse lives, is where I add the most value. All the new awardees reminded me of my energy 12 months ago and pushed me to refocus: what was my original mission? What did I originally want to do before even bigger ideas took hold? I looked an my mission board from my time at the School for Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, when I had long hair and zero self-esteem, and it was simple:

Make Speech & Language Therapy Services Accessible to the Irish Transgender Community. 

Setting up a business – strategy, social media, VAT returns, legal structuring – was a real struggle for me. I am not industrious. The last year has been about simplifying the process and making it sustainable, and I have had amazing support, through the SEI programme, my business consultant Samantha Magee, from the trans community as well as from my friends and family. Keep simplifying. Keep scaling back, so that you might scale up and reach. Be practical I suppose. And take care of yourself! Don’t burn out!

My most important work is my voice therapy work (I intend “voice” here in it’s literal and metaphorical sense – expressing, voicing, the self). I know how much this service helps the people I work with and how much I love doing it. I have invested years of academic study and personal time in developing my expertise. I have more to learn, always. But this is the work I love to do. When I talk about voice work, personal expression, finding the truth within, people smile at my passion. Something happens to me and I suddenly feel as though I know what I am talking about. I feel good! The rest of the time I feel like an imposter – barely holding adult life together and giving my self an awful ol’ time, fighting the urge to self destruct and run for the hills.

So, back to the basics. Back to the truth, to the start. A bit like my pal T.S. Eliot says,

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time…”
For me it’s a bit of decluttering too. Less time on Facebook, more time on my M.A. (yes, I’ve been doing a Masters throughout all this!). Less time dreaming of new services I could provide, more time deepening my current practice. Less time talking the talk, more time sharing the knowledge. What I want, what I really want, if I sit still and listen to my heart, is three things (the power of three eh?):
1. To reach more clients, either 1:1 or in groups, for speech & language therapy. Transgender clients, and general voice clients (more on this to come…)
2. To reach out to Speech & Language Therapists and empower them to provide this service to trans clients, through training, mentoring, and resources (more on this to come…)
3. To deepen my practice, through study, personal development and travel (India is calling me, more on this to come…)
There are so many more possibilities. The weight of possibility, potential, and obligation, is massive. There is a constant flow of information in my every day life, which I know is the same for everyone, particularly social justice advocates. It makes it really hard to stand still. I read this lovely quote by Lao Tzu, which is my justification for pulling back from social media (the original reason for this Facebook post, which turned into a big long life affirming blog):
“To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.”
The wisdom is already there. The truth is already there, if we can just be courageous enough and quiet enough to stand still and listen to it, in the midst of all the noise, “in the stillness between two waves of the sea…” I have to do this. My clients and colleagues inspire me to do this, and I aim to create a safe space for them to do the same. So now I am doing it. You mightn’t even notice I am doing it.
But I will 🙂
7 Comments
  • Sarah Moore

    October 13, 2016 at 2:33 pm Reply

    ????

  • Seán Millar

    October 13, 2016 at 3:06 pm Reply

    Rachel,Follow your heart, follow your creativity.
    Everything else works itself out retrospectively.Love. Uncle S.

    • Rachel

      October 14, 2016 at 10:52 am Reply

      Thank you Uncle x

  • Jill Carew

    October 13, 2016 at 10:31 pm Reply

    Wishing you all the best Rachel,
    I know whatever you decide to do you will give it your everything as you are very professional in all you do, I think this is why you are so successful.
    Jill

    • Rachel

      October 21, 2016 at 10:45 am Reply

      Thank you Jill – that’s a lovely thing to say 🙂

  • James kelly

    October 14, 2016 at 4:46 pm Reply

    You inspire . That is just one of your many gifts.

  • Kirk McCormack

    October 15, 2016 at 9:06 pm Reply

    Excellent Rachel. All at once an emotive and strategic piece of writing and decision making. Rinse and repeat as needed. Kirk

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