doing it anyway

I've been thinking for quite a while about how I want to carve out my little corner of Web in this new phase of my life as a Tennesseean and LMSW psychotherapist. I have had numerous blogs in the past -- and the ones I stuck with the longest were way back in my teen angst high school days, when blogging was a huge outlet for me. When I think of blogging in my role as a helping professional, I usually end up paralyzed with all kinds of unhelpful thoughts like, "Look how many brilliant therapists and life coaches are already out there blogging! I have nothing unique or interesting to add to the conversation, so why bother?" and "Wow, I will never be as successful as that person, and how is it fair that she is gorgeous on top of everything?!" and "Why didn't I just go to business school?"

As I said, not very helpful thoughts. So here I am, sitting at home and not feeling so great -- trying to wish away some kind of throat ailment before a big choir concert this Sunday -- and I just thought, ENOUGH.

Enough waiting. Enough paralysis. Enough comparison. Enough.

I have something to say. And despite my fears and insecurities, I'm doing it anyway, because I believe something good will come of it for me and hopefully for readers, too.

The things I have to say may not be brand new or genius, and they certainly won't always be poetic. But I'm going to say them anyway.

I chose "Waking Up in Wonder" as the name of this blog because I'm very interested both personally and professionally in the power of mindfulness (the "waking up" part), and when I am "awake," I am in awe of the beauty, wonder, love, pain, science, and mystery of the universe. I've learned a lot in the past two years about mindfulness and its various therapeutic applications in DBT, ACT, etc. (more on those later), and the more I learn, the more I realize that being mindful just means being truly alive, and that most of us in western culture have to intentionally learn and practice mindfulness, because it goes against almost everything we learn in our society. Despite my knowledge of mindfulness in psychotherapy, I know that I have a long way to go with integrating it more into my own day-to-day life. (I am Gen-Y, after all... Facebook and iPhone be damned.)

"Waking up in wonder" is something that I want to practice multiple times a day. In the literal sense of waking up each morning -- and that will get its own post soon, as I am so. not. a morning person  -- but also at moments throughout the day that I notice myself checking out and not experiencing the utter splendor of the world around me. I hope some of the things that I write about encourage other folks to do the same.

Welcome, and I hope you'll follow along. Namaste.

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Valerie Martin

Valerie Martin, LMSW, is a Primary Therapist at The Ranch residential treatment center, where she works with eating disorders, addiction, trauma, and co-occurring mental health issues. Valerie focuses on a holistic treatment approach of mind + body integration, using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), somatic and bioenergetic therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), psychodrama, 12-step, and shame resilience. She is also a Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist (CSAT) Candidate. Valerie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Master of Science degree in Clinical Social Work at the University of Texas in Austin. She is an active member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Nashville, and emphasizes spiritual exploration in her work with clients.