We’ve been through it together: child-rearing, marriage, separations, divorce, dating, deaths, grief, illnesses, family craziness, betrayals, business dilemmas, institutional madness, and world crises, just to name a few. Does this sound like your life, too? We bet it does, because we know we’re not alone and that this is life.
We just celebrated our silver anniversary—our 25th anniversary as friends and colleagues. For our 15th anniversary we created something we called Enlightened Lunches, a monthly lunch and learn series about timely topics and useful skills. For our 25th anniversary, we are creating MessyMarvelous, because we are still passionate about helping people with the messiness of life, hoping there will be more marvelous moments.
Technology is allowing us to broaden our impact and to spread the word. A little age and some chutzpah encourages us to speak from our hearts more freely.
My professional life has been a pilgrimage. I never expected to become a therapist, or a writer for that matter. I began my professional life as a teacher. In my middle school classroom, though, I found I was as interested in my students’ lives as I was in their academic achievement. I spent many lunch hours and after-school hours listening to accounts of very messy lives. Eventually I got my Master’s Degree in counseling and became a school counselor. From there I moved into private practice mostly as a way to have flexible time to devote to mothering my daughter, which was and still is a passion of mine. Now, licensed as a professional counselor and as a marriage and family therapist, I try to stay open to wherever the journey will take me.
I use an integrative approach when working with people, looking for the interface of psychology and spirituality. My training as a spiritual director and my D.Min. in spiritual formation have supported that approach. I am also passionate about relationships, so I work with a lot of couples. Talk about messy work! And somewhere along the way, I started writing. I had a book published, which, in its own way, is about how to journey through life, moment to moment. Whether I am coaching, practicing therapy, speaking, leading retreats, or writing, my roots as an educator are always being used. To read more of my writing, you can visit www.amysandermontanez.com.
If I continue to learn anything in this life, it is that regardless of MY plans, sometimes, the most marvelous things lie on a path I never expected. My career in psychology that I love came after a life-changing injury. I never would have dreamed I’d one day be teaching the very courses and in the very classrooms as in my undergraduate years. The mentoring community I cherish and which has given me delightful professional experiences developed after I didn’t get my first choice of doctoral internships. All of my plans about being married for a lifetime to one person didn’t work out. It has been a messy journey that didn’t follow my well-laid plans for my life. And yet, I marvel at the joy I experience every day.
What I have learned in all this mess is that the old adage “when one door closes, another one opens” is true. But it is most true when we remain open to mystery. I’ve also learned that there is potential for excitement when I embrace the messiness of ambiguity; when I don’t have an absolute plan or when I don’t know what’s next but am willing to walk through that door. The last couple of years have been a whole new set of twists and very messy turns I didn’t see coming; yet, I have a very strong sense of marvelous things ahead. I’m entering a new specialty area in my psychology practice and I am now a blogger—two things I never saw in my future but which are pretty exciting. My personal life is not planned out but I sense that it will all work out well. After all, making a solid plan doesn’t seem to work—at least for me.
So—I am a Native Texan; I am a psychologist; I am a mother; I am a friend; I am a teacher; I am a blogger. I love music, dance, yoga, camping, traveling, gardening, poetry, painting, and my wet tile saw. I have very little idea what’s around the next turn but I am sure that it will be a messy, marvelous adventure—as usual!