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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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How to Integrate your Gift into a Healthy Life

Uploaded: Feb 12, 2022
I’m writing to you from Ashland, Oregon, famous for their Shakespeare Festival. I notice how much slower the pace is here than in Silicon Valley. I observe drivers being kind to one another. I awoke to see the sunrise, and watched the sunset. What happened in between? I wrote and wrote, reflecting on my life, even though that’s not what I set out to write today. I’m going to share a bit of my writing because it feels pertinent to life in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Here's an edited version:

“I seem to have rediscovered my inner, ambitious, driven self, through writing and seeking a book agent and publisher for my graphic medicine book series: I Do, I Don’t: How to Build a Better Marriage. The weird thing is that I wasn’t looking for or missing that part of myself.

And yet, I feel excitement and deep satisfaction when I think of my books being successful. It’s twofold: 1. It feels like the pinnacle of my life’s work; incorporating my work as a therapist, and as a writer, which I’ve known about myself since I was 12. And thing 2. (which my son said when he was little) I can help so many people through my books. They will bring their healthier selves into the world; that will be another positive ripple outward.

I remember that my “gift” doesn’t care if it uses up my body. So, beware! I can’t count on the driving energy to help me manage myself. I haven’t felt this full with a project . . . ever (?).

Here’s my life when I look at myself from the outside: me and Locke (my husband), then equally: family, friends, and my book series. Bixby (my beloved Papillon), of course, is part of everything! But in my mind, it’s always my book when it’s not Locke, family or friends. I think about my book a lot, work on it a lot, talk to Locke about it--a lot!

Part of me is laughing at myself right now, and part is just witnessing. My book is like a symphony in my mind. What an astonishing gift at nearly 62 years old.”

Readers, as a side note, I’m excited to report I have an interested publisher.

Two main points that I wanted to share with you:

1. A “gift” that drives you, whether it be innovation in tech or teaching, or a creative endeavor, or another field, has its own force. Unchecked, it will be the main focus of your life, driving you without regard to your relationships and other responsibilities in life. It will encompass your entire being if you let it.

Your “gift’s” job is to be expressed through you--no matter what. Your job is to seek balance, to take care of yourself and those in your life. It’s healthiest to make your relationship or marriage your top priority. I can almost hear you saying, “But what about my career? Won’t I fail in my career if I prioritize my marriage?”

No, you won’t fail in your career. You will actually be better at your career by having balance in your life. You’ll be physically and emotionally healthier, well-rounded, and better at the people part of your work. I believe you have the capacity to express your “gift” in the context of prioritizing your relationship.

Please don’t let your “gift” drive you to exhaustion, burnout, and lost relationships. Burnout isn’t a far jump from exhilaration.

Thing 2. Amazing opportunities can come at any time in your life. Writing and promoting a graphic medicine book series is not what I planned or expected to be doing with the third chapter of my life. And I’m enjoying it immensely. It is truly a symphony in my head. I can’t wait to share it with you.

Let’s learn how to do self-care, take care of and be taken care of in healthy inter-dependent relationships while allowing the muse to have her way.

I look forward to hearing your stories about your “gift”, your drive, your efforts, “failures” and successes in balance.


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