the redwoods

It’s been a minute since I’ve written anything here. I could come up with many reasons why, but in summary: grad school.

I am now nearing the end of what has been the most challenging, most growing, most fulfilling season, and I have a lot of emotions about it. And the way I process these things is through words. So here we go.

A couple years ago I learned some things about redwood trees that really blew my mind. They often grow in family groups called “Cathedral groups,” sometimes morphing into one much stronger tree. One particular group I read about was a group of nine trees growing together as one tree – making one of the world’s largest trees. About 1000 years ago, one tree stood in the middle of this formation. When it fell, it didn’t die. The roots and burls of the stump sprouted, and the 9 trees grew together in a circle around the tree stump and brought it back to life. 

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Redwoods at Muir Woods

These trees resurrected a dead tree! I mean…that’s so cool. 

So here it is: I don’t do very well in isolation. No one does; we need each other. You won’t fall if you have people standing around you. I am a better person because of many of the people who stand in support of me. There are quite a few people in my life that represent my community – the people that give me strength, and catch me when I fall. But I’m going to focus on one group of people in particular for now. One of the greatest parts of graduate school for me has been my cohort. I love these people. We have worked our tails off for 2 years, done some serious self-exploration – sitting in discomfort and vulnerability together – and we have grown from students into counselors. And I would absolutely do it all over again if I could do it with them.

To my cohort, you wonderful, beautiful people: you are my redwoods. I would not be the counselor I am without each one of you. The relationships we share, both personal and professional, have forever shaped me. I am so thankful that we learned from day one to consult with one another and learn from one another, because I now know that I can only be my best when I surround myself with people like you. Through practice counseling sessions, group projects, peer supervision, and many, many conversations outside of classes, I have learned so much about the importance of community within a profession. I have shared so much of myself, both strengths and weakness, and by doing so, received so much love and support in return. You all mean the world to me, and I hope many of us will stay connected as we enter the professional world. This thing that we’ve experienced together – no one else gets it but us. And while I am sure many of us had vastly different experiences in our program – one thing that is true for me, I’m really going to miss this. Not the school work, not the studying, but the community. The shared sense of both suffering and accomplishment. I am immensely proud of each one of you, and the amazing things you will go on to do. I hope we can continue to help each other grow and flourish in our own practices, schools, agencies, and universities. We all came from different places, and to different places we shall go – but we will always be a part of this cohort. And I want you to know, should you ever fall, it would be my honor to be one of the ones standing there to catch you.

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