Through the Woods

Over the hill & through the woods… It feels like 2020 brought us some new different sort of woods that we were unaware & unprepared for. The climate has been unpredictable..frightening…forceful… it could put us in awe.


The twists & turns… we’re unsure of the stops… the lights are both red & green. Our hearts beat faster, our anxiety higher, the loneliness more apparent. The changes….. in finances, jobs, schools, businesses, dots on floors, plexiglass up, wash, wash, wash your hands, sanitizing, signs of new hours adjusted, new hours worked, lay offs, hunger…And still more change as we Zoom; commute through our homes… if we are blessed to have a home & the technology to do so.  


And still….we age….grow….live.  


We now may stop to consider the ramifications of giving and receiving a hug, a handshake. Our faces are covered so the baby can’t see our smile….the stranger behind the mask.


There are so many firsts….haven’t those generally been a good thing, a goal to work towards? How many days has it been since I saw a movie in a theater, watched a live in person performance, played soccer, or planned a trip that included an airplane?


Somehow it seems like a break up we didn’t see coming. I didn’t know that was going to be the last kiss, the last day I would walk into school, the last day of not thinking about… 6… feet.  


The list of to dos before I leave my home…..mask, hands washed, sanitizer, temperature checked…..and the question… do I really need to leave?  Is this worth the risk?


With all the pain, sorrow & grief…the grief of not attending a memorial, a graduation, a wedding, the grief of not getting to be with family or friends at all or…. the same way. People are dying alone… more than ever before.


And still….. there’s light, the unexpected. A vaccine becoming available at a pivotal time, new leaders preparing to take hold of their part of the reigns, past leaders teaching us tales we can learn from. Perspectives have changed….. some things can no longer be taken for granted. 


And still…… we are human. Flawed, beautiful, unique beings living amongst one another. Trying to turn on the flashlights in the darkness, to show one another……that despite distance, despair, sorrow, conflict, war, and trauma…..that there’s still the genuine, kind gesture. A laugh, a masked smile and joy in a moment to share if only brief…..


It lights up a day.


~Jasmine Rose Penter, LCSW 12/20/2020

Taking Care of Yourself After a Break Up

inspirational-breakup-quotes

A few clients and some friends have been going through some tough break ups recently. Break ups can be very difficult when tensions are high, emotions are raw, and they can be complicated more when couples have been living together as well. It is important to be patient with yourself as well as to utilize supports.
Here are some things to consider doing for yourself as you go through this transition:
1. Journal: Write down your feelings, experiences, and don’t hold back.
2. Listen to music- find music that speaks to your heart!
3. Lean on your friends and family; tell them what will be helpful in supporting you.
4. Stay active- staying in may feel easier and
5. Separate yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally from the person. Disconnect from them on social media.
6. Take time for yourself.  A quiet book, a soak in the bath tub, a walk in the park?  Taking time to reflect can be very beneficial.
7. Pet therapy – animals can be a great way to receive physical affection and can help keep you in the moment.
8. See a counselor- find someone to talk this out with. The benefits of using a third party is that you can get perspective from someone not attached to your ex. This person can also help you grieve your relationship, set new goals, and provide a safe environment to share what is on your heart and mind.
9. Try something new. This can help you focus on something exciting and challenging in your life.

Pay attention to your body and give yourself time to heal.  Know that you are processing a loss which can impact your life in numerous ways and staying in tune with this can help as you rediscover this new chapter in  your life.

Celebrating 2 Year Anniversary

Today marks 2 years since my private practice opened.  I’ve taken time over the last month to reflect on this powerful journey.  It has been such an honor and privilege to work with so many individuals and families who have walked in the door and opened their hearts and minds.  Tough questions have been asked, painful circumstances have been shared, accomplishments celebrated, and I’ve watched as my clients have courageously challenged themselves to keep growing and healing.  I feel very fortunate and deep gratitude for everyone I have had the opportunity to work with.

I would also like to acknowledge some of those people who have made this endeavor possible.  Thank you Michelle Brown, LPC for sharing your office space and creating a warm, welcoming, and safe environment; I so appreciate your assistance and support.  Thank you to my supervisors at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Riverbend for listening, guiding, and supporting me as I continue to works towards my LCSW; this also includes my stellar colleagues there!  There are so many individuals who have cheered me on including numerous friends and family both near and far.  A special thank you to my professors and classmates at the University of Southern California as well as Chatham University.  Last but not least I thank Jeremy for supporting my dreams with unquestionable belief that I can accomplish what I set out to do.

My Very Best,

Jasmine

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”  ~Melody Beattie

How to Know When a Relationship Has Run Its Course

Lately I’ve been working with some clients who are struggling in their relationships.  Feelings include frustration, anger, resentment, loneliness, pain, confusion, and sadness.  Questions I’ve seen clients ask themselves include:

  • Have I done all I can to save this relationship?
  • Am I ready to lose this person from my life entirely?
  • What else will I lose in my life if I say goodbye to this person (friends, family, financial stability, home, belongings)?
  • Will I be able to find love again?
  • Will I regret leaving?
  • Will I be happier?

Often times there are imbalances in relationships that can be looked at and discussed and those include the division of chores, time spent together, financial discrepancies, health issues, lack of support systems, and conflicting visions/goals for the future.  It can be helpful for couples to keep talking about what they want their lives to look like both individually and as a couple.  Too often we may assume odd dreams remain the same, but the truth is that we are evolving being and what we wanted 3 years ago may have changed.relationship

There are other signs that indicate that the relationship is an unhealthy one and those include:

  • physical and sexual violence
  • name calling and degrading comments
  • extreme jealousy
  • controlling behaviors
  • problematic alcohol use
  • drug use
  • cheating
  • lying
  • lack of intimacy

If you find any number of these problems in your relationship it would be beneficial for you to talk to someone to make a safe place to reduce the chance of harm.  Intimate partner violence is a serious matter and utilizing professionals is highly recommended.  Use this hotline if you or someone you know needs to talk to someone now: (800)799-SAFE (800.799.7233).

Knowing when to leave can often be a difficult process.  If you find challenges in your relationship are not improving but you are not ready to leave, consider couples counseling which can help foster difficult discussions about what each individual wants and needs.  It can provide time to reflect on what’s working and what’s not working, and a counselor can provide tools for discussions and goal setting that can be beneficial.

Letting go can be difficult and accompanying that is a process of grief and loss.  Remember this does not need to take place in isolation and many could benefit from individual counseling at this point.  This can be helpful in the grieving process, taking time to re-group and think about what you want in your life, and reflect on what you’ve learned about yourself in this process.

Inspiring Hope- Aracely Navarro

photo credit to kdvr.com

photo credit to kdvr.com

The first of her siblings to attend high school and college, Aracely has lived through a turbulent family history, her mother’s breast cancer, poverty, and a suspension from school after a disciplinary issue. As a valedictorian at a Denver High School, Aracely has earned a full ride to college. In her speech, she talks about her mother’s difficult decision to have her at the young age of 18, of learning of her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis and living past the 5 year prognosis, and then making poor decisions in school that resulted in a suspension. This past June she gave thanks to the many mentors who guided her since this suspension and helped her see her potential so that she can walk through those college doors. Watch her speech now.