If journalists are paid by the story and lawyers for each word, I am compensated by the hearts broken, lives shattered and relationships battered. In my clinical practice where I see patients with sexual dysfunction and relationship issues, no two stories are alike. Yet, the common denominator is pain. Physical. Emotional. Spiritual. One might say I am the “pain doctor.”
Lovers with low libido, demonized by addiction from alcohol to opiates to sex and many who suffer the betrayal of extramarital affairs are but some of my patients. There are also those who’ve been sexually abused, their sexuality hijacked by such a malignancy. Secrets locked within give rise to shame which wreaks havoc on most lives.
I absorb, reflect, think, advise….precious little really as most healing takes place through the release of the pain through the words, the tears, the cries and the screams. Listening to stories of despair repeatedly does have it’s consequences. Self care is the secret in any craft of service. Mine is no exception. Heck, I need a break.
A break from the everyday, the stories, emails, twitter talk, meetings, Instagram, proposals, opinion, data and demands on my time. Don’t get me wrong. I love my work. Some of the best hearts have been broken. Plus, I rejoice in the reuniting of a boy and his father, a man who chooses sobriety and regains his son, still young. I delight at the woman who aspires to have “more love in her heart, less sting in her tongue.” No greater joy than helping a couple resurrect their intimate life to orgasmic delight.
Yet, I too suffer as my heart strings are played throughout my daily life. Betrayals, disappointments, the loss of friends and loved ones gone for good. The grief of those we love is harder to bear than our own, scorching our soul. It all takes it’s toll. My work does not provide immunity for my own broken heart. No lucky breaks here.
2016 had it’s bumps indeed, but in some ways it’s been the best! A book written, a TED talk delivered, ratings up on the Sunday Night Sex Show on News Talk 980 CKNW. Anything that goes up is a good thing in my line of work. I am further lifted by true friends with strong shoulders on which to shed my tears, release my pain.
My story unravels with gratitude in my heart because of the kindness of others, at times those least expected to care. “The disappointments in life often elevate us to a higher place and may lead to more prosperity,” says a distinguished mentor. I cherish this gentle reminder from this gentle man. It is my mantra. 2016 is behind me now.
My healing journey is ahead as I take flight for the promised warmth of my remote destination where the mountains rise up to meet the sea. I know no one. No one knows my voice. But theirs is music to my ears “Pour favour, senorita,” sing these amorous, generous and and seemingly perennially smiling people of this tiny precious seaside village, home to my respite.
I drink it all in from coconuts conveniently carved out for my consumption….the sights, the sounds, the music, all the while eating fresh fish plucked daily from the sea, smothered in lime as I navigate each cobblestone street, the tiniest of vendors at my feet.
I see love because I know love. Family is what’s important in this “cash only” society, where the castles are made of sand and the angelitos play at the water’s edge. Debt is a foreigner, but not the sun which each day does rise, here in my little paradise.
The waves are high, surf crashes like clockwork. Rest. Love. Eat. Walk. Sing. Swim. Swim. Surf. Play. Dance. Absorb. Reflect……… through endless miles of clear bluegreen waters while a body massage beckons from grass top huts at the end of my exotic sea foam strolls. The sun melts beneath the horizon and the moon is my light. Sleep is my opiate now.
I am naked. I awaken, reborn again, blessed, richer than before, refreshed by the sea and her gentle brisas. Hola 2017! Gracias.
Maureen McGrath is a radio host and RN in the field of sexual health. She is in clinical practice in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is a sought after speaker on all things sex. Her website is backtothebedroom.ca