About a year or more ago, I heard about a book that I became interested in called Trauma Stewardship by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky. I can’t recall where I heard about this book, but it was likely mentioned in some podcast or another; I find out about a lot of cool shit from podcasts. The concept (the subtitle is An Everyday Guide for Caring for Self While Caring for Others) was one I immediately felt had incredible value, particularly during this pandemic. Everyone has lost SOMETHING, even if it was simply a confidence in the amount of control or agency they have within their own life. Loss is trauma and we are all in it. Some of us were more prepared than others and this book seemed like just the thing I needed to help me feel more capable of growth through this process, so that I could learn to care for myself in the ways I needed while continuing to care for and be present with others.
I looked at my library app and found the book and audio book both to be checked out and on hold for months. Go figure. So I reached out to a good friend of mine who is a social worker to ask if she knew of this book. Lo and behold, she had it on her shelf and gave it a ringing endorsement. She even offered to let me borrow it, which I initially declined because I have a really bad habit of not getting to things like this in a timely manner. She said it was OK as she wasn’t expecting to use our need it for the foreseeable future, so I borrowed it from her.
At some point since then, I had read the first two chapters (because I left a flyer from my mail in as a bookmark, but at this point, I do not recall having read any of it; I need to start over.
This has been one of the random ways I had planned to spend my week off this week. Of course there are also chores, cleaning projects and other lingering house things I need to take care of as well, but reading for hours on end sounded quite restorative and that’s been my mantra as I began the week. But there’s a big problem.
Reading makes me fall asleep.
I can do audio books and podcasts for hours, although not while taking notes or anything. Of course it doesn’t help that my regular sleep cycle is genuinely fubar. I can rarely get to sleep before 2am and today, my first day home with the doggos while my husband is back at work, turned into me barely getting out of bed for a noon zoom meeting. And now I rest in the hammock in the afternoon and try to read from this book that just isn’t gonna read itself and I have to keep reading the same page over and over as I drift off into nap-world.
This clearly is not going to work.
But I have an idea. I wanted to just plain get through this book this week and that’s NOT gonna happen. But what I can do is share my thoughts about this book, chapter by chapter, with you in some blog posts, noting any particular gems of wisdom that jump out at me or any additional thoughts I have in the back of my mind based on what I got from each chapter. Maybe taking a few notes with this mini-“project” in mind will help me stay awake.
So stay tuned, dear readers, and I will attempt to share my musings and riffs as I FINALLY get to reading Trauma Stewardship by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky. With any luck, at the end I’ll be able to say that you all helped me get through the book and I can finally return it to my friend to fill the long- lingering hole in her bookshelf. 😉