Summer Bucket List

The Summer Bucket List

We normally think of bucket lists as an extravagant to-do lists of grand scale. Well the summer bucket list: is a bit more accessible and can be completed before you start class in a few months.

  1. Be Physical – Ride a bike, hike a mountain, fly a kite, swim a few laps. You have been exercising your brain, now it is time to exercise your body.
  2. Be Vocal – Tell someone that you love them, like them, appreciate them or that you are glad that they are in your life. Family members, co-workers, friends and even professors are all great candidates.
  3. Be a Chef – Find an awesome recipe, go food shopping, dig out pots and pans and have fun! (Also make sure a fire extinguisher is handy).
  4. Be a Star – Sing a song, LOUD! You can sing in the car, in the shower, in your house, but let loose and let the world embrace your creative expression!
  5. Be Spiritual – Attend a Synagogue, Church, Mosque, Temple or wherever you worship and feed your spiritual center.
  6. Be at Rest – Get some sleep! Whether you listen to one of those nature sounds cds or buy a new memory foam pillow, do whatever it takes get some sleep, at least 7 hours worth.
  7. Be a little less Intelligent – Read a book that does not have any citations, references or any word with more than three syllables. Call it brain recovery.  
  8. Be Spoiled – Treat yourself to a guilty pleasure and don’t feel guilty! Drink a milkshake, eat some chocolate or even watch a movie with no discernible plot and have popcorn with extra butter. Whatever your pleasure, treat yourself; you deserve it!
  9. Be a Tourist – This area has wonderful landmarks, interesting places and marvelous museums, so release your “inner tourist” and enjoy them. 
  10. Be Helpful – Help someone else out without looking for anything in return. Helpings others is the gift that keeps on giving.  

Now these activities are great, but some don’t work well together. Singing a Phil Collins song at the top of your lungs while sitting in the warrior position in a yoga class is probably not the best idea. Neither is “being at rest” in the middle of channeling your inner Iron Chef in the kitchen. Waking up to the smell of OVER-blackened chicken and peppers is not a great experience. (Thank goodness for the fire extinguisher). So avoid those disasters and embrace your summer, it is already half over!!

Beginning with a single step

The Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu stated, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. My decision to enroll in the Pastoral Counseling Program was that single step on the long journey to becoming a professional counselor.

I started my professional career as an accountant armed with an Accounting Degree from the University of Maryland – College Park. For 15 years, my life was filled with numbers, spreadsheets and financial statements. It was honorable work and I was good at it, yet as the fiscal years began to add up, I realized that there was a source of fulfillment that was missing. My faith had always been an integral part of my life and in 2004 that increased significantly as I finished my denomination’s five year process to become an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In that role it is my humbling pleasure and privilege, to serve the members of the church and the community. A good portion of that service is encouraging others, instilling hope, providing spiritual direction and being present with persons as they experience life. In the pursuit of this I realized that even with a generous heart and the best intentions, increased knowledge was needed to become more effective in my service. That is when I made the decision to go back to school for a degree in counseling.

Loyola became a logical choice for multiple reasons. I didn’t want just any counseling degree, I wanted one that would embrace and not dismiss the solid foundation of faith that was already in my life. The Pastoral Counseling program at Loyola connected with those same goals. The diversity that Loyola offers in both cultural backgrounds and religious faiths was also very attractive. The differences in perspective and points of view have been both enlightening and enriching. Lastly, I had the experience of observing a class during one the department’s “Open Houses.” Seeing the interaction between the students and the professor was exhilarating. In fact, at one point the class discussion was so engaging that I had to stop myself from jumping in. I know now that even in my “pre-enrolled” state, my verbal contribution would have been welcomed and valued.

I started my MS Pastoral Counseling Degree journey in the fall of 2010 and I start my clinical internship next semester. So I have stopped counting the steps and am now truly enjoying the journey.