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  • Cameron Burris

A social worker, yogi, and editor walk into a bar...

A social worker, yogi, and editor meet up at a local bar. A sign on the door read, “Closed due to Covid-19”. The editor felt dejected, their hopes of communing with great minds thwarted by a global pandemic. The social worker reconceptualized the idea of fellowship from the bar to the great outdoors. All of this reignited the yogi’s passion, and they reconvened in the park for a seated meditation and deep conversation. The editor, feeling lighter at the opportunity for reconnection, raced home to write her first blog post.

Over the last month, I’ve found myself vacillating among the three personas. Some days, I am leveled by my ability to breathe deeply at a time when the breath has become a scarce resource for thousands, but I have little in the way of time, attention, or presence to offer anyone else. Other days I feel inspired, prolific, and creative—eager to share my thoughts with the world at time when we long for fellowship in place of distancing. Most often, I find myself somewhere in between, combining my innate gratitude for life, and all that comes with it, with a pressing need to be of service. This platform represents a virtual expansion of myself in a way that, I hope, integrates these three distinct mindsets.

In times of crisis, we cope with change differently. Most of us, especially those of us living in an achievement-based, Eurocentric culture that prioritizes individualism, tend to take that perceived loss of control by holding on tighter to our routine. Clinging to how things were in the past instead of honoring the cycle of death and rebirth that too often accompanies change. I’m definitely one of those people. And as much as I can take a step back and appreciate the process of transformation, I also know it isn’t for the faint of heart. Accepting change, both on an individual and community level, requires us to sit with the discomfort. The growing pains. And do little to challenge, numb, minimize, project, analyze, or otherwise “fix” it. Leaning into the discomfort of change requires us to be vulnerable with ourselves, something I really struggled to do until I got my own therapist.

Hopefully by now people aren’t shocked by the idea of a therapist seeking therapy for their own healing. It’s hard to see our own blind spots and hold ourselves accountable in the way an objective observer can. That’s what my therapist was to me. He taught me how to be present with my feelings, make space for them, and love myself through them. He became the greatest teacher of holding space for others, and the lessons we learned in contemplation together fuel much of my work today.

As a therapist of color in particular, we need more healers like this, ones who are willing to lean into their own discomfort. So often that makes the difference between a competent therapist, who can help guide others on their healing journey, and an incompetent one. In the meantime, we can learn to make space for ourselves by accepting the many roles of our ego, eventually integrated them into one self. You. Me. Us.

My name is Cameron, and I’m a clinical social worker, yogi in-training, editor, dog mom, healer, researcher, and more. I look forward to sharing my other personas as we lean into discomfort together. What a time to be alive, to be creating, to be of service. Welcome to my waiting room.

Peace, love, and light


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