Ah, January. I find that this time of year brings with it so many promises. New Year’s resolutions comprised of diets, exercise regimes, forward fashion, all filled with the possibility of a new look, a new attitude, new relationships, new environment, new job, and of course, ultimate happiness. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like I’m also noticing more mention of things like astrology, numerology and lottery tickets these days too. And don’t get me wrong, I love the entertainment in those things – I think there is a certain brilliance in combining aspects of mysticism and spirituality mixed with general or even concrete advice (self disclosure: my favorite new astrologer to follow is the feminist and activist, Chani Nicholas – you should totally check her out!) And I very much believe that appropriate exercise and self care has a ton of merit. But it also makes me wonder…are we all still looking for our fairy godmother to transform us into beautiful princesses so that we are granted the life we all know we deserve? I believe in significant change, really I do – you can see the evidence in my gruelingly written thesis: The Use of Metaphor in Art Making for Acceptance and Change with People who Experience Chronic Pain. What I’ve learned is that maybe true possibility for happiness – happiness that’s grounded in reality and not wishful thinking happens on a far more subtle level, over time and with thoughtfully directed effort. So often in my art therapy groups I hear the women I work with dismiss their truly, very, very significant progress only because high expectation and ultimate happiness has not yet been delivered. What a tragedy. Think about it…you’ve done all this hard work to create something genuinely new and different in your life and then throw it all away because of something as simple as black and white thinking? It’s either good or it’s bad; perfect or not perfect. The etiology of black and white thinking probably deserves a post in itself, but really it comes down to what we choose to believe. So how do we manifest our own possibility rather than waiting around for things to happen? I believe that possibility lies in flexibility, in awareness of small shifts, of slight nuances and honoring small progress. Possibility lies in opening your heart and mind to synchronicity – the phenomenon of noticing one small thing and watching it multiply into abundance. Synchronicity feels magical – and if it feels like magic, is that enough to say that it is magic? It’s all about approach. That’s how it works with progress, we build on the good things we do have, the small improvements we are achieving and over time, this continues to build and turns into big progress. For some reason this reminds me of a story I heard about a woman with terminal cancer who was attending a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction workshop. When the man next to her heard about her condition, he wondered what the heck she was doing spending her last days sitting around learning this new skill. Her response was that she recognized her limited moments in time and was choosing to learn how to appreciate each one of them to the fullest; there is an infinite number of points in any line, whether the line be an inch long or a mile long. By the way, it’s the year of the Rooster and “Roosters in Chinese Astrology are thought to be honest, so truths will emerge.” Hmm, I wonder what the possibilities are in that?
You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope. ~ Thomas Merton
Chani Nicholas led me to this great post: Top 5 Things To Do Instead of Lose Weight in 2017
Copyright 2017 © Rachel Braun, All rights reserved.
Rachel Braun, ATR-BC Art Therapist Philadelphia, PA
Specializing in art therapy groups for women who experience depression, anxiety and eating disorders.