- Sharon Cabana, MA, LMFT
We're Back...and Oh, Has It Been an Adventure
It's hard to believe everything that has happened in the last year. Over the last week, we've faced additional challenges and fears. In a time when we are so desperate for connection, the events of the past week amidst the Covid pandemic remind us of the separations and divisions we are all encountering. When I reflected with my clients over the last weeks regarding the seemingly unending chaos of 2020 and the abrupt jump into 2021's own brand of...well, chaos, I realized I needed to return to writing and start sharing the thoughts and reflections that have been percolating. My hope is that you will find them useful, that they give you a moment of connection to know you are not alone in this world, and that they will noodle around in your mind for a while.
Every year I do my best to avoid New Year's resolutions. I'm not a big fan of them, particularly because studies show that most people surrender their resolutions relatively quickly and that it can bring us a sense of shame. In addition, there's nothing to say that someone has to change. Resolutions can imply that we are somehow not enough and need to be something more than who we are, which, needless to say, may not help us find the way to treating ourselves with loving kindness. The new year can be an opportunity to highlight areas of potential future growth and change, but it doesn't have to be.
That being said, when I do choose to embrace the opportunity, I set the intention for the year. In what ways do I want to grow? What do I need to let go of in order to fulfill my intention? What do I need to include? What is my "theme" for the year? What do I need in order to fulfill this intention? These are the questions that I ask myself and reflect upon in the early days of the new year.
As we all know, however, years can feel long and nebulous. They can also take unexpected left turns just as we think we have everything all together. Joseph Campbell, famed for his research on The Hero's Journey, once said, "If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path." As devoted as we might be to our intentions, life often gets in the way. And that's okay. Life is rarely linear. Side paths and rabbit trails are all part of the journey. Be flexible with your intentions. They, like you, might change throughout the year. Whatever those changes may be are all part of your journey and the person you are, have been, and will become.
So, what will your theme for 2021 be? Will you have a theme at all? Whatever you choose, let it be graced with loving kindness.
Welcome back, friends, and Happy New Year.