Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! How did it feel for you to turn the calendar from 2020 to 2021?

Most people I know felt a whole lot of relief and happiness as they saw the end of 2020 – a year that was full if unexpected challenged from public health to job insecurity to financial hardship to isolation and more. Even worse? It was all unexpected — a complete shock to ourselves as things unfolded and then dragged on and on — still actually dragging.

However, there was hope in turning the calendar a few days ago. We did end 2020 with seeing our healthcare workers getting vaccinated. Wow! Our US healthcare system may soon be completely secured from the pandemic. That is definitely hopeful — and we all know that we will have out turn sometime in the New Year.

With the vaccine there is also the hope that our lives will resume to normality — but I am left to wonder will it be a new normal? The pandemic has gone on long enough that people are making new habits, living their lives along different rhythms, and orientating meaning in a different way. Dare I say it almost feels like a return to olden day ways. We are at home most of the time, cooking our own food, spending time with our family constantly – not just quality time – discerning who we really want to share time with via Zoom, engaging with our children on a deeper level, and more. Life has shifted and it’s not all been bad — the break from our break-neck, fast-paced lives has provided us with a different way to live our lives.

How often do we get such a reset in our modern day?

Having had the reset, what will you keep and what will you discard when we are all vaccinated and life is ready to return to “normal?”

As we enter 2021, I am hoping a new normal takes hold that honors the best of who we found ourselves to be in 2020 under extraordinary circumstances and also allows us to bring these parts of ourselves to our lives as we resume normality.

Here’s to it!

A Writing Break

A Writing Break
I Took A Writing Break

I am a therapist. And I am also a writer. Are there two different professional paths that you embody? For me, my work is about seeing my patients as well as writing on a fairly continual basis. It may be a screenplay, a non-fiction book, or this blog — but I write and always have. Somebody once said to me, “If you write, you’re a writer. Own it.”

Why is it so different to own something like writing?

In any case, this Autumn I found myself without the impetus to write. My motivation sort of up and left in what seemed like a mere instant. Perhaps it was my own election stress, perhaps being caught up in home projects, or perhaps even the change of seasons. Not sure what happened, but I did not want to write — not even this blog.

I don’t know about you, but when I have something like a blog to write that I have committed to write on a daily basis, I tend to “feel bad” if I don’t meet my own expectations. However, when my motivation to write vanished, I let go. I decided that it was “OK” to not write and to be curious when my desire to write would alight upon me.

How refreshing to not put myself through the ringer for not doing something that I felt I should be doing. I allowed for there to be a pause in my writing on this blog and other projects as well. I just let it be. The longer I let it be, the happier I became with my decision to not write, to not do, and to simply be with this.

And then my writing impetus began to return. Not sure if it is a daily thing, a weekly thing or a monthly thing or if I will switch it up between all three. I am not sure at all. What I am sure of is how awesome it feels to let go of an item on the old “to do” list when it is really not something you want to do. Freedom!

Are you feeling this way as the holiday season kicks in? Is there something you think you should be doing — professionally or personally — that you have no interest in doing? Perhaps the greatest gift you could give to yourself this season is the gift of not doing without guilt or care. Trusting it will return — or not. But whatever the outcome, there is something to become curious about yourself and learn from.

For now, I hope to be back to at least semi-regular posting. After all, I am a writer, even if one who takes breaks.

Creativity Burst: A Four Leaf Clover Walk

A Four Leaf Clover Walk for St. Patrick's Day
May the Luck O’ the Irish Be With You

May the luck o’ the Irish be with you today! Celebrate with a Four Leaf Clover Walk.

Even if you aren’t Irish, this is the one day that we all feel a little Irish as we celebrate the day together. Traditionally, I think of this day as one where people gather in pubs for a green beer, kids eat green cupcakes, gold chocolate coins jingle in pockets, and we lookout for little leprechauns of luck. OK, maybe that last one is only in our dreams. Yet, it is a day to remember the Irish and to bring a little luck into one’s life.

Today’s holiday is a bit different given we are asked to not gather together. No school, no work, no meeting at the pub — however, we are encouraged to get out into nature, as long as we keep our distance from one another. In that light, today is a perfect day for a four leaf clover walk.

It takes us out into nature. If you have children at home, what better way to spend part of the school day with them today? Bundle up and head to a park. When you arrive, give them the guideline that you are the hunt for four leaf clovers. If they have not seen them before, show them a few examples on line before you head out.

Now, these are not always the easiest to find. So, expand the hunt and let them find any items in nature that look like a four leaf clover, are just green, or any other item that remind them of Ireland. Afterwards, when you gather together, it will be a great opportunity to share what was found and why they picked up the items they chose. It is an opportunity to get creative and use one’s imagination in nature using this lucky Irish day as inspiration.

When you arrive home, pull out heavy card stock, glue, and any other art supplies you may have on hand and let your children create a lucky collage for the day. Not only will you have gotten out on an excursion for the day, but also had a chance to be creative on this special day.

Even without kids, take your own lucky break in nature and let your mind wander as to what reminds you of the Irish on this day. Pick up a few things and place them on your desk – or anywhere else in your home – to remind you of the beauty of nature and your own imagination to connect a holiday to the natural world.

It’s a lucky day! Get out into nature and find some four leaf clovers today!