It’s New Year’s Day - a time to celebrate a turn toward the new year ahead. This morning, in the deep freeze of the New England winter, I thankfully warm myself by my wood stove, with my cup of hot coffee in hand, I turn toward the beauty of the ice glistening in the trees outside my window and pause in the warmth I sense within. The sun dazzling my eyes with the promise of longer warmer days to come beckons me to move toward the changes enfolding in my world. This simple step (or maybe not so simple if you’re not in the habit) of pausing to notice those trees, their beauty, and the feeling of warmth I felt in that moment gave me the peace of mind to turn toward the changes to come.
But if it were gray today, or my mind had been caught up in the stressors of my world, would I have paused to notice the beauty in those trees? Would I feel so peaceful facing change? Probably, not. After all, I’m human and like most of us, if I’m focused on my stress, that is what I see. It's normal when stressed to see the negative in oneself and others; resisting the ever changing life before us.
If we resist we miss, because to quote words that may be familiar “there is a time for every purpose. . .” There is a time to plant and a time to reap. A time to laugh and a time to weep. A time to get and a time to lose. And so much more that we can’t experience unless we turn toward it.
Maybe you don’t want to experience it? Do you turn away? Ever tried that? Maybe at that time, it was the best you could do. Maybe at that time it served you well. Does turning away work now?
On sunny warm days it might be easier to turn toward change. Culturally, it seems to me that we’ve grown to expect happiness all the time and many of us run to “build up, dance, embrace, get, keep, love. . .” Is continuous happiness reasonable? Is it even normal? We’ve learned how to be with those positive experiences and they feel good. Feeling good is great. But expecting happiness in all of our life experiences is not reasonable. And turning toward the stones life throws our way holds it’s own life lessons.
When we face our fears, our anxieties and our foes, we learn to be accountable for our roles in relationships with one another and to ourselves.
We learn to accept and transform our own discomfort and distress and turn again in strength and resilience.
No need to go at this alone. In fact, turn toward one another in relationship. Therapist and researcher Dr. John Gottman’s “Sound Relationship House” explains how turning toward your partner to build emotional connection strengthens relationships. Be with one another in the joys, challenges and changes life brings you and you’ll grow together. “Turn your heart to what is good. . . see the good in one another.” Jack Kornfield ~ Mindfulness Teacher. See your true goodness and you will see goodness in others.
If you’ve bought into a culture of continual happiness and struggle feeling like you’re less than normal for not being as happy as your neighbor. . . you’re normal. If you’re having trouble finding balanced role models to learn how to turn toward all of life’s experiences keep looking. They are there. Maybe you’ll find this in a friend or family member. If not, expand your circle. Look in your community and activities. Turn toward professional counseling for help. Need help finding this balance in relationship? Turn toward a therapist skilled in marriage and family therapy.
To everything turn toward and bring yourself peace. . .
Wishing You and Your Loved Ones Peace in this New Year.
Nannette is a mother, daughter, friend, psychotherapist, blog writer and consultant. She is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and works with individuals, couples and families in her private psychotherapy practice located in Kennebunk, Maine. Nannette has personally practiced mindfulness for over 30 years. She teaches mindfulness and uses Gottman’s work in her psychotherapy practice. Nannette appreciates your thoughts and comments and hopes you’ll look for other Healthy&Whole blogs on her website nannettenerozukecounseling.com