No Resolutions Here

I don’t make New Years resolutions.  I don’t like them. For me, making them is akin to setting myself up for failure, and I have done more than enough of that over the course of my life. Instead, for the past several years, I’ve opted for something different: a single word.

Not some random, picked-out-of-a-hat word, but a word chosen with intention. Specifically, the intention of using it as my guide over the next 365 days. The word encompasses an idea & attitude with which I want to approach myself and all areas of my life.  And when I’m going through a rough time, that word becomes my mantra and compass.

I said I choose a word, but it’s more a process of letting a word/idea choose me. See, when I “look for” a word, I find it. In fact, I find & compile lists of them, and can make reasoned arguments as to why each and every one of them should be chosen, but the end result is confusion, not certainty. So I opt to bypass conscious thought and instead trust that the word I need will come to me. And, so far, it always has.

My word for 2018 came to me earlier today, in the shower (the site of many great “AHA!” moments in history). As soon as it came to me, I knew in my gut it was the word I’d been waiting for. I don’t normally share my word with anyone; it’s been more or less a private affair since I started the practice. But in an effort to share my process, I’ve decided to tell you.

My word for 2018 is CREATE (including creation, creative, & creativity.)

The word came to me along the same line of thinking as it was used by Jonathan Larson in his lyrics, “The opposite of war isn’t peace; it’s creation.”

I’m sick & tired of being at war with myself, so I think this is my attempt to divert that energy/impulse toward creation instead of destruction. I want to utilize the raw materials of emotion & impulse toward the act of generation instead of degeneration.

Wish me luck! See you in 2018!

Definition (or lack thereof)

I’m still in the process of defining the purpose of this site, so last night I decided to make a list of my interests. It looked something like this:
child development, creative process, dis/connection, intuitive knowing, expressive arts, expressive arts therapy, drama therapy, acting, singing, dancing, emotional regulation, life-as-process, creation (as related to art), neuroscience, creation of “self,” authentic expression, theories of personality, neurodiversity… the list went on & on, and I’m not even finished writing it.

As a result, I decided not to limit myself here; I’ll blog about my interests. I’ll post links to things that interest me, and hopefully you’ll find something that interests you amidst it all.

In taking this “interest inventory,” I noticed a common thread: my interests relate to people. This wasn’t news to me; I’ve always wanted to understand how people think and what they like and why they like what they like. In middle school and high school, I spent most of my time in the psychology section of the school library. I particularly liked memoirs filed in that section. Looking back, I was clearly trying to understand myself, but over time my interests evolved and broadened, as is typical of an adolescent maturing into adulthood. Now as a self-aware adult I’m more interested in helping other people understand themselves and discover/build on their strengths.

I seem to have a knack for it, which I discovered in grad school when I was studying mental health counseling. But I’m also a very creative person and have found that creative expression can play a huge role in healing. As can removing the labels so eagerly assigned to individuals in need of mental health support. Once upon a time, I accepted the medical model of mental health treatment. I even bought into it. However, I have experienced a lot since then — both good & bad — and can’t authentically render those services from within that medical model. I know a lot of people who can work well from within the system — they can guide people toward healing in spite of it. But I have never been good at following the rules when I disagree with them, and on this subject I am in fundamental disagreement with the prevailing norms.

So here I am, looking for another way in.