Swanson Counseling - New Year's Reflection

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New Year's Reflection

2010! Another new year, a new decade beginning, a chance to look back, to lookforward. I’d like to take a few moments to share with you some thoughts and reflections.

This past decade was certainly a time we’ll collectively remember for major upheavals in our lives. The 2001 World Trade Center bombing jolted us out of our sense of security, both personally and as a nation, and became real again with the Christmas bomb attempt. What we believed was strong and certain about our country’s financial stability has been shaken, affecting all, from people losing homes and jobs to a general unease about the future. A blanket of fear and insecurity has settled in through much of society. Locally, spring flooding devastated many homes and livelihoods and leaves in it’s wake questions and problems to resolve to prevent such future occurrences.

Reflecting on this difficult decade, in my work I see what happens when external events beyond our control affect our personal plans. I noticed the various ways people responded: some felt victimized, helpless, powerless, either turning it inward or lashing out at others in blame. Some reassessed their plans, made adjustments, considered priorities. Situations like these can provide an opportunity to assess our automatic responses; are they working for us, or interfering with our ability to cope and our general well-being. We may have no choice over things that happen to us, but can learn to change what we do and how we think and feel about them.

For many this was a time of real hardship and loss, and yet we saw multiple examples of people caring for each other, going outside themselves and their lives to help those in need. Returning to my home town this year after living in a large city gave me an opportunity to appreciate once again the strong sense of community, the caring shown towards each other. One of the joys that can come out of times of difficulty is the way people respond to each other...we want to share our experiences and so connect with people in ways we may not under normal circumstances. My hope is that we can carry over some of this into the new year; that we will have learned more about ourselves, our priorities and the way we want to respond to our lives and each other.

I’d like to share with you this poem from the writings of Rev. Dale Turner for the new year:

May you have Peace...
Not of the stagnant pool, but of
deep waters flowing.
May you have Poise...
Not of the sheltered tree,
but of the oak, deep rooted,
storm-strengthened and free.
May you have Power...
Not of fisted might, but of the quickened seed,
stretching toward the infinite light.

1/13/2010


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