Article by Joanne

It is a new year!! We can all recall the the clock ticking… the hours counting down to minutes …counting down to seconds…  until the glittery ball declared 2017 over and 2018 officially ushered in… it’s easy to get caught up in the celebration, add to that the traditions, not only of singing old Lang Syne, but that of creating resolutions, and one can get lost in the expectations…

It seems that the new year brings with it a host of responsibilities cloaked in the idea of freedom… New Year’s resolutions that are really balls and chains to get one to conform to a new ideal… Diets that are intended to shed pounds, a restriction on behavior but not a change of the craving; attitudes are promised to change, words being chosen carefully, but hearts not being changed; hurt so real that imagining healing is impossible; we often attempt to create a hopeful horizon by behavior modification instead of a core alteration…

This year it is my desire to see you choose hope… and with that will come a change of heart…  rather than making resolutions, that are goal oriented and final, an “end game” so to speak… I hope that you will make a declaration, that is processed focused and able to built upon; this declaration is maintained in accountability, life alterations and deepening connections… remember that “Grief is the price you pay for the ability to love …” it is not a penalty. This declaration is a reminder to you, and those around you, of the hope that you are carrying into the new year.

Who brings light to you in your darkest places? While a number of people would say that they communicated with others… and had talked with friends and family …  very few would be able to tell me who was actually healing their soul and providing the support that they need… I just want to encourage you to embrace hope as a perspective for 2018…  Hope means more than wishing and wanting and waiting for something to happen …rather, hope is an acronym that provides the avenue by which you can alter your world …

H: Healing begins with honest and healthy interactions …

O: Interactions come from people who are open to new relationships and optimistic about change. In order to do this you need to ask for what you need; if you are in need of a phrase to jump start those connections you can use the following:

-I don’t need you to fix my life

-I am taking steps in that direction

– I just need you to listen

– I am lonely and need an understanding ear ..

– If you want to do something besides listen, call me and ask me to go to a movie sometime

– I am going through a hard time in my life right now, I know your life is busy, but I need to hear more from you for a while.

P: Pacing is necessary. It is okay to recognize that each person experiences grieving and healing at different paces… we must be patient and take the time to do what you need to do to heal, to hurt, and to move forward.

E: With each step forward you might feel a sense of excitement and renewed idea about engaging in life, energetic and filled with encouragement … Remember that living is an exercise all its own… to do it well requires you facing the grief and work at the process of healing. Additionally, attempt to engage new activities, creating a new normal… each adventure will change your perspective, but until you take that first step growth is not an option; remember “Change is inevitable and growth is optional.”

Once you are willing to embrace the word hope, or any of the parts that make up hope, then I think you can begin to see the changes in your person and your perspective … HOPE is not the process, HOPE is the answer.