3.) Part 3, New Year…, New Me…

My History with New YEar’s Resolutions:

I’ve always loved new year’s resolutions. Turning over a new leaf is something I still get super excited by. I’m very into making myself a better person and then being super excited about it.

There is something about the gluttony and not doing things as normal that happens between Thanksgiving and New YEar’s really beautifully sets up the Fruitless Ambitions Making of New years Resolutions. You go to any holiday party and random people there are eating things that are on the Bad list, and doing things they will not do as soon as the holidays have been enjoyed or survived.

Coming out of that overspending, overeating, Overeating Bad Foods,over gifting, and overdriniking, binge tv watching, makes most people set up to clean up their act as soon as New YEar’s Eve is over. Just pick up any fashion or lifestyle magazine, look at their November and December issues. There are lots of articles about how to manage your binging in the holiday season and how to set yourself up to really adopt a good habit and stop doing the bad one. So I like having company making all these grand resolutions and failing for once not being alone at failing at it.

As with most things, I used to be super extra enthusiastic about New Year’s resolutions. I’d write them down, definitely have a huge impossible list of resolutions and get super pumped about all the BIG Changes I was going to do to make myself a Super Better version of myself. In true form I’d quickly forget where I put the paper I wrote them on and by the end of the year vaguely remember a few and get into it all over again. I’ve mellowed over the years and had to admit the reality that most people make resolutions and keep them for a few weeks in January. Never wanting to be “Most People”, I was quite disappointed in myself. Over the last bunch of years I’ve tried other kinds of versions of new years resolutions that feel a bit different. I’ve also noticed that some people now think New year’s resolutions are arbitrary and there seems to be a growing number of people who don’t do them for these reasons, which makes me a bit sad. At the small gathering I went to last night I was the only one who had a written down list of resolutions and the only person who was interested in talking about them. I quickly put away my notebook and decided to have my own private Yay I Have a Great List of Resolutions This Year. I guess I’m having that party on this blog!

One way to approach new years resolutions is to resolve to do something sort of new that isn’t very hard and nobody tends to make as a resolutions. With this one you accomplish being original and different and being more able to keep up the behavior. I’ve known people who have resolved to drink more alcohol, as they never liked drinking but have started to like it a little. A few years ago, I resolved to wear more makeup, really meaning wear makeup at all. Surprisingly, while I didn’t remember to do it much then, about a year ago, I started doing it and getting into it, and now I wear eye makeup and lipstick more often. I get the added pleasure that every time I bother to put on makeup I’m celebrating that I’m still doing something I resolved to do!

Another approach its to take something you recently enjoyed doing  and thought, “wow this is fun. It would be great to do this once a week.” Last year it was ice-skating, which I had started doing the year before and loved it. So last year I wrote that I would ice skate more. I probably ice skated less than the year before but I did ice skate a few times. This kind of resolution is best phrased as ” I will do _____ more.” That way you are set up to probably succeed. This year, I decided to do this with bowling. I never bowled or even went to bowling places until just a few years ago. Every time I go, I like it more. I went once over vacation last week and had a great time. I’m terrible at it, but for some reason it seems really compelling. My bowling fantasy is to have tons of extra money and get my own bowling alley, and get to bowl almost every day and at any time of day. Since I still have to go to a bowling place and pay a significant amount, I won’t be bowling super often but I can still resolve to do it “more” and succeeded.

In recent years, I’ve also got into the “Spiritual” category of Resolutions because they seem fun and you can’t fail at them, which is almost impossible to believe. I’m talking about things that you would’d want to read out loud to someone but you want to do, like “Deepen My Yoga Practice”. You can’t fail at depending something if you are doing it regularly already and have gotten over that challenge. Since I manage to do yoga on an almost daily basis (about 20 minutes most of the time), and can do it late at night, I can say that in 2015 I accomplished that Intention! You can come up with a few resolutions like that, such as, “I want to be a kinder person.”, “I want to be more mindful.”, “I want to be less negative.” (Being less negative than you are does not mean you have to be more positive, which makes it more compelling.) “I want to stop yelling.”

The last category are the “Abundance” Resolutions that are a bit like the Doing Some Fun thing more but about other kinds of abundance. “I want to read more books.” is on my list for this year and is more about doing something that is guaranteed to generate something else, in my case, writing. When I read more books, I write more. It’s happening today. This blog post exists because today, I’m resolutely reading my library book from a month ago. The cool thing about an abundance type of resolution is that it adds abundance to other areas of your life, like the above with reading and writing.

SO that’s it about New yEars resolutions. Don’t make them if you have decided they are usedess and ridiculous and you don’t want to make them. I think they are ridiculous in quite a lovely way, so I am going to keep doing them every year and changing it up each year.

 

 

1.) New Year, New Me…

 

Making New Year’s Resolutions, Part 1, choosing not to.

This year I made no resolutions or Intentions or Goals about this blog and blogging. (I made other kinds of resolutions.) The blog format as far as I know is maybe the only format that, besides allowing for organized people and writers who publish to flourish, actually allows that for people who:

-Don’t have much regular organization motivations or abilities

-Can’t write a book that they want to write, so they blog

-Can’t write a book because of the middle and end follow through and making sense aspects required of even writing a chapter

-Get very enthusiastic at beginnings and have tons of ideas they don’t fully implement, so they start something and intend to post in a series and never make the effort to continue the series, so it’s not really a series of posts, (latest example: my post on Kwanza that seemed to intend to post each day on one of the principles…)

-write sentences that are too long and don’t edit them

-Don’t even blog in an organized way and finish posts abruptly

-Get bored quickly and move around from topic to topic with no apparent logic

That’s my interpretation of why I’m still blogging in 2016. The low expectations and acceptance of whatever you want to express in whatever way you want to express it makes blogging so great for us people who do the above-mentioned things.

Therefore, I won’t come up with some new idea about this blog and then give it up after an excited start.

 

 

 

2.) Part 2: New Year, New Me…

New Year’s Resolutions and the Excitement of Collective Failure

New Years Resolutions are great for people who go about things in the way I described in the first post, we “Unfinishers”, who have tons of irrelevant ideas and don’t communicate in a logical way. We get to watch the people who seem impossibly gifted at and able to do everything we can’t,  fail miserably especially at  following through on a goal and keep it going. It’s twistedly fun to watch such people make new years resolutions and drop them. Probably a huge percentage of organized people who make such resolutions fail at keeping them, and these people are not used to not following through on things the rest of the year.

Sorry it sounds mean, but imagine you are someone who has unwritten books and unfinished life things all over. It’s fun watching the people who do these things so effortlessly not follow their usual path. Sort of like when a child told me she loves being inside looking out the window when it’s raining or any extreme weather. ” “It’s fun to watch those people and know they are wet and cold and tired and be dry and indoors looking out the window at them.” Yay for twisted Sadism.

Great acceptable ways to have fun watching others having challenges and being miserable. It’s human nature.

 

Happy Kwanzaa and Do you know anything about it?

Here comes Kwanzaa! Starting today with the principle of Unity, “Umoja”

No I do not know much about it and would like to learn more about it. Some things I did not know that I learned from history.com:

It was founded in 1967.

A child lights each candle  in the evening.

Other information is in this article:

http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/kwanzaa-history

Here is the info on the candles and colors. The bllack middle one is lit first and then the red, then green. The kinara is the candle holder.

In the above article the ritual is outlined…

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,100 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Great Idea for Art Therapy New Year Activity!

Thanks to Pam Kirst for posting about the new year. This quote was in the conversation she posted. You can read her whole post at this link: http://pamkirstblog.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/how-to-have-a-truly-loolie-new-year/

The idea involves letting go of the old and making room for the new. Here is the direct description that you can modify lifted from her blog post:

Well, it takes just a little bit of preparation. I go through the Christmas boxes and find one about shoe box size, and I paint it black, so it looks kind of like a coffin. It’s the box where all the bad stuff goes to die! Then, during the party, at about 11:15, I pass around paper and pens. I tell everyone to find a quiet spot where no one can peer over their shoulders, and to write down anything and everything from the past year they’d like to forget or get rid of or just flat out wish had never happened. They fold those up tight, and we put them in the black box. I always save some kind of pretty, flammable ribbon–some years, I’ll tie it up with a bright red ribbon and bow–or maybe silver, if I’ve gotten lots of glitzy wrapping. Then, no matter what the weather, I drag everyone outside to the driveway, and I make a little speech about letting go of all the things we regret or are sad or angry about from the last year. Then we ceremoniously douse the black box with lighter fluid and throw a match on it,and we stand around and watch the bad parts from the old year burn to ashes.

So this is a great idea for a New Year’s Party to both let go of the old year and ring in the new year with positive affirmations. To modify it for a group or individual art therapy directive, I might have the patient(S) make both boxes. I would invite the person or people to write down anything from 2014 that they have been carrying around and feels heavy and that they want to let go of and clean out their house for new things, to borrow from Rumi’s poem The Guesthouse. I might even read the poem to them. Then to write down their affirmations or dreams for the new year and make some kind of container for it.

Well there is nothing like Carpe Diem. I interrupt this post to say that I just tried out a version of this idea and it was transformative. Both I and my patient wrote down things to let go of and read them and put them in a box I already have. She picked a box for her Affirmations/Goals/Dreams. We both wrote down things for the new year and shared and inspired each other. Then she started painting her box. After the first part, she felt a relief and letting go and after the second part, she felt “good”. I did too.

I will collect people’s old stuff in my black box and burn it all somewhere, not the box! And people who want to can make a box for their dreams for the new year, or do a Vision Board instead and actually make a collage with their dreams for new year in the collage.

There are all sorts of ways to be creative and ring out the old and ring in the new; I really love this one so thank you to Pam and Loolie!!! I will post photos of my black box soon…

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Is There a Right Way to Spell Hanukkah? Chanukah? Hannukah?

happy chanukah! that’s how I spelled it as a kid, when nobody put up menorahs in NYC; times have changed. Spell it however you want! The festival of lights: put a little light in your heart! Put a little love in your heart, whether you celebrate any holiday at all, or none. There is always room for more love to spread around, and it starts with me and you:” put a little love in your heart!” No I am not crazy, just drunk on Bill Murray’s ending monologue in the movie “Scrooged”! This is the first day of the rest of our lives…

TIME

It began last night at sunset: Hanukkah. Or is it Chanukah? Or Hannukah? Sometimes getting the proper spelling of a Hebrew word transliterated into English gets tricky, especially when far more than a trio of options prove technically correct. But if you don’t fall into the Hebrew-scholar category, what should you do?

With so many ways to correctly get the point of Hanukkah across, the proper spelling really turns into a matter of preference and mass appeal. If you want to fit in with the crowd, opt for the Hanukkah spelling, now the most widely used of the choices.

(MORE:Hanukkah 2011: Why the Holiday Is So Popular in America)

However, don’t forget Chanukah, the second most often used spelling and the favorite of traditionalists. Just how did Hanukkah‘s spelling become so popular and oust Chanukah atop the list? You can blame it on the ch

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Death and Facebook: A New Type of Supportive Therapeutic Community

I wrote an original post on this topic a few months ago and then decided it was problematic and needed to be reworked.

The purpose of that post and this new post is to show how Facebook can have an unusual, unique, therapeutic and healing aspect to it…

Besides all the “mundane” aspects of “status” posts on Facebook that many people complain about, (which, by the way, I actually don’t mind at all as I enjoy seeing photos of someone’s dinner or their kid doing something amusing), and other non serious or silly parts of the Facebook process, and also the professional aspect of Facebook, there is something quite new and interesting about Facebook in terms of its relationship to death. To begin with, I am a person who really enjoys Facebook and social media both personally and professionally, as those who follow this blog would know from my posts… So, I find lots of aspects of Facebook to be therapeutic, especially Facebook groups involving something creative or support groups…

I’m sure as long as Facebook has existed, there has been space on it for posts about death, whether the death of a celebrity or of an actual Facebook “friend”. I am curious to know how long Facebook has been a place for death announcements and mourning groups, and if activity of this sort has increased in the last few years or with growth of users…

So I just found an interesting article about this whole topic. I am not sure if I am adding anything new by writing this post, but perhaps writing from the perspective of a therapist, I can make this post different.
Here is the link to it, from Mashable.com, which I will quote from on here.
http://mashable.com/2013/02/13/facebook-after-death/
It’s entitled “How 1 billion People Are With Death and Facebook”, a title I might have changed to “With Death Through Facebook.”

The first aspect of this topic is the less personal: the concept of communal mourning of the largest scope, i.e. what happens on Facebook when a well-known person has died? One result involves regular people posting statuses and commenting on their feelings about this person dying, what this person has meant to them personally or what kind of a loss to the country or planet this death signifies. This seems to have been a common phenomenon since the advent of Facebook, as people often post links to interesting articles or info about celebrities, not just their death. I have observed it since joining Facebook around 2008. You hear about the death of a well known person in any aspect of life: the arts, politics, a religious figure, famous scientist, journalists, TV personalities, celebrities of all kinds, and notice your Facebook friends posting musings about this person, how s/he affected him or her personally, quotes from the person, references to articles or videos, etc. So with a very public death, Facebook serves as a place for people to comment on the famous person and his/her effect on their life, and also a place for easy access to a large variety of information about this person’s life and death. This is a significant aspect of Facebook and deaths of celebrities, that you can find all kinds of links to other websites/publications to access more information very quickly. I think people have not fully appreciated this aspect of Facebook. It also occurs on the anniversary of a celebrity’s death.

Since I first wrote this post, the big one has been the terrible tragedy of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s recent death. Another person whose relatively recent death resulted in a flurry of posts was Lou Reed. These are two good examples, as the kind of posts about their deaths is very different. Most of the ones about the recent death of Hoffman have been about how tragic it was and about heroin addiction and overdose, and what it means for a high profile very much loved and admired actor to die in such a terrible manner. There was shock at first about how he relapsed after so many years of recovery and then shock at the depth of his addiction and what was found in the apt. He died in, etc. Lou Reed’s death was fascinating for other reasons, as the loss of this public figure was elevated to the loss of an icon, which means he represented more than the sum of his creative acts and life on earth, but is a point of reference for a whole decade and generation and symbolized something more important than just his music and art — i.e. the era of Andy Warhol; with him, people are mourning not just a person and celebrating not just his music and talent, but something even bigger, how he fits into our culture as an icon, what he represents and represented in a much larger way than just his life and work… Facebook serves as a unique way for the intersection of the very personal emotional aspects of death and the phenomenon of the philosophical and cultural “legacy” left by someone that important to our “zeitgeist”… It also is a space then for nostalgia about the other loss, the loss of that time period and its particulars, such as the social, political and artistic realm of that particular “era”.

The other aspect of Facebook and death is the personal one, and there are different kinds of uses of Facebook in this category of loss. This can involve a dead persona who was active on Facebook or it could involve a Facebook friend’s using Facebook to mourn someone who was not on Facebook at all. One personal aspect of Facebook and death involving the mourner and not the dead person is the phenomenon of the anniversary of a death. Recently a Facebook friend posted a lot of photos of her father and family on the anniversary of her father’s death. It seemed likely her father was not a member of Facebook, but the important thing is that she was able to share with her friends some great photos and memories and also be able to share the loss on the anniversary in a way that people were not able to do before the existence of Facebook. It is also true for dead animal companions, the posting of photos on the anniversary of their death. I have seen a great eulogy written for a dead animal companion on Facebook, as well as people starting a Facebook “Page” or “group” about their animal.

One very odd aspect of death and Facebook is the actual discovery of someone’s death through Facebook, as we are used to finding this news out on the “news” itself, not second hand from a Facebook friend or Page. I think I have found out about celebrity’s deaths on Facebook itself, waking up to this news while looking on Facebook, before even reading or looking up news sites, where I would be likely to first see the news of someone’s death. On a personal level, the news of a peer’s or other connection’s death is sometimes first encountered on Facebook. Although it may seem too shocking to learn of your friend or family member’s death on Facebook, it serves as an immediate way to find out more information, both about the death itself and about arrangements for funeral and/or memorial service, and to be able to immediately communicate with others who share in this loss. I emphasize this aspect as it reveals an immediate therapeutic aspect of Facebook and death of a loved one. Through other’s posts on that deceased person’s own private page or through statuses of other mourners, there is instantly opportunity for dialogue and not being and feeling ALONE with the loss. One of the most healing aspects of the mourning process involves the ability to dialogue and communicate with others who share in this loss. There is much to be said for being able to share memories and nonverbal aspects of the person, such as photos, videos and songs, which Facbook allows immediate access for in a way that no other “social media” or other process can provide.

The Facebook personal page of the deceased and the Facebook Memorial Group or Page of the deceased: both are important as vehicles for communal mourning but in different ways. The article above describes the option people have of removing a dead person’s “Facebook profile” and presence or having the option of keeping it on Facebook for some very interesting reasons. Here are the options described verbatim from the Mashable article:

“• The profile remains untouched, unaccessed, unreported and therefore open to everyday wall posts, photo tags, status mentions and Facebook ads. In other words, business as usual.
• A family member or close friend may choose to report a death to Facebook. Upon receipt of proof of death, such as a death certificate or local obituary, Facebook will switch the dead user’s timeline to a “memorial page.”
• A close family member may petition Facebook to deactivate a dead user’s account.
• Users may gain access to a dead user’s profile in one of two ways: either through knowledge of the dead user’s password, a practice against Facebook’s terms of service, or through a court subpoena. However, per Facebook’s privacy policy and strict state law, courts rarely grant outside access to said social data. More on that later.
Facebook’s official policy for handling user deaths is the memorial page. In 2009, the social network began switching dead users’ profiles to memorial statuses, should the deceased user’s friends or family request the change.”

Interestingly, a lot of people do not choose to request a change in the dead Facebook User’s Profile from active to a Memorial Page. Not as a way to deny that the person is dead, but as a place to find actual real memories of posts that the dead person had written or posted. This can be especially meaningful to mourners if their dead loved one was very active on Facebook and also those who were not just active, but really used it as a direct form of self-expression. In addition, not mentioned in Mashable’s article, there are the Facebook Groups the dead person may have started and managed as well as any Public Facebook Pages this person may have maintained. A Facebook group has a number of privacy levels and kinds of access, but the point is that people who were actively involved in a Facebook Group with the diseased can continue posting particular posts relegated to that topic and to dialogue with the select people chosen by that dead person to be in that group. It’s like having 3 or more portals to mourning communally on Facebook. You can go directly to the dead person’s private Facebook page and look at old posts or new posts from other mourners. The interesting aspect of it being Facebook is that I have seen people address their post or comments to the lost love d one directly, which is a healing way to be able to “talk” to that person and get out what’s inside that you wished to have said or want to say. The other portal is the Facebook Group or Public Page of the dead person if they had a group they managed. Last of all is the possibility to create a special Memorial Page or Group for the loved one, whether or not s/he was a member of Facebook.

The Facebook Memorial Group is a very therapeutic and interesting phenomenon. It allows for a kind of constant memorial to occur and for people who cannot attend events like funerals/memorials who live far away to participate actively in the sharing of memories, feelings, and thoughts… Another great aspect of having a special Memorial Group for the dead person is that it can be created immediately to serve as a place to express shock and just feelings or other immediate things right away even before the formal ritual of a funeral/wake/service/memorial. It is also informational, a way to easily share info about such events so people can know quickly and make their plans in order to attend the particular event planned. In order to create a memorial group as opposed to a “Page” (which is more public), someone has to take the e initiative to be the one to create it, which just involves giving the group a name and picking the level of privacy of which there are three: Open, Closed, and Secret. If it’s open anyone who logs into Facebook can see everything about the group and who the members are. If it’s closed, it’s accessible in some ways, but only members of the group can view the “posts.” If it is Secret, there are further limits to access that make it much more private. For a fuller description, see this chart Facebook provides regarding groups of any kind:
https://www.facebook.com/help/220336891328465

Another important aspect of the Facebook Memorial Group is that it continues for no limit of time and people can be invited or ask to join at any point in time after the group was created. At various points in the years following the death, there are certain times when more people actively go to the group for solace and support, such as anniversary of the death or birthday of the lost loved one and other significant dates that people share as markers, such as a particular holiday the loved one especially loved etc.

In addition, this is also a way to be able to see the diseased and even hear his or her voice as people can post photos, videos and recordings. I think this aspect of it is really important as it can be very healing as part of the mourning process.

The other aspect of the phenomenon of the Memorial Group as well as the deceased continued presence through their profile and old posts and /or groups they participated in or managed, is that there is automatic allowance for the idea of mooning as having no expiration date. I think in a society where we are expected to “get over it” too quickly, this aspect of Facebook is very empowering for mourners who may not be able to “get over it” perhaps ever really, and are not required to completely…
This idea of loss is very beautifully expressed in the following quotation I found and actually posted on some memorial pages I am a member of:

Time does not heal, it makes a half-stitched scar
That can be broken and again you feel Grief as total as in its first hour.
-Elizabeth Jennings