In my last article, “Do You Have People In Your Life Who Support You and Your Dreams” I addressed the issue of the importance of having a support system and exercising discernment in selecting the right people to be on that team for you. Several of you responded and in some cases you revealed that you do not have people on whom you can count, especially family members.
There are additional approaches to give you nurturance, clarity, and an outlet to express yourself. While it is good to have someone or a few select people who are objective and who will encourage you to go the distance when things get hard, there are other activities that can serve you when you do not have such support. They also work in addition to having the support of these people.
I notice that when I am at turning points in my life, I go through a process to get from one end to another. It could be something that I seek to accomplish for myself, or how I deal with something that has come upon me – into my life.
Besides prayer, contemplation, and meditation, when faced with difficult times of transition, I also have used physical activity, walks in nature, art, music, dance, and self-expression in some form as assistance in getting through the period.
I can remember enrolling in an art class when I needed to gain clarity for a major decision affecting my life. Imagine that…using a small group class in an artist’s studio on Saturday mornings in the winter to help me grow through the challenge of making a life altering decision! This was my first art class, so I was not an artist and the course did not bill itself as something in the realm of therapy or problem-solving, either. It was just an art class, but it was a form of self-expression.
I am reminded of the days when I was nearing the end of my doctoral studies and seeking clarity for creating a research project. Out of the blue, I began to make bread, week after week. Every aspect of the process brought me joy – from shopping for the whole grains, to trying recipes in The Tassajara Bread Book (a gift from a former doctoral student). I especially liked kneading the bread with my hands. That was my therapy. I loved watching the dough rise in the cloth-covered bowls on my window sill. That would put a smile on my face and bring me joy tinged with surprise as my eyes beheld the huge mound that rose under the cloth. It was like magic and it reminded me of my childhood delight in watching my grandmother uncover the dough for her dinner rolls and bread.
A hobby, creative activity, and physical activity allow for reflection, contemplation, and they encourage your self-expression.
Art, gardening, carpentry, building something, singing, nature walks, journaling, writing, cooking, and other hobbies are a few ways one can enter a process for support, healing, growth, insight, creativity, and transformation when others are not there to assist.