A New Year, a new decade. The millennium celebrations seem so recent, 2020 so distant, and what do we dream?
Our world is in chaos. Global warming has brought floods, melting icecaps, biting winds and the growth of deserts. The global economy wobbles. Oil and gas reserves are due to run out during the next decade. Unemployment, poverty and displacement grow more commonplace. And what of an aspirational global community? Conflict in Afghanistan has replaced war in Iraq and Iran, which in turn replaced wars in Central America, Central Africa and Vietnam. Western fears of an Islamic invasion have taken over from the communist threat, which followed fears of Nazi domination. As we enter 2010, is anywhere stable? Our small island has been further wracked by a sorrow so profound: that of corruption and immorality within the Catholic Church. The state and church hierarchies are shaken and our people skid and skate on the unstable ice of our economic, religious and political state.
Yet we remain hopeful. People look optimistically towards the New Year. With a resilience characteristic of all humans, we seek connection with each other, with the winter solstice, with the light of candles burning throughout the land and with the full blue moon of New Year’s Eve. Conversations about new cars, expensive handbags and forthcoming holidays are being replaced with a greater openness about fears, worries and tough realities. A greater awareness of our human fragility on Earth and the need for different patterns are being discussed.
And in our small community of psychotherapists, what can we offer ourselves, each other and our communities: perhaps a space to sit and breathe, to look in the face of fear, to recognise and accept loss, tragedy and pain, to move towards hope and balance, towards connection and joy. The psychotherapeutic relationship is in essence a relationship with the Self and with the Other be it the Divine, the environment, other people, or engagement with reality. We can offer that space. Room to breathe is at the heart of our survival.
Fearful people, those without hope who see death as an option, depressed lonely people, those caught in a financial web, lost people who feel abandoned and isolated, those of us who feel out of step with a fast moving world, need connection. Whether through spiritual groups, reading groups, writing groups, walking groups, or therapeutic groups, we seek expression of our internal and external connections. A current beautifully crafted film, ‘Avatar’, has a central message of connection. Communicating within, with each other, with the environment and all that grows, these harmonious creatures defeat the invading army of computerized, militaristic, displaced humans.
So perhaps in the new decade we can dare to dream of joyous connection: engagement with ourselves, with the Other, with the planet and accept the evolving challenges. Breathe gently in 2010 and the new decade.