Here is the holiday edition of the monthly blog feature from MSP President, Dr. Diane Blau, discussing what’s on her mind and in her heart regarding MSP and the field of professional psychology.
December has always struck me as an unusual month, especially if one is regulated by an academic calendar. Its early weeks seem to race by as semester tasks are completed. Then a temporal shift occurs with different rituals and rhythms. Now December heralds a season of festivity and the promise of joyful celebrations, delightful family gatherings, flawless gift exchanges and relaxing vacations…or so we have been led to believe.
Our memories inform our present experience and we reflect on a kaleidoscope of experiences, not always forming the ideal picture described above. Yes, we are impacted by our past, yet have the opportunity as adults, to change the present. Despite other Decembers, other years, if not how we desired them to be, how can we each enrich our experience this year? What changes do we want to make?
I have numerous holiday and year end rituals that have been created over many years. They seem to need modification every year as my family grows and changes. The family contracts at times, when members cannot be present, yet expands with welcome when they return. I like it best when everyone gathers and participates in long held rituals but am often met with groans at the suggestion. I succumb to new ideas, a bit disappointed, but look forward to new opportunities.
Families, I have discovered, must remain open to accept continual transition. Ever composed of unique individuals, there is conflict, hostility, envy, competition, and personalities too numerous to name here. Given the range of individuals, it is often surprising to me that there is any collaboration at all. However, there can be special moments of intimacy, unity and caring when the family becomes one.
Obviously, there is no perfect family, but that does not preclude sharing joyful moments, times of delight and feeling grateful for having or creating a family with shared memories and/or shared values.
I wish each of you celebrations and gatherings that bring you joy and delight and a new year that is bright with promise.