A New Year


A new page on the calendar has been turned. 2015. Wow. The beginning of a new year is often heralded by a cacophony of voices clamoring for change, willing that this year will be different. I want to join that chorus but with a slight twist. Rather than call for dramatic change that will somehow be wrestled into reality, I wonder if we could take notice of what has been happening on the periphery of our daily lives and bring that activity into sharper focus as we move into the new year.

When I look back at 2014, the word that immediately comes to mind is transition. As a mother, I watched as one child went off to university. Introversion became the style of choice with quietness as its preferred tone as we shifted to accommodate the daily needs of three (instead of four) people. As a daughter-in-law and as a granddaughter, I witnessed the passing of the elders in my family. Their deaths dramatically reshaped the landscape of my family as the loss of their physical presence redefined who provided the link to our past. As a family therapist, I have heard more stories of longing in 2014 than I think I ever have. The plaintive cry for connection seemed to pierce through the usual presenting issues of depression, marital distress and trauma. As a citizen of this planet, daily reports of environmental, social and political changes were reported at speeds that regularly defied my attempts to understand and digest the implications. The call to adapt to what is has never seemed so clear to me.

I do not want 2015 to be shaped by the usual pop culture suspects of weight loss and financial order. While those changes can be compelling and certainly invite an approving gaze from others, I feel like there is something deeper afoot that comes with the realization my life is changing. Who do I really want to be? When do I feel most alive and connected in the midst of my many roles and responsibilities? What are the threads that wove their way through the year that was and are now potentially creating connections for the year that is to come? Perhaps I am entering a year of radical hospitality, hearing the call to welcome what is ahead with grace, knowing that change is the travel companion to growth.

If I were to absorb the lessons of change from 2014 and use them to inform the transitions that will inevitably come my way, how could I meet them with grace? Perhaps I could acknowledge both loss and opportunity, rather than narrowing my focus on one or the other. Maybe the times of stability might be used to revisit the plans that I have made and note any need for greater flexibility. The days of frenetic activity could be managed with the simple pleasure of a cup of tea or a silent prayer for strength. Perhaps I could intentionally schedule more time for letter-writing, phone calls, meeting face-to-face in order to hear, see, touch and feel my connectedness with others and therefore be reminded that life is a relational activity and every contact counts.

Maybe the lesson of 2014 was to remind me how valuable support and encouragement are in the midst of transitions. My prayer is that I will willingly give away what I have received to family, friends and clients in deeper ways. I welcome 2015 with arms opened wide.

Sharon Y. Ramsay, M.Div., RMFT

Sharon RamsayAbout Sharon

Sharon Y. Ramsay is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist who has a private practice in Toronto in which she consults with couples, families and individuals and offers supervision to clinicians. She has purchased new fountain pen ink and stationery to follow through on her intention to connect with others.

January 3, 2015

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