optimism

Following Your Dreams

Just follow your dreams..blah, blah, blah…Does this sound like a familiar and cliché statement? Although this blog is being written by an optimist, I am the first one to be skeptical by the stuff dished out by pop culture. Today we will explore our dreams, as in: very high, but reachable goals we would like to set for ourselves.

Please find some paper and a pen. At the top of your page, write your dream..please think of something that is a stretch, but reachable. At the bottom of the page, write something that you can do today to take some micro steps to make it happen. There might be a huge empty space between the top and the bottom of the page, but the micro steps are the ones necessary to get to the top of the page. Can you create a time line for yourself by adding today’s date at the bottom and the target date for reaching this goal at the top? Most people never achieve their dreams because they talk themselves out of it before they even begin. Can you think of other micro steps you can take to head in the direction of your dream?

There also might be many negative voices as you write this information down dissuading you from follow through. Please acknowledge these (negative people behind the negative voices) and proceed onward. Good Luck. Start Small.

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Attitude Check

How is your attitude these days? Really, attitude is everything, and according to people like Viktor Frankl who have spent their career thinking about this topic (author of Man’s Search for Meaning). Attitude is the one thing we have full control over in our lives. Today’s art exercise will explore this element of ourselves and if done honestly, might provide insight into our current satisfaction with things around us. Please find paper and writing or drawing material. Draw an image of yourself outside in some type of inclement weather. Add some word balloons describing what you might be saying or thinking. Don’t worry about creating a masterpiece. The goal of this exercise is to get the information on paper.

Yesterday’s project: So, can you make a mistake? This exercise of blind contour drawing is a challenging one, especially because it forces us to give up the control we seem to have over many elements of our lives. For people who hate making mistakes, this is a very healthy exercise to get out of one’s comfort zone. Conducting an art therapy group on this topic in an in-patient psychiatric setting has proven to be the most powerful and painful activity, forcing participants to come face to face with an honest assessment of themselves and dealing with the very common and real fear of making mistakes.

When you look at your contour drawing of yourself, can you make any honest observations of emotions, mood, attitude? Can you identify how you were feeling as you made it? Art making like this can be quite revealing, and the best way to initiate change in oneself is to make an honest assessment of our current situation. Blind contour drawing is often a very sobering exercise in which we come face to face with a very honest/current assessment of ourselves. The word “current” is quite important here, meaning that this assessment is really temporary, and can change quickly if one puts the work into it.

Can you identify how it feels to have made something less than perfect? We are our own worst enemy and often the barrier preventing us from succeeding. Fear of failure or making a mistake is the fuel for remaining sedentary. If this is a topic in need of exploration in your life, please spend time journaling or sharing your feelings with a loved one.