What’s cookin in 2018? Remember you are the chef… (collage Judith Essex)
It’s New Year’s Day. The Hoppin’ John is on the stove.
It’s a traditional Southern dish of black-eyes peas, onions, celery and ham. I add carrots and garlic. A humble, earthy dish, that is said to bring the diners good luck and fortune. Each of the black-eyes peas represents a coin. I only eat them this one time in a year, but this is the time that counts. It’s New Year’s Day that’s what makes the magic: the timing.
The promise of good luck is interesting. What else do I do to ensure good luck? Cross my fingers? Pull the wishbone? These simple silly rituals pepper our days and reveal our desire to use “magic” to help create good fortune. How do we get lucky? Can we increase our odds? Must we wait for the gods to bestow it, or can we make our own luck?
Sometimes, luck is all in how you perceive the surprising changes we each experience.
I believe we can make some of our own luck, but to do that takes a couple of steps. Step one is a clear-eyed look at what is…
An accurate appraisal of the total situation that includes ourselves, our resources and challenges is the prime ingredient in the recipe for luck. We need the gifts of both phenomenology and self-awareness. Either one is a challenge to routinized thinking; both together offer a real contest of rationality; a dual between old me and now me. This double-dip of honesty asks us to lay aside our pre-conceived notions about ourselves and our situation.
We may need assistance to help look into our blind spot. A coach, counselor, or therapist can help us see our lacunae, those areas of our own lives are not seeing. Expressive arts therapy is particularly good at showing us resources that we may have overlooked, both those within and outside of ourselves. When we use the multiple languages of the arts we have many avenues to explore.
A journal is a wonderful silent partner, ready to hold and reflect your thoughts, feelings, and musings. I have numerous prompts that can show new paths to take_ new endeavors to try. (Journal cover Judith Greer Essex)
The next step is “Action.”
It is almost impossible to grasp the degree of randomness that we live with. We strive our best to make each day look as much like the next as possible, thus keeping at bay the anxiety and fear that uncertainty brings us. …
But action that will increase luck asks us to take risks. Keeping safe (and familiar) is the opposite of taking a risk. My tiny secret is “yes.” Say “yes” to all invitations and requests (or as many as make any sense at all). Try. The more actions you take, the greater the likelihood that one or more will lead to something.
Return the call, the email, go to the meeting or gathering, respond to life at your door. Ask for what you want or need, yes, do that, but the protagonist in your life is you. You must act, you must take the step. Play your action. Goethe said “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” I agree.
This simple two-step recipe; appraise and take action, is a part of any expressive arts therapy process. To reflect and respond is both empowering and enlightening. Occasionally, we are offered a free lunch. By all means take it! But the luck you make is more dependable and more satisfying.
Need help with your journaling? Dr. Essex offers a twice-monthly journaling course that may be right for you. Check out our event pages for details: