Dreamcatchers! I know. I have to admit I’ve never been a dreamcatcher person. But in the spirit of being bold and open in the new year, I was compelled to give it a shot. It turned out to be such a lovely evening with other women who were creative, down-to-earth, and not necessarily dreamcatcher-types, either. We drank wine, talked about our lives, and about what brought us there. We gathered around long tables with supplies, and with a couple of examples laid out to spark our creativity, we assembled our dreamcatchers to our liking.
At the end, we were instructed to tie a piece of fabric on the dreamcatcher with a “word of intention," i.e., a word we would focus and meditate on throughout the year. Again, not something I would normally be into, but I felt like I was in a safe space to do something a little out of my comfort zone.
My friend chose the word “Yes,” as she wanted to be more adventurous and say “yes” to doing new things this year. Me: I landed on the word “Look." My hope for that word was that I would make more of a conscious effort to take in my surroundings, to not miss the daily miracles that were happening in front of me, to not be distracted with the things that don’t nourish my senses. And it also had to do with being thankful for what I have, if only I would take the time to look around and truly see it.
At this, the end of 2015, I realize how much more profound the word “look” has become. This year has been one of the hardest ones in recent memory for people I love. And it has been a year in which news and politics seemed to have rocked my emotions more than ever before. In each case, I’ve felt some level of helplessness or despair. But in moments of quiet, I find myself returning to that word, “Look.” Where is the beauty and good in this life? Sometimes it’s as simple as looking at my dog and her sweet, knowing eyes. But other times, the search requires more intention on my part. I often come back to the Fred Rogers quote about looking for the people who are helping in times of disaster and hardship. A trick I learned from my dad is to end each day thinking about the best thing that happened. If I’m consistent enough to form it into a habit, I begin to look at my day differently, thinking about how what I’m experiencing at this moment might be the best thing of the entire day. I have yet to be consistent about it, but I'm trying.
My dreamcatcher is still hanging on my wall, and I’ve considered taking it down a number of times, in part because my hair sometimes gets caught in one of its twigs (yes, it has twigs in its design) when I walk by. But whether I take it down or leave it up, I hope to continue my intention to “look” in 2016.
As for my friend who chose “Yes” with the hope of trying new things, she said “Yes” to her boyfriend’s proposal a couple months later, did a triathlon in the summer, got married in August, and in one of the strangest but beautiful moments I may ever experience at a house party, let us watch a live ultrasound of the little human growing inside her. I’d say that’s a dreamcatcher success story.
As I get older, life feels heavier, but I'm finding the heaviness makes beauty that much more profound. My wish for you and for me this coming year is that we will find beauty in each day because we have looked for it and found it.
Cheers to 2016!