Common Humanity
with Dana Belletiere, LICSW, MSED

Do What You Love

Traditional Holidays Not Your Thing? Here’s a Few Ways To Make Them Your Own.

I've never been a big fan of being told what to do or how to do it, and the holidays are no exception. There is a general societal expectation of holiday participation in a very specific way, and that seems to stand no matter how financially challenged or far away or introverted one might be. Gifts are the norm, travel is commonplace, and socialization (HOURS of socialization) is scheduled for days on end. To those that enjoy the holidays as they are, I tip my hat to you and wish you a fun and wonderful season. To all the rest of us, I offer a few out-of-the-box ideas to help us get all the way through to January 2nd (because, let's face it, New Year's counts in all the holiday-ness, too).


To the Parents of Kids that Don’t Fit In: Your Kids Are All Right

In my fifteen years as a clinician, I've worked predominantly with adolescents and young adults. I've always appreciated teenagers- there is such magic in that developmental period of trying on many different hats and identity exploration.

On countless occasions, I've had teenagers brought to my office by their parents, seeking support because their child isn't meeting the expectations set by someone in authority (the school system, or the culture at large, or the athletic coaches, or the parents themselves). They don't learn in a traditional way and don't want to go to school, or they don't want to participate in certain activities (ahem, ahem...sports...gym class, often). They aren't active at family events, or just don't like to go to them. They are too quiet and reserved, or too loud and effusive.  They just want to read, or draw maps, or do some other solo activity. Or, they just want to socialize and be with their friends, and aren't taking their studies seriously enough. They don't dress right. They don't hang out with the right people. Etcetra, etcetera.

Do What You Love

Do What You Love: Small Acts Of Daily Meditation

While I've always maintained a strong interest in it, meditation has never really been my thing. Historically, it's usually gone one of two ways for me:

I’d watch my thoughts (“like a waterfall,” as they say) zip and zap like lightning all over the map of my skull, disparate and brief and electric, and gone as soon as they’d appeared, until I'd become overwhelmed and agitated and shut the whole thing down.
I'd sit down to meditate, remember a thing I Had To Do, make a mental note, and then remember another thing I Had To Do, until the mental note became a mental list, and I'd become overwhelmed and agitated and shut the whole thing down.