Naperville therapists

Photo Credit: Bigstock (Patryk Kosmider)

Every New Year’s Day, I drive home from Oklahoma to Illinois. As I drive, I take time to remember what the last year brought and to dream what the next year might bring.

This time, it was difficult to let myself remember.

As I struggled to make peace with a year marked by personal disquiet and global turmoil, I also struggled to imagine something better for the year ahead. Instead, I simply wished for kindness. Then I remembered the words of John O’Donohue: “Despite all the darkness, human hope is based on the instinct that at the deepest level of reality some intimate kindness holds sway. This is the heart of blessing.”

One gift of my Irish heritage is the ancient art of blessing. Some believe the act of blessing has power to call forth new possibilities, to carry us over the boundaries between old and new, and to infuse us with protective and transformative grace. Some believe that when we bless, we actually create something new.

Sometimes the darkness seems too overwhelming to imagine any light will break through – but I like to imagine the light wants to find us; I like to imagine the light is blessing us, calling us across thresholds from death to life, from loss to fullness, from old to new. And I like to imagine that when we bless each other, we create new light, too.

So, to all who are weary of remembering and of dreaming, I bless you:

When you know fear,
may you trust someone big enough to hold you.

When you know powerlessness,
may you hope for that which brings your soul alive.

When you know heartache,
may you also know you are loved more than you even dare to imagine.

And when you know darkness,
may you find the courage to embrace your own light –
and set the world on fire.


If you’re interested in receiving future Artisan blog posts by email, CLICK HERE to subscribe to the list. We publish new, free, and (hopefully) helpful content every other Friday, and we’ll never try to sell something to you. Therapy is the one space in the world you get to receive without feeling compelled to give in return. We want the Artisan blog to feel the same way.

Mandy Hughes

Mandy Hughes

Mandy is a licensed professional counselor. She counsels adults, adolescents, and groups and has a particular interest in helping survivors of trauma and abuse navigate their stories of harm with self-compassion instead of shame. Mandy is passionate about empowering her clients to live more integrated, vibrant and hope-filled lives.

Disclaimer: Posts on the Artisan Clinical blog represent a combination of our therapists’ personal opinions and professional experiences, but they do not reflect professional advice. Interaction with a therapist via the blog post or the comments section does not constitute a professional therapeutic relationship. For professional and customized advice, you should seek the services of a counselor who can dedicate the hours necessary to become more familiar with your specific situation. While all blog comments are read and appreciated by our therapists, the blog cannot be monitored continuously, so if you have a need that requires immediate attention, you should go to your nearest emergency room for assistance. We do not assume liability for any portion or content of material on the blog and accept no liability for damage or injury resulting from your decision to interact with the website.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our therapists, you can do so on our "make an appointment" page. We respect the privacy and confidentiality of our clientele, so we write about ourselves, not our clients.
Mandy Hughes

Latest posts by Mandy Hughes (see all)

Feeling Your Feelings: The Bravest Choice for the Fullest Life
The One Simple (But Not Easy) Solution to 80% of Your Problems