Don’t Believe the Forecast

By Patrick McNerthney 

Have you ever had one of those conversations where, as you’re explaining something, the listener kind of bobs his head up and down, muttering “uh-huh” in such a disconnected way that he already knows how the story will end? 

This happens to me all the time.  Mostly in the form of pleading, by my wife and kid ala, “C’mon, let’s not hear that story about Mexico and how in the course of losing your wallet, you met Taylor Swift’s agent, AGAIN.” And they do this when I’m already revved up and just about to dive in. The nerve! 

Now, I’m not talking about  repeating the same story over and over again–eliciting groans and eye rolls from the audience.  No.  My issue is with the phenomenon of having an important thought – usually about important, lofty goals and big dreams – cut off by the amazing ability of people to see our future. It usually sounds something like this:

“Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh…. That’s risky, because if you do that, (insert gloomy possibility here) is going to happen, and you won’t be able to (insert even gloomier result here).”

It’s amazing. Astrologists, psychics, and our mothers-in-law purport to know what is going to happen for good reason: They can magically put their fingers to their temples, close their eyes, chant, gaze ahead and (based on their experience), PREDICT. Wow!

(Judge of both my ironing and my future.)

Our own brains are equally efficient in this soothsaying. They often interrupt our important ideas right away, crushing them by pummeling us with the eight million reasons why they won’t work. 

This is because our mothers-in-law and our brains share the trait of wanting to protect us from risk (astrologists and psychics not so much). It’s voiced using statements that feel like ardent support (we don’t want you to feel pain, so don’t risk it), but in reality, are predictions of failure. Indeed, that thing we’re pinning our hopes on, that we feel is so important, but are uncertain will actually work, elicits a fear response – so the voices jump right in with (mythical) abilities to predict what will happen; which typically describes our impending doom. 

This is only natural when it comes to folks we care about. Who wants someone we love to suffer through rejection, judgement, embarrassment, or failure? Yikes! Better to scare us onto the easy path, the safe one with fewer bumps, hills, twists, and turns. Ah, that feels better….

But see, that’s the problem. There’s no such thing as an easy, straight path. THAT’s a myth.

Sorry. Only happens in parks or interstates.)

So our circle (including our noggins) protect us with dire predictions, which are easy to believe because our circle knows all about our past missteps, failures, embarrassments, and pain, despite our hard work (AND our efforts to hide the aforementioned). And they are well versed in ways others have tripped and fallen flat on their faces in a similar manner…   

Let’s take a lesson from astrologers. Those forecasters of earthly and human events draw believers for one reason: When the story is vague enough, we fill in the details – OUR details – on our own, and their predicted outcomes seem to magically happen based on “facts” we choose to add to the story. In other words, astrologers are really good at creating a framework. But without us filling in the blanks, they wouldn’t make any money, because astrologers are terrible at specifics. (So is your mother-in-law.)

The lesson in this: Don’t believe the forecast. 

We listen to soothsaying because we crave a spirit-guide on our personal and professional journey. But the truth is, there is no such guide. Instead, we have people we trust who support us and have our back. And we have people who need us to do the same for them. 

Fine Art Miracles supports YOU, the caregivers of underserved populations, as you seek new ways to create connection for your residents and loved ones struggling with social isolation. The “trick” of our trade is creative expression – a tool that fosters feelings of self-worth, mastery, confidence, and relevance in those who need help with daily life, struggle with loneliness, and who feel otherwise forgotten by the outside world. 

This holiday season, our ART2GO packages offer a joyous way to create community, connection, and hope for the future in the elderly, children with challenges, or anyone with different abilities. December’s Pablo Picasso Blue Period Group Lesson  provides up to 20 participants a chance to celebrate both the holidays and their own identities and importance by simply making. A great way for you to dip your toe in the water of creative expression, and give those who rely on your support a chance to do the same, while showing them you have their back!

Please reach out if you have any questions, or if you’d like to learn how Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance & Movement Therapy, or our brand new Drama Therapy programs can help you achieve your lofty goals and big dreams of changing your residents and loved ones lives. You don’t have to listen to the soothsayers who are basically nay-sayers!.

Okay, just in case my mother-in-law reads this I’d better go tell her how great she is. Maybe I’ll make her a present. I’d be in the doghouse if she thinks I don’t trust her…ah…judgement?  Yeah, that’s what we’ll call it…


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