So, here we are. January. The month in which tradition dictates that we collectively cast off the excesses of December, with its good times and feasting and all-round excess, to embrace the new year in our very best hair shirt, full of promises and resolutions for a Brand New You.
Forgive us while we snort in merry derision at this picture of mass (and repeated) self-delusion, but with, according to a study by the UK’s University of Hertfordshire, a failure rate of up to 88 per cent, new year’s resolutions remain one of the most pernicious examples of the ongoing triumph of hope over experience. What to do?
Well, perhaps instead of deciding that everything in the garden needs a potent and rapid overhaul that is as unrealistic as it is superficial (stop smoking, lose weight, wear more blue…), what we should really be attempting is to use the fresh start a new year potentially affords by getting to the root of what it is we really want or need and then take things from there.
Enter A Holistic Experience, a one-day workshop taking place at DIAC (Dubai International Art Centre) this month that, with a tagline that offers the opportunity to ‘Learn to be the best you can be’ could have been tailormade for January (the courses are, in fact, ongoing – good news for those of us too lazy or obstinate to make resolutions at the beginning of the year). ‘That is our main aim for the session,’ agrees UK-trained creative therapist and life coach Femida Hirji. ‘I hope that they go away feeling like they’ve learnt something about themselves.’
One of the highlights promises to be an art session led by artist and fashion designer Diyali Sen Bhalla in which participants will be given a canvas, access to paints and other media, and invited to paint and draw their way to personal enlightenment. Everything, from subject to chosen medium and colours can help us learn something about ourselves and our desires, explains Hirji, adding that participants often develop confidence simply by starting to paint: ‘We always think our creative work’s going to be worse than what it actually is, so that works in a therapeutic way,’ she notes. ‘It’s actually quite daunting, especially in front of a group of 30 people, to put pen to paper or brush to canvas, but that in itself raises confidence and self esteem.’
Other activities include group breathing exercises, team building (one, involving newspaper, sticking tape and a loose instruction to ‘build the tallest structure’ sounds especially fun) and a two-hour session on goal setting, led by Hirji herself, that aims to help participants get back in touch with what, for some, might be long-neglected personal objectives. However worthy all this might sound, Hirji is at pains to point out that, ‘It’s not going to be a serious day.’ Rather the emphasis, however much the aim is to help people centre and rediscover, is on fun. ‘We want people to go away and feel empowered, we want people to go away and feel invigorated, we want people to go away and have some new energy,’ she explains. Now that sounds like the kind of New Year’s resolution we like.
A Holistic Experience takes place at DIAC, Jumeirah, January 15. Dhs350 inc lunch. 04 344 4398 or 050 916 6650; email@example.com