On Hope for the New Year

Monday, 08 January 2024 14:56

this was written as a new's year's greeting for the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis...


On Hope for the New Year



Year’s end,

all corners

of this floating world, swept.

                                     Basho (1644-1694)


Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in a Zen lecture once said the Chinese character for “human” is two lines holding each other up and human existence demands this interdependence. Suzuki Roshi, like Winnicott, Bion, and many in our field, liked to make up his own words when those available didn’t carry enough associations. He spoke of “independency” to mean the non-duality of existence; we are simultaneously independent and totally dependent upon each other. He also alluded to the “independency” of good and bad/light and dark. A lot of Zen writings sound dark, but it’s the dark stuff that contains hope and a possibility of lightness. Both exist together and cannot exist without each other.

As we close in on the start of 2024, it’s difficult to not think of all the injustices in the world. We don’t have to look hard to conclude Things don’t look good. And we wouldn’t be wrong. We have a lot to do.

But maybe our responsibility, especially now, is to maintain hope for each other and ourselves. Maybe our job is to hold each other up the best we can, and, in this, we can find our own supports.

At the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis, we hope to continue as a community that supports itself by supporting each other. We don’t know exactly what the universe has on order, but we’re hopeful for what we have planned and are planning for the coming year.

Of this hopefulness, I think of my old pit bull. No matter the day or the situation, her mantra remained: “I don’t know what’s coming, but it’s going to be great! … A snack, a nap, maybe I run around in circles. I don’t know, but it’ll be great!” Her disappointments would be intense, but always momentary. She always came back to the anticipation and appreciation of something in the world.


gruel heaped

in a perfect bowl—

sunlight of New Year’s Day

                     Joso (1662-1704)


My wish for 2024 is that we can continue the hard work which the world demands of us, keep supporting each other best we can, and remain as hopeful as pit bulls.

Thank you for all being a part of CCP.

Happy New Year.

Zak Mucha, LCSW

President, Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis

On Hope for the New Year