As our traditional year-end holidays approach under the challenging circumstances of our present moment, I feel compelled to speak granularly of the space we all share. Shallow platitudes will not suffice, so I invite you to join me in a non-traditional contemplation of this unique time.
Since March 2020, the world community has been through the gauntlet – not a metaphorical gauntlet, but a real social, emotional, and physical gauntlet. We have experienced humanity at its most brilliant and compassionate, and we have experienced some truly toxic aspects of humanity. We have witnessed and experienced loss and confusion on an unprecedented scale. We have been challenged to re-imagine our lives and careers in response to ever-changing and consequential circumstances. We have scratched our heads at one another’s responses to COVID, and we have encountered inflamed emotions surrounding issues critical to sustaining a vital democracy here at home. There seems to be no limit to the number of inter-related issues we face.
How do we hold together our families, friendships, and communities – not just here in the present, but for the future as well. How do we honor our differences? Most importantly, where do we find common ground? What can we inject into the mix to diffuse the tension, fear, and distrust pervading so many aspects of our lives?
I have found not only refuge, but also clear direction in seeking out my own capacity for unconditional love. As I challenge myself to disengage from reactivity, judgment, and resistance, I can feel my stress evaporate, and I can begin to perceive intentional options that are sourced in love, compassion, and acceptance. I do not believe that I am unique. I believe we are more alike than we are different. We can each find the peaceful core of ourselves. Our ego may not be willing to believe that yet, but, in time, even our conditioned/reactive self can accept a deeper, broader view of our experiences.
Love is simple and profound. If we each focus on love and what it means to us, we can find peace. In peace, we radiate a specific kind of personal energy. When we are in peace, we are not feeding the fires of discontent. We are, in fact, starving those flames of the fuel they require to persist.
As I contemplate my love for our community and all the opportunities it has offered me, I can’t resist the thought that love is the magical element that has the gentle and undeniable power to transform our circumstances. I am so grateful for the love I have learned to recognize and raise up. Wrapped in this awareness, I wish us all a transformative New Year!