The Power of Community and Vulnerability in 2017
I have been thinking a lot lately about how to live more openly and more purposefully. 2016 was full of so much contention and division for many, both personally and nationally. Many people’s hearts were broken and many felt validated finally. What I experienced was a deep inquiry into my own beliefs and assumptions and a time of great questioning. Like many, my life has been an intersection of privilege and challenges that have shook me to my core. Sometimes I have seen and felt the easier parts of my life and in those moments had a strong sense of gratitude that inspired me to give back. Other times I have taken these gifts for granted, feeling no responsibility to anyone outside of myself. I have fought hard to overcome the obstacles in my past and do my own healing so that perhaps in some way I can give back to others. However, I have also gotten lost on this path only to find myself, self-absorbed and closed off from my responsibility to the greater good.
I had a conversation on New Years Eve that has opened my perspective and reminded me of something I lost sight of, along the way. I was so wrapped up in my own world, in my ability to overcome great adversity that my thinking became out of balance. It became very individualistic. If I can do it, why can’t everyone else? The New Age movement has really helped shape my life in such a beautiful way by giving me back my power, helping me to release blame and return to my ability to choose, to create the experience I want. But it has also led me to forget that we are not separate, we cannot do it all on our own and the playing field is not equal for everyone. There are people who have sacrificed so much in order for me to stand where I am today. We have all been created out of the hard work, the joys and the triumphs of those who have come before us. We also carry the shame, heartbreak and darkness of their history, which is our history too.
The paradox is that both are true. We have great internal power to create our own destiny and we live in a world where systemic imbalances make it much harder for some. We can create a beautiful life but we need each other to do it. We cannot fully heal our own heart unless the hearts around us heal too. I forgot this but I am remembering now. Sometimes when our pain has been great and we have repressed or moved beyond it, it can be scary to open to the pain of another. I know that for the more difficult challenges in my life this has been true for me. In order to protect myself, I stood in my privilege and closed my heart to the struggle of those still suffering from continued oppression. There is a fear inherent in exposing our vulnerability. I feel this now as I write these words, but for me 2017 is about breaking down the walls that I have built inside to protect myself.
It is about-facing the way my choices impact the people in which I share this world. 2017 is about letting myself be seen and standing up against injustice. It is about making more connections, reaching out towards the greater good, speaking up for another, sitting down and listening with an openness that can break down walls. 2017 is about letting someone else go first, it’s about celebrating the diversity in my life. It is about not needing to have all the answers. 2017 is about creating communities and coming together. It is about being more flexible and forgiving, asking more questions and being braver when I speak. 2017 is about opening to a bigger perspective beyond myself, and getting involved as an active participant in helping to make the world a better place for everyone.