Happy New Year Educators and welcome to 2021! I hope you had one of the most relaxing and memorable holiday seasons and that you were able to create moments and memories that deepened the connections around you and supported your wellbeing. Breaks never seem long enough but I hope this one gave you a little of what you needed most at the end of 2020.
As I thought about resuming my routine and returning to this blog in 2021, I found myself wondering about what my stance in life should be as I begin a new year. There has been a myriad of good riddance statements made to 2020 as if midnight on January 1st ushered in a new reality other than the one that we have been living in for the past year. Unfortunately, the pandemic is still here, unemployment still plagues many, our political divides are stronger than ever, racial injustice still reigns, educational inequities remain the reality for far too many that have always been furthest from opportunity, and yet…it is 2021.
Here’s my truth…time is a constant. It is only divided into the days, months, and years as human beings have chosen to do so. As a result, the only change we will see from 2020 to 2021 is the change that we choose to bring to our lives, our situations, and the world around us. We sit with the power to create a 2021 that is truly transformative if we choose. So how do we tap into our internal reserve and usher in a different reality? Here is what I intend to focus on…gratitude, acceptance, and courage. Let me explain…
Gratitude has been talked about as the state of being that can hold no state of negativity and was already touted as one of the ways to shift one from a sense of despair to one of hope. And that was before 2020. As I sit here writing, I know that life is not easy. It is filled with loss, fears, doubts, and challenges that can suck the marrow out of life. It is also, however, filled with immense love, joy, peace, wonder, and possibility that embraces every experience that we encounter. Today we find ourselves in 2021…still standing…still breathing…and still with an opportunity to change and evolve and have an impact and for that, I am grateful. I look back at my life, including 2020, and realize that there are too many silver linings to count. Too many blessings and much too much to be thankful for and I recognize that through it all, purpose has woven its way into every challenge and experience. So, this year I am choosing to walk in a space of gratitude for everything and to allow that gratitude to bring me a deep understanding of what is taking place around me so I can be best positioned to be light and hope for myself and others.
Acceptance. I recently listened to a podcast and the speaker mentioned…” it is not the thing that is happening that is causing the challenge in our lives, it is our resistance to the thing”. Our unwillingness to accept the reality of what is and our insistence that something or someone outside of our control change before we change, can be mentally and emotionally taxing. By acceptance, we recognize where people and situations are and we identify where we can adjust our approach to either shift our reality or create a new reality for ourselves and possibly others. Acceptance doesn’t mean that we are suddenly okay with or tolerate mess. It simply means that we acknowledge that it is what it is and our adjustment and approach can allow us to tap into an inner space of peace that creates enough space to identify new solutions.
I recently heard Tony Robbins explain this as allowing the nagging parents to nag, because that is how they show care for their adult children, and remove the emotional attachment that we tend to connect to the experience. Insisting that the parent show up differently only increases our level of frustration and takes away any opportunity for us to be present and enjoy the opportunity for connection. So, this year may be an intention is to simply accept who and what we cannot change and remain connected to our sphere of influence. How much more empowering would that be?
And finally…courage. There is hardly much change that does not require courage. Identifying our sphere of influence is only the first step in creating change. Enacting that influence is where the actual shift occurs. We will be put in situations when we must speak up, push for change, upset the norms, and demand more. Courage is stepping outside of our comfort zone; allowing ourselves to show up with greater boldness, and doing what fear may have once told us was impossible. E.E. Cummings said,
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you are.”
Let this year be one of immense growth for us all where we surprise ourselves with what we can accomplish if we would only dare to show up with boldness and authenticity.
So…I believe in a 2021 that life will be greater, better, more loving, less frustrating…but only because I intend to bring this to the world through gratitude, acceptance, and courage. What about you? What do you intend to bring to this year more authentically? Join me or follow your own.
In Solidarity and Love,