A friend tells me that the biggest thing she learned in 2016 was that through any turmoil and pain, “I meet myself.”
The year rocked many of us, that’s for sure. Collective decisions like Brexit and Trump’s election shook foundational values we thought we could count on. We’ve been forced to look straight into the ugly face of racism, misogyny and xenophobia. We feel a worldtilting sense of shock, anger, and sadness, a literal and physical vertigo. And looking ahead, we fear what “we” have chosen for our future and the world’s future.
My Facebook feed is rife with “eff you, 2016” sentiments. People have declared 2016 to be exceptionally sucky, with an inordinate number of celebrity deaths. Not to mention the election, and its accompanying decline of civil discourse.
There’s much that feels out of our control. People die, pundits yammer, a president-elect tweets vitriol (and intent to expand nuclear weaponry) …
We grieve, we vent, we obsess or step away from the 24-hour news cycle as our constitutions dictate. We might sign petitions, write letters, make plans to march. (Or none of the above. Maybe we go numb, maybe we carry on as before.)
Still, we only meet ourselves. Who are we in this moment? Are we awake? Are we alive? Are we triggered, reactive, stuck in fight-flight-freeze mode?
For myself, I can say that paying close attention to my inner landscape is the only way that I can regain my footing these days. When I find myself in free fall, as soon as I remember to, I breathe into the moment and see if I can tend to the triggered place within me. Then I can move into speech or action (or no-action, as needed) with my energy clear.
I think 2016 was the year that shook us out of our slumber. We have yet to see the full unleashing of a wide-awake (so rudely awakened!) populace. But if the sacred activism at Standing Rock is any indication, spiritually grounded action is a powerful antidote to the corporate greed that runs America.
Most of us won’t take part in grand protests, myself included (most likely). But our actions hold power nonetheless. I was reminded recently to show up in my “home frequency” with authenticity, and let go of outcome.
I think of that fantastically well-written TV show from a few years back, Friday Night Lights. “Clear eyes, full hearts: Can’t lose!” was the mantra of Coach and his high school football players.
How shall we meet ourselves?
Do we go into 2017 embittered, feeling victimized or triggered? Or do we clear our eyes, fill our hearts, and walk into the New Year unfettered?