What Did the Last Year Change in You?
As we come to the close of another challenging year, I find myself asking the question, “What has changed in me?” I like to reflect and take time to put attention on how I am different than the year before. What I found is that the word I picked for the beginning of 2021 that I wanted to create was community. (And quite honestly, until my daughter asked me, I had totally forgotten I picked a word for the year). What I mean by community is a group of people, family and friends of all ages and all beliefs that honor and respect each other and gather together with an open heart of supporting each other in love, no matter our differences. I like to call this community my chosen family. These are the people in my life I could call for anything – good or bad – and I know they would be there for me.
On Thanksgiving Day, I was encircled with a table of 9 people, family and friends that held space for me as I found out my oldest brother was in a coma. It was incredibly loving and heartfelt, and I know my brother, Michael, felt the prayers and love we were all sending him before diving into our Thanksgiving feast.
My brother died a week later, and as painful and sad as the loss of his presence is in my life and our family’s life, I know he is in a better place. He was a peaceful spirit with a beautiful heart that knew it was time to cross over. I honor not only his decision, but also the presence he made in my life and the impact his death had on me. Michael is still teaching me many lessons: to surrender; to chill out (that is the way he was); to love, even when it is hard to do so; to listen generously; to give of yourself and to walk with gentle steps through the world.
When I think of how this year has changed me, I think Michael’s death was one of the deepest lessons for me. His death is teaching me about accepting others and releasing judgment of how people choose to live, what people say and do, and to begin to be aware of when I go into judgment (ego). Regardless of what I think others should be doing, I need to shift into my heart and change my internal dialogue to reflect more love. I have always thought I was pretty good at allowing others to be who they are, but Michael’s death is bringing it home for me that there is still work for me to do in this area – I need to release my ego and the need to be right – especially when I see destructive behavior that people exhibit verses making a different choice.
I realized that there is always something bigger than me at play, and I have to trust that whatever choice people make, they know what is best for them. I am practicing turning my judgment around by recognizing they are my biggest teacher, for in those moments, I breathe and tell myself to allow love to move through me and allow them their choice, no matter the pain I see it brings them.
This realization seems appropriate with a year of coaching and discussions focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. We have to learn to be more inclusive with others, and it starts by being more inclusive with ourselves and turning our own negative thinking around. Those that provoke us are our greatest teachers.
May the close of the year support you in honoring what you confronted in yourself, what you became aware of, and clarity on what action you are taking to harness the change inside you so that you can move into more loving of yourself, which will support you in loving others deeper.
Wishing you time and space to be tender with yourself through this holiday season.