"If you trying to figure out what to do . . . you got to first figure out how you got in the situation you in..."
Wise words by Fielding from August Wilson's "Jitney"
Well, we're only a few days away from ending this year. As they say, it's amazing how time flies. This is a time that many of us dedicate to reflection about our journey and envision new goals. Perhaps, we find that it's time to fine tune action plans for works in progress. At any rate, this is an opportunity for pausing.
As you glance--not stare--at the last twelve months of your life's path, is there one thing that stands out as a lesson?
It's possible that the year has included a wide range of emotional experiences in this process of learning. For many of us it means the sense of loss when loved and admired ones pass away. It may also be filled with challenges in moving forward purposefully to take our relationships (family and otherwise) and professional lives to the next level of excellence. A couple of fitting questions here can be: What do you hold on tightly to and what do you allow to flow freely? The more we give, without compromising our overall health, the more we receive...
On the other hand, we may be celebrating milestones in our "walk" towards goals. This can include the discovery of new goals. You know how it is...When we throw ourselves into what we love all doors open and we may experience things beyond the imagined! Pleasant surprises are always welcome. For this we benefit from cultivating open-heartedness, which also opens our eyes to see more opportunities to be of service. Might this be one of this year's lessons for you?
May this moment of reflection engage you in recognizing and bestowing value on every step of the way in your efforts to transform your life. The experiences are cumulative, therefore, no part of the journey is more important than the other. Yes, the painful experiences can be perceived as a gift , like the joyful ones, for they provide us with the substance of insight. We can't lose when we open our hearts to insight in all circumstances. So, there may be more than one lesson to add to our wisdom catalog in 2019---or more than one experience with the same lesson trying to get our attention!
Hopefully, given that mistakes must take place along the way, you have allowed compassion to be a centering and energizing force. If you feel that this happens to be an area that needs more attention in order to clear the mind and focus on your mission, so be it. Author Karen Armstrong says, "Compassion is a practically acquired knowledge, like dancing. You must do it and practice diligently day by day." So, get down with the compassion dance! It's not always easily felt, or danced, particularly when old hurts continue to cloud our vision and keep us finding fault out there in the world. What can we do, no matter what others do or have done to us? Here we shift from blame to taking responsibility. In taking responsibility we are better able to see the lessons all around us and invest our energy.
Speaking of finger-pointing, every time we find ourselves judging something or someone it can be helpful to remember that we're all doing the best that we can with what we "know". This idea can invite us to live compassionately, not only towards others, but also ourselves. Now, this is not to unhook anyone from responsibility from their choices. Instead, it's to keep the bigger picture in perspective. We're all candidates to expand our knowledge and deepen our sense of peace. There's always something to learn. May we be reminded that our ignorance and insight are ongoing. Let's cultivate patience with and curiosity about the process of growing---ours and that of others. Life's difficulties call us to learn how to become more compassionate. Admittedly, it's not as simple as it sounds, but it's a challenge that can elevate the quality of our lives.
Another question that might shed light on one lesson this year is focused on what inspires your gratitude. This is the single most important lesson for many: Gratitude.
It's possible that this year you may have experienced certain things in your life, immediate community and in relation to the global community that inspire gratitude for what you have and can share with others. You may be moved to do new things to improve your life and enrich the lives of people in it. What are your new visions or plans?
Maybe you're already harvesting what you planted at the beginning of this year...Perhaps, you're still feeding the seeds (e.g. relationships, work projects) such that they will germinate. In any event, remember that consistency, flexibility, patience, a good sense of humor, and mentors are the "fertilizers" that create the necessary conditions to produce excellence. Keep going!
Life is precious, savor its lessons. Let's compassionately reflect on how we got here to clear the path to where we're going. Onward and upward!
"Our human compassion binds us the one to the other - not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future."