As we look back on this past year—we see the joy, and more than likely we remember the difficulties.
On these days around the New Year, we may fall into the depths of recalling painful memories of completed cycles involving places, jobs, lovers, homes or friendships. That temptation to wallow in the uncomfortableness is easy, but we must remember not to be a victim.
The victim role is an easy place to subconsciously slip into while we reflect upon the past year. “I can’t believe I allowed that to happen to me,” we may think to ourselves or lament to our best friends.
Trust me, I had quite the uncharted journey in 2013.
A journey that I believed was unnecessary, so I often wanted to blame a particular person—she who will not be named—for her inability as a leader to help my son in an academic setting, and subsequently our family suffered from that lack of awareness. This woman’s naive decision brought about a great deal of unrest, relocation and regrouping for my family in 2013.
Blame could be an easy route, but I am taking the more difficult path—one filled with an open-heart.
So I breathe out those feelings of exhaustion that came with relocating my family.
We experienced one of the most profoundly unjust series of events, and I should wallow in the difficulties—certainly I did earlier this year—but, now, I recognize that I will no longer be a victim.
Instead, I am giving compassion to the consequences created by her fear, which mixed with her ego led to her decision of acting without forethought. The story is complex, yet these words about this injustice will be all that I write, as I am stepping beyond that spiral of difficulties.
Compassion is becoming my higher road.
As writer and dancer Gabrielle Roth wrote, “Compassion is not always a hug; sometimes it’s like a slap in the face. It involves being able to feel what another is feeling while remaining sufficiently detached to know what is needed, and then to respond appropriately.”
Compassion takes us out of ourselves, almost like a spirit hovering over our predicament, so we may see the experience with a wider lens before returning to our toes where they touch our path.
During the turbulent days of this year’s blazing hot summer in northern California, I tucked a small bumper sticker in my journal, “Compassion is revolutionary.”
I’d flip open my notebook, and see those words (the author was unknown).
These words kept me going through packing and unpacking the U-haul, settling into a new place far from the ocean, readjusting my children to a new school routine and finding a new path for myself: one that surprisingly feels more authentic.
In finding a New Year’s path, we may discover that the road we traveled may not have been the path that we needed to be on, so we learn to let go, slowly for me while easier for others.
We must rise above the shifts in our paths—lay down the anger, pick up the compassion—and approach the new year as a warrior, not as a victim. In doing so, we will fulfill our resolutions.
We may love our journey that includes a path filled with being soft, sweet, fiery, lovable, questioning and more.
We may become more open to the new tangents in our journey—inevitably the twists and turns will happen for all of us, even if we wear shields. Life happens when we’re not looking, but we don’t have to be victims to the experience.
Remember, our way of living the experiences comes down to us—we can choose to be an open-hearted warrior.
May the New Year bring all that you desire, and those surprises that you didn’t see coming!
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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo Credit: Kendall Eutemey/Pixoto