Happy New Year!

So, that was an interesting year. I feel that these transitional times are always a good opportunity for longer-term reflection. This year has, without a doubt, been the most challenging of my life in a number of ways. However, if I look back with a focus just on this year, it seems too short-sighted. If I read entries in my journal from 3 years ago, I was in a state of torment. My life was out of my physical control, and my emotions were an absolute mess. I was praying for a change that would never come, and what I now recognise as being na├»ve in my expectations of this. It took a bit of a shock to break out of that pattern, but I feel like the last 8 months have been the most important of my life so far in terms of learning from that experience. As one good friend said, this was the “kick in the balls needed to get my life back under control.” I have begun to find out more about what does or does not work in my life, how to listen to my heart and mind with more depth, and how to love myself more so that I can be more loving towards others. I’m beginning to understand that what we call ‘love’ takes many different forms, and can be unconditionally applied to almost everyone and anything in various ways.

This has been especially useful with recent events, where some individuals brought an incredible amount of violent anger and hate into my life. The uncertainty, opacity, and veiled motivations behind this contributed to this being the most significant trial of my life to date. 3 years ago, or even a year ago, I would have probably not been strong enough to deal with this episode and given up on everything. Instead, I have been fortunate enough to be granted space and time for deep introspection in relative solitude, and a lot of writing. I am deeply grateful for the support of a number of beautiful individuals to help me through this painful episode. Each morning, I have been meditating on being more compassionate and unconditionally forgiving towards those who sought to hurt me. It is quite liberating, and I feel the most powerful thing I have been training myself to do for the last part of this decade. It has helped again to form new, stronger bonds of friendship, and solidify in my mind the things that I value most and hold dear, and give me a clearer picture of the path ahead. It also awakened in my mind a sense of who I am able to trust, and painful recognition of those who I no longer could.

I feel like much of the last decade has been focused on building walls around and between us – socially, emotionally, demographically, culturally. I get the sense that humanity feels divided and disconnected, and it going to take a lot of effort to heal those things. I strongly believe in building bridges between us, and fostering collective compassion and empathy, especially towards those who we might disagree with or who seek to do us harm. I can say from experience that this is a difficult task, requiring consistent and daily cognitive efforts. But I feel it is what we all need most right now as humanity goes through what seems like a transformational period in its history.

So, with this, in the new decade, I hope that we can all take more time for ourselves, and to reflect on the things that are most valuable to us. Kindness, love, and joy, for ourselves and for others; whatever it is that helps you to feel clear in your heart and mind. The world feels like it’s delicately balanced at the top of a giant precipice at the moment, and often it feels unstoppable anger and greed are going to push it over the edge. If we look at saving the planet and actively cultivating peace as our collective responsibility, then it is the duty of each of us to be exceptional in our emotional and intellectual maturity to deal with this. Apathy, selfishness, and hate are walls that cannot be part of creating a better world for ourselves and future generations.

I wish each of you reading this unconstrained bliss in the new year, that you become empowered to become a stronger version of who you were for the last year, and that you can use this for the benefit of all of those around you. For now, I am taking a number of months off to dedicate my time to all of these things. I am optimistic for a brighter and freer future.

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