Like many in my community I’m starting 2017 with a sense of trepidation and unease. The world feels much less safe for many of those I love, particularly those who are people of color, women, non-Christian, gay, trans, or all of the above. The world didn’t feel especially safe for these folks before, and now even less so. I’ve witnessed the fear on the faces and in the voices of friends and clients. Individually I have little control over the level of security of others. This creates a sense of helplessness that can feel overwhelming and depressing. It can also serve as a challenge. As I begin this new year I feel more motivated than ever to look hard for the hope, joy, and beauty in the world, and when I see it to share it with others.
This isn’t some Polly Anna, shiny happy people naivety. My rose-colored glasses broke a long time ago. Somewhere between learning that the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real and becoming a trauma therapist I got a bit jaded. I know that the bad guys are out there, and no amount of cute kitten videos on the interwebz will eliminate the danger. Despite that, I remain a hopeful
cynic. If I didn’t have hope and believe in healing I couldn’t be a therapist. I see people heal from wounds that were once unbearable. I listen as those who were silenced find their voices. This inspires me and gives me hope. In this time of turbulence, we have an abundance of ways we can work for positive change, help support each other, and speak out against the vitriol in our public discourse. In addition, I plan to contribute to the preservation of my little corner of the universe by balancing out some of the hatred with goodness. I’m committed to spending time each day to finding and noticing awesomeness, and then really soaking it in.
Awesomeness can be found all around us, we see it in something beautiful, generous, or joyful. It’s in the chorus of a Beatles song, in the fresh blueberries on your oatmeal, or in making it through the intersection before the light turns yellow (or red if you live in Austin).
This isn’t always easy. It might be no problem for the first few days or weeks. But then real life takes over. I know I’ll get busy, distracted. To find beauty every day takes commitment. That’s why I’m telling you I’m going to do it. Please hold me to it.
Sometimes I may have to look a little harder to see it, but that makes it all the more precious when I do. I know from experience that when I seek out that which nourishes my soul I feel the positive shift within me. If I share it with someone else, that person may get to feel the positive shift as well. And it continues to feed others. If you’re so inclined I hope you’ll join me. In whatever way works for you, look for some awesome every day. Soak it in. Share it.
If you’re interested in information about the transformative power of mindful awareness check out Rick Hansen’s book Buddha’s Brain.