Last year around New Year’s, my kids and I stood around a fire. One by one, we threw into the fire what we wanted to burn from the past year. We also voiced our intentions for our lives moving forward.
We did it again this year, but this time, I had just one intention that I wanted to set. That was to live and lead from a place of love. That’s it. Every other intention I’ve made in the past pales in comparison.
Trust me, leading from a place of love is going to be way harder than losing 10 pounds (which can be done, but it always comes back — at least for me). It’s going to be way harder than silencing the critical voice in my head (although I did make progress on that last year, so I’m proud of myself for that). It’s also going to be way harder than giving up sugar (well, that is pretty hard, so maybe I’ll save that one for Lent).
Yes, leading from a place of love is going to be my toughest intention yet because it means I’m going to have to show love to people who don’t show it to me. It means I’m going to have to show it to people who I don’t agree with, who I don’t care for, and who don’t show it to those that I do care about. It also means I’m going to have to find it deep within myself when my first reaction might be anything but loving.
In fact, as I write this, I’m not even sure I’m up for it. But, over and over, this comes up for me as what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to do what has been really hard for me to do, and I’m supposed to do it with ease. I’m supposed to show love to people who push my buttons. I’m supposed to show love to people who’ve hurt me. I’m supposed to show love to people who spew anything but love out into the world. And, I’m definitely supposed to show love to myself. Even when I don’t feel I measure up. Even when I don’t feel like I’m doing enough. Even when I doubt my own lovability.
Executing my intention is going to be hard. In fact, it’s already been hard. This is just week one, and the other day, I read a tweet that really pushed my buttons. It was the one from our president, comparing the size of his nuclear button to that of Kim Jong-Un’s.
I had to stop myself from going ballistic about the potential ramifications of this statement. In fact, my initial reaction was anything but loving, but then I stepped back, took a deep breath, and took time to read the words of the Pope. He got me back on track to thinking about the issues of the day in a more powerful and positive way. His words also challenged me to think about ways that I can be more a part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
The love the Pope feels for humanity — especially those struggling on the margins — calmed me down. It helped me gain perspective and got me out of my head and into my heart.
The truth is, it’s easy to respond from an angry place. It’s way easier to lose your mind in our current discourse than it is to step back, take a beat and keep your mind and wits about yourself. It’s way easier to respond from a small space than from a big space. But, the people I admire and seek to emulate are those whose purpose and passion move us forward in a loving and uniting way, not those who do so in a divisive, fiery, or furious way.
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