When @kmwestbrookevents and I did a photo shoot last year, the first place we went was to the dilapidated house that will one day see beauty again. Why? Because we both know that beauty from ashes and joy from pain isn’t cliche but is reality and is a transition that you can experience when you do the work to heal internally and fully.
Life this past year has been intense. Some people found time. Others created it. Many more lost it. Some people found out they couldn’t stand the life they created for themselves. Others started creating a life they truly loved. Some changed their social circles. Others expanded theirs as they realized the need for support. While we were “all in this together” we also very much experienced it (and continue to do so) very differently.
But there is one thing we all had this past year regardless of whether we worked, were laid off, quit, or were fired. There is one thing that we all have in common across all economic lines and class divisions. There is one thing that none of us can say we didn’t have the opportunity to do.
We all had a chance to watch what was happening in our world and reset our default reactions. Some fought back and found a voice in sharing content and comments that were hurtful to others and showed character that caused loss of friendships, jobs, and more. Others rose to the challenge and found their voice by speaking up in areas they never thought they’d have the courage to speak out. And freedom of speech gave both groups the right to do so.
We use platforms like Instagram and Twitter with hastags like #findyourvoice #writeyourstory #useyourvoice #shareyourtruth as if we mean them. And maybe we do. But when someone finds their voice in a way we disagree with, we tell them to shut up. When they write their story and it looks different than we believed it to be, we tell them they are wrong or that their lived experience doesn’t matter.
The truth is that if we truly want to live in a country with freedom of expression, whether that is through speech or artistic creations, we have to respect that others don’t always agree with us. I will never understand racism, and yet I have participated in acts that were racist when I look at my life through the lens of friends from others races. I will never understand bigotry, and yet I have been a bigot when I look at my life through the lens of friends who are homosexual, pansexual, or transgender. I will never understand willful ignorance, and yet I remain ignorant to the history of our country because it bores me to read historic texts without fictional slants. I can’t ask for freedom of expression for only myself. I have to extend that same desire for freedom to those who see the world through other lens. Whose lives are different from my own. Who think, act, and show up differently from how I think, act, and show up.
But this doesn’t have to be damning for us.
Instead, we can use our reset to reconsider our stance. And that doesn’t mean you change your mind so much as it means that you truly reflect on what you believe, why you believe it, and if that belief still serves you and aligns with your integrity today.
One of my closest friends is Muslim. She is a human I can speak with about ANYTHING. In fact, should I ever come into big money, she would have PLENTY to blackmail me on should she find herself ever in need. She lives differently and thinks differently, and yet we love one another because of our differences, not in spite of them. I’ve had some of the best biblical discussions with her because we weren’t trying to convince one another to change but instead sought to understand the lens through which the other person sees the world.
I am not saying we all need to go out and find friends who live lives that aren’t like our own. I am saying that with this past year, we had a chance to reset our own lives, expectations, journeys, and understanding. Whether anti-vaxxer or happily vaccinated, masked or unmasked, gay or straight, human rights activist or still trying to understand where systematic racism exists, we are all living this life in the same space and time. Imagine if we started having conversations with those who are different from us! Imagine if we sought to understand instead of be understood. If we sought to listen instead of be heard. If we sought to look at the world though others’ perspectives instead of wanting them to see it through ours.
I don’t know what you are going through, what you believe, how you are feeling about this current state of the world, but I know this, whether we agree or disagree, I am interested in your point of view. We can choose to hate or love. I choose love.
Because that is the path to beauty from ashes, joy from pain.
Essential Oils that help with Resetting:
Grounding, One Heart, Aroma Life, Transformation, Surrender, Present TimeThese oils help you create an atmosphere that empowers reflection and honesty so you can make the changes you need and want to make in your life.