The end draws near on this thing we called 2012, and as the final parties ensue, the toasts are made and yet another round of resolutions will be uttered; there is always something that pulls at us to reflect.
I am learning that reflection is often the tool our heart uses to speak into being the boldness we need to hear; however, too often we silence those thoughts in our endless pursuit of the new that lies ahead.
But what are we silencing?
Do we silence the moments of beauty that could open our heart wider than we thought possible? Are we silencing the moments when clarity finally reveals just a bit more of the picture? Have we quieted the moment when, even if it was only brief, we let courage take the driver’s seat? Have we silenced the moments when our heart was most raw, splintered, hell, even completely shattered? Have we ultimately silenced our own potential because we were too afraid to examine what we could do to change the story?
Now don't get me wrong, you can't drive forward very well if you only look in the rearview mirror, but reflection can be an incredible catalyst. Looking back with the right view point we see that we have a role to play, and the story is not finished.
I took in Spielberg's new film tonight, Lincoln, and as I watched the film, I remembered an exhibit I once saw containing some personal possessions of President Lincoln. The one item that stood out to me the most from that exhibit was this mirror from his personal dressing table. At that point in my life there were so many heavy things on my heart and as I stood there gazing into the mirror, it struck me how we both had stared into this same reflective glass with heavy hearts. He must have wondered how in the world things would ever work out or maybe if he was truly the right person for the job. He was trying to do the impossible, and yet each day he had to keep giving it another try. He had to, there was no time to look back and count regrets, for I believe he knew something that we seldom see in ourselves nowadays. He saw that he was a part of something much grander than he could physically touch or see, but none the less he knew he played a crucial role.
I can look in that same mirror, and although I do not have a civil war to solve, or a union to preserve, I believe the essential question is the same. What are you willing to be a part of?
Why does it escape our perceptions that we are individual strands of something much more grand and beautiful? Are we fearful it is true? Are we waiting to insert our creativity and love until we can see the larger tapestry? We are the only ones that possess our unique strand and without out it, the tapestry will never be complete.
We often feel so alone and the weight of our individual journeys can be overwhelming, and as a result, reflecting can be equally weighty. We do not always like where we have previously traveled, and we would simply rather look forward, but we do so with great caution instead of grand resolve to engage with courage.
Reflecting back on the year, I have realized that in the middle of some profound hardships and loss, I have found that I am not alone, never was. Thousands before me have walked many of the steps I have faced this year, and there will be many more long after I am gone. Sometimes what matters is that we were a part of something much grander, the story of humanity.
So as this year winds down, take time to reflect, but instead of recounting all the things that did not go as planned or were not achieved, try gazing into the mirror and looking back at all the beautiful things you had the honor of being a part of. Where was your life woven into the journey of others? What were you a part of this year that will never again be woven in the exact same intricate way?
…and what will you be a part of this next year?
We have only this one strand to insert, why not weave it in with intention instead of with regret and fear. When Lincoln took his last breath, Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton lamented, “Now he belongs to the ages.” Lincoln does so not because he had some special power we lack, Lincoln simply made the daily choice to be a part of this grand tapestry. So, how about you?
Take a little time for some reflection, and take stock in all that you were lucky enough to be a part of this year. And as for next year, we are behind you 100%, keep us posted along the journey…
Heidi Rickard is the Creative Director for The Authenticity Project, you can contact Heidi at TheAuthenticityProject@gmail.com