Top Three 2022 Takeaways:

1) Compassionately Seek to Understand 2) Forgive 3) Create

As 2022 closes and 2023 begins, I am filled with gratitude for the insights delivered on this 2022’s plateful of life challenges. This past year was filled with new learning for everyone as we all made sense of our new post-covid-ish world. There have been moments when I felt that crates of lemons were delivered to our doorstep, then low and behold lemonade was created. This blog will share how through faith I have remained steadfast in 1) compassionately seeking to understand 2) forgiving and 3) creating.

Multiple circumstances have unfolded this year that have been rather affronting. I will not share the intimate details of these situations, but I’ll speak in metaphor to say they were comparable to being doused with a bucket of ice and in one forum, publicly flogged. Initially, the hurt and shock experienced elicited desires to either freeze, fight or take flight. All of these three reactions are normal and natural, however not always productive or positive. To move forward I needed to go deep within and ask, “Do you have the faith that ultimately goodness, hope and love will prevail?”. I concluded, “Yes, but for this to happen it begins with me.”

My first step, was to continuously remind myself to look at these various circumstances and ask, “What is motivating the other party? What is their reasoning?”. I do believe that humans are motivated by positive outcomes. Certainly, they may be selfish positive outcomes that end up hurting other people, but from their perspective, they are in pursuit of what they perceive is good. So often there is discord among people who all have the best intentions at heart. The problem is then rooted in ego. The ego of each side defends their position of ‘right’. In all these circumstances, while embracing my truth I needed to have the humility to stay open to discovering the motivating principles of others. It has been in this give-and-take process of seeking to understand that I have learned to accept, let go or compromise. Seeking to understand is not about winning or losing. It is seeing the world from shades of gray not black and white.

The next step in dealing with these issues is to forgive the other party. Has this been easy? Heck no! I find that the closer someone is to me, ie. the more emotionally vested I am in the other party, the harder it is to forgive as the wound seems deeper. It is hard to detach with love and forgive when one is asking some of the following questions:

  • How could this person do this to me? I thought our relationship is rooted in mutual respect and kindness.
  • Does the other party not see that their behaviour is essentially manipulative or bullying?
  • What is my role in allowing this to happen? Did I not set healthy boundaries?
  • What have I done wrong? I was only trying to help and nurture.

The self-reflective tail chasing can seem endless. It required me to take many deep breaths and allow my ‘sage’ thinking to prevail. Negative emotion begets negative emotion. Ending that merry-go-round is hard, yet it isn’t impossible. In using seeking to understand, I have dug deeper to look at the history or background of the other party. I have found reasons to explain why people have reacted or hold the perspective they do such as illness, cultural upbringing, and life experiences etc., as such, it has helped me realize how a situation might have spun out of control. If I have not set healthy boundaries, I too need to accept responsibility for supporting an out-of-control situation.  The sage mindset has allowed me to detach with love and let go.

Does this mean I have forgotten the hurt? Does it mean that I will no longer defend a cause? No and no. It does mean, however, that I have accepted that there is a shift in the relationship dynamics which often requires me to set new boundaries. It also means that the issue I was defending may no longer be important or that it can be addressed in a different positive manner. The old basketball pivot of mindset and action brings a clearing of energy!

Last, while these tough scenarios have presented great learning and insights, they have also inspired creativity and ultimately gratitude as the lemons delivered lemonade. I’ve learned that creativity is the best tool for combatting stress and intense problematic situations. How is this done? I play with a variety of projects, such as my simplistic knit/crochet crazy hats, sketching, writing, video reading and baking. This year several new stories have been birthed from these negative and problematic situations. Writing these new children’s stories was exceptionally healing. It also elicited tremendous gratitude as my subconscious was able to translate the lessons into powerful yet simple stories that I believe might make a difference in the perspective of those who read them. Stay tuned for their up-and-coming releases in the new year.

Sigh so dear friends, I urge you that when issues arise in 2023, (especially as you parent), maintain your faith and hope that positive change will unfold. In AA it’s taking things day by day and sometimes moment by moment as we implement baby steps toward seeking to understand, forgive and be creative. It is through patience, acceptance and kindness to others and ourselves that we can hold our truth with integrity and help others blossom.