Every year, I have a theme.
2014 was The Year of New Traditions. 2016 was the Year of Speaking Dangerously.
This year is The Year of Revolution, and the theme is Vigilance.
I have long maintained that loving is hard. That in many situations, it is the hardest thing to love, but in those situations where you feel small or hurt or threatened, it is more important than ever to respond with love.
This does not mean allowing hatred. It does not mean allowing violence or exploitation. It means that when those things arise, we find the strength to choose not to add to them, but to replace them with love.
It is much like training a dog. You ignore the bad behavior and reward the good—and when bad behavior does arise, you re-direct toward good behavior.
This all rests on the basis of my self-love practice, spending more time, energy and money on feeling, rather than looking good. My focus is centered on a strategy to love and accept myself—and by extension, others, just as they are.
The rest is in-response-to. For instance, in response to the swastikas going up all over the country, I am creating images of love, compassion, acceptance and inspiration. I hang them around my house, send them to friends, make posters and stickers, and do my best to get them in as many hands as possible.
In response to people scaring, persecuting or exploiting others, I stand for those people. I wear clothes clearly communicating that I am a safe person. I speak out wherever I see injustice.
When I go out into the world, I share a smile and a hello with whomever will have one. I will speak freely to anyone who speaks to me. I help people who need my help whenever I can in whatever way I can. I am unapologetically myself. I let my light shine as brightly as possible, so that others are encouraged and inspired to do the same.
I might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that is fine. I may do things differently, see things differently, say things differently, but I am not here to ignore the gifts I have been given, and neither has any other person on the planet.
We are at a crossroads. We can no longer say that we don’t know. That we have not seen. It is on us now to choose. Are we to “hunker down” and blindly follow those who say they are here to lead us? Though their tactics and tendencies are inhumane at best? Do we give in to the fear we feel in the presence of those who wish to scare us into blaming each other? Do we turn against our friends, loved ones and neighbors?
No. We do not. We must not.
We must now, more than ever, find a way to love. And once we have found that way, stay on that path. It is wide and sturdy with enough room for everyone. And we must cling to the belief that everyone’s feet are welcome upon it.
Author: Sara Young
Image: Instagram @ane_aleksandra
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
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