The New Year that lies ahead will undoubtedly take us on an interesting journey made up of surprise outcomes, events, and destinations. Everywhere I turn, people are talking about the uncertainty of our times. The ground is shifting. How we choose to be with that uncertainty and shifting ground going forward can make all the difference.
We can allow ourselves to get caught in fear and anxiety, or we can choose to look for new doors, new possibilities, and unexpected opportunities. We can choose to be curious and aware, and trust that the signals around us will show us the way forward. The key word is “choose.”
As I tap into the energies of this New Year, the theme that shows up for 2017 is choices. Numerologically speaking, 2017 is a number “1” year. It’s the beginning of a new nine-year cycle. What will we create this year as a society? What choices will we make? Who will we choose to be as citizens and what do we choose to stand up for? And how will these choices shape our future?
These are big questions. While I can’t make those choices for everyone, I can certainly make clear choices for myself. And I trust that if I make clear and conscious choices and then follow through with aligned action, my choices can have an impact on the collective consciousness.
I have no doubt that this year will bring wonderful gifts and opportunities that I will welcome. It will also bring challenges and a need to make choices that I may not be comfortable with, at least as they first appear. In that way, 2017 will not be different than previous years.
Yet something does feel different this year. More than ever before, I sense the importance of staying with whatever is happening, whether I’m comfortable with it or not. Transformation happens from the inside out. So if I want to do my part to create a world that works, I have to be willing to stay with what is not working in order to help transform it.
I’m pretty good at this on a personal level, yet the stretch for me is to stay engaged with whatever is happening on a societal or system level as well. I admit that sometimes I get overwhelmed with a sense of powerlessness within the system. Yet that doesn’t serve me or anyone else. Our individual and collective choices are critically important.
Therefore, I’m making a re-commitment to myself to stay with the uncertainty of our times, and to sense and feel the bigger picture of what is going on. Then I can choose what my next step will be in service of a greater whole.
As I make that commitment, I also acknowledge that when I’m caught off guard by a troubling event or piece of news, I am not always able to control my initial thoughts or feelings. The fact is, few of us are. There are years, and perhaps even generations, of programming in our subconscious awareness.
However, even though I can’t always control my first reaction, I can choose my second thought and feeling. I can choose to shift quickly from my initial subconscious reaction to a more conscious response. Learning to make this choice has been a practice, for sure. While I’m getting much better at it, I admit that occasionally I still get caught in reaction. Yet I’ve experienced the power of this practice enough to be quite sure that it can serve all of us.
This practice of choosing our response becomes easier when we treat everything that happens simply as information. That includes our initial reactions, thoughts, and feelings.
Information is neutral. By itself, it has no positive or negative spin, no moral or ethical judgment, no inherent good or bad. When we can view everything as simply information, we can practice being an objective observer. As an objective observer, we can more easily choose how we will respond to what is happening.
This is not about shutting down or turning off our thoughts and feelings. Instead, it’s about recognizing our thoughts and feelings, and even our physical sensations, as messengers that carry information. When we get caught up in our initial thoughts, feelings, and sensations, we become stuck there and can only view what is happening from one perspective. However, when we choose to navigate through those thoughts and feelings, objectively gathering important messages and information from a broader perspective, we can keep moving and finding our way.
The more we become objective observers, paying attention to everything that is going on around us as well as within us, the more layers of information become available to us. Each layer offers more insight and perspective on what is happening. Our observations can then inform our choices, decisions, and actions.
As both opportunities and challenges arise in 2017, what might be possible if your first response is to ask: How do I choose to show up right now?
What might be possible if you choose to listen, sense, and feel what is happening in that moment from a place of curiosity? What if you let the moment and the circumstance talk to you instead of you talking to it? What if you let the situation show you what it needs from you before you make an assumption or take action?
In this practice, your first step is to gather information without placing judgments on anything. If an event or circumstance triggers a strong reaction, start by being curious. Whether the reaction is rooted in excitement or fear, underneath it is always at least one important message that can help you navigate the situation. Within that message, there will also be an invitation. That invitation might be to make a shift in your perception or understanding, or to take a particular step, or to stretch beyond your comfort zone in some way.
None of us knows where 2017 will take us. However, I can assure you that it will be a year of choices. Being conscious of how you are showing up and of the choices you are making every day will serve you well, no matter what happens. Listen, sense, and feel the messages and invitations. It could end up being an extraordinary year.
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