New Years……the end of an old year and the hope for a new year. Often, we are encouraged by society to make “resolutions” as we embark upon the beginning of a New Year. Many times, this concept is looked at as a chance to rid ourselves of “things” such as bad habits, bad relationships, or changing things about us, such as weight loss, eating healthier, exercising, going back to school, making more money, ridding ourselves of toxic relationships, changing career goals, etc.
All of this sounds great. But what if we stopped for a moment and looked at what is causing us to what to purge or change ourselves. What if we looked at our habits, thoughts, goals as parts of a rose bush. Some of the petals are bright and exude love and joy. Some petals are brown and some even wilted to the point of dropping off. But then as we look closely, we see the bright green of the stem and leaves. Some leaves, like the petals, are healthy looking and others are wilted and possibly even dropping off. As we look closer, we see the thorns along the stem. If we follow the stems down to the bottom of the bush, we discover that the bush is sitting in mud. Dirty, brown, earthy mud. Each part of this bush is nourished by the same earth. Some of the muddy earth smells refreshing and healthy, while other parts smell rancid and offensive. But without the mix of the healthy earth with the rancid earth we could never see the miracle of the beautiful bright roses. Our lives could not evolve into the journeys we are meant to travel without that mixture of healthy and toxic. We need to learn how to view our toxic experiences with a different lens. To learn how to turn that toxic unhealthy experience into positive change and growth. A rose bush takes in all the attributes of the earth. It sits in healthy and sometimes rancid earth but can still produce beautiful blooms for us to enjoy. I have had friends ask me how I keep optimistic and don’t allow my life’s experiences to take away the essence of who I am intrinsically. This is not an easy question to answer. We should, as humans, always be changing and growing towards improvement and growth. Without the toxicity of our experiences, we could not achieve improvement and growth. Without difficulty, we could never challenge our behaviors, beliefs, thoughts, and ideas. Without challenges we cannot choose the healthy over the toxic. We would not be able to see ourselves and the brightness we offer to ourselves and others. We would not be able to hope, feel love, give love, and truly value those positive qualities that make us who we are. New Year’s should be a time to look at the beautiful and toxic of the past year in an attempt to see how both have produced beauty and greatness within ourselves. When we purge ourselves of the toxic we should say “thank you”. Thank you for the challenge; Thank you for the experience; but more importantly, Thank you for the positive change within us because of it. Thank you for encouraging us to desire to be better and our ability to say “farewell” with grace to all things rancid and toxic while embracing the future.
Happy New Year!