Yes, it’s been a long difficult slog. At times the best you could do was binge Netflix while you tried to ignore how much you missed hugging someone dear to you . . . but you are still here and although you may not know it, you are stronger than ever.
Do you feel stronger?
But that is just the fatigue clouding your perceptions. Take a long look in the mirror. Really, get up now and go to the mirror. Take a long deep breath. Look yourself in the eye.
What do you see?
Even if a tear is forming at the corner of your eye, the power of your gaze is intimidating, isn’t it? Or is it mesmerizing?
You made it through one of the most difficult years the human race has seen in decades. Really. And you didn’t just survive even if it sometimes felt that way.
No, whether you know it or not, you grew in ways that will astound you when the time is right.
You now possess a reserve of personal power and resilience that only comes from facing events like those of the past twelve months, and living to tell about it.
And I’m sorry.
I am so sorry you had to see this, do this and be this.
But I promise you that what beats in your heart today is more powerful than what was there a year ago. And you are capable of things you didn’t think you could do.
Now you can.
What will you do with your new superpowers?
Really, you DO now possess superpowers.
What challenges froze you with fear before?
Now is the time to let go of that fear and answer that longing in the pit of your gut.
Where were you playing small when what your heart craved was to take a risk?
Risk doesn’t seem all that risky now, does it?
You can laugh a little at that, can’t you? What you used to be afraid of. I mean, really. Piece of cake now, huh?
What dreams have been simmering far too long on that back burner?
You not only deserve to go for your dreams, we are all counting on you to do so.
Please do so.
Now is the time to breathe into the best of you and feel the length and breadth of it.
Now is the time to really get how amazing you always have been and how deeply you deserve your own admiration and respect.
Let your mind go quiet for just a minute or two. What IS beating in that heart of yours?
Why it is love, of course.
Love that was put through the fire to make it stronger. Because make no mistake about it, your heart has been refined by the heat of fear and confusion and loss and grief.
And it wasn’t just yours.
While you sat alone in your home, your heart was connected to all the other hearts on this tiny planet. Billions of people shared your tears and your sleepless nights. They tossed and turned with you. They cried themselves to sleep while you did. They woke up to face another day in a Zoom room, craving connection in person while they wore a brave smile.
Maybe you saw some of their faces on your screen.
But they were also in your precious heart whether you knew it or not. Probably you were too overwhelmed and worried to feel their hearts.
Can you feel them now?
Their hearts are beating with your heart.
You see, you were never alone. Not even for one minute. It just felt like it.
But if you close your eyes and breathe you can leave the loneliness and fly on those energetic waves that connect us all.
Because if the last year taught us nothing else, it did show us how incredibly connected we all are. How much we depend upon each other, even and especially when we cannot touch.
But touch is on its way. I don’t know when or how. Neither do you. None of us do.
But you know what I’m talking about. You feel it too.
Our hearts are afraid to hope and yet are somehow hopeful.
Don’t let yourself be ruled by the fear.
We’re all afraid. Sometimes. This last year? A lot.
But that’s okay. Fear is how we find our courage. If we never knew fear, there would be no need for courage.
Have you stopped to notice your own courage?
Yes, our health care workers showed a ton of courage this year. We owe them so much.
But you might not have noticed the enormous courage it took for YOU to get up every day and do what you do. To love even and especially in the face of so much loss.
And you did it. You kept getting up and doing what you do. You continued to love. And if you look a little closer, you might see that you loved more, because the situation required more love.
Not just love for others, either. You had to love YOU more.
Don’t believe me?
Okay, check this out: a lot of the things that might have made you feel good about you, were no longer available to you.
For some of us, that might have been social gatherings or working out at the gym or group activities or parties or sports or church or . . . the list is literally endless because EVERY facet of our lives has been impacted by the pandemic.
And if you, like some of us, were also impacted by wildfires or loss of employment, then your life probably changed in an even bigger way. Maybe you lost someone that you care about.
Yet, you found a way to persist in showing up for yourself and those who count on you. With love.
You are only human. I am not suggesting that you never got angry or short tempered or depressed or hopeless. Of course you did.
But under all that, your heart beat a little stronger and your love grew a little bigger.
And now, even as we feel hopeful and yet fear to hope, you will find that you are capable of more than you ever dreamed before.
More what? More love of course.
Because if there is a second thing we learned this past year, it is what matters more than anything else.
The love matters. Your love matters.
Please don’t be stingy with that love. Don’t reserve it just for the people you agree with or like. Don’t just love the folks in your family or community.
Let your love spread far and wide so it includes ALL people. And if you are feeling particularly generous, extend your love to the other creatures on this planet. They need your love too.
Most importantly, love yourself.
That’s never easy. You, more than anyone else, know what is “wrong” with you. You are intimately acquainted with the things about you that you have never liked.
And here is where the courage really needs to kick in: loving yourself just the way you are today. Not who you are going to be once you . . . fill in the blank.
No, you must love you now. Just as you are.
Because we are all counting on you. That’s why. We are connected to your heart whether you can feel us or not. And we need you.
We don’t need you to be something or someone that you are not. What we need, and what you need, is for you to be perfectly you. Because when you are perfectly you and you love you, you free us to do the same.
We are all connected. That was the big lesson of this last year. We ARE one. And we need you.