Reflections on 2016, or Our nation’s dark night of the soul

As 2016 winds down, I find myself reflecting on this past year and realizing that for the collective, it was a no-good, very uncomfortable year. We saw the passing of many of our beloved cultural icons, from David Bowie to Prince and, as of this writing, Carrie Fisher. 2016 has been a year marked by loss. Loss of cultural figures, loss of dreams and possibly even the loss of democracy as we once understood it with the rise of white nationalism and Donald Trump’s win.

We close 2016 on shaky ground with a sense of dread and the reality that once Trump takes the reins, none of us knows what is going to happen. We will have a man who is woefully unprepared for the hardest job on the planet who by all appearances lacks self control and the willingness to admit his shortcomings and, instead, seems hell-bent on surrounding himself with other incompetents.

For many, the future seems hopeless. Yet, often it is in the darkest moments, where we are forced to face the unspeakable, that we can find the strength to forge ahead into the great unknown.

I know far more about facing the dark moments than I care to admit. Both personally and professionally, I entered 2016 with a sense of uncertainty and dread. Sometimes a dark night of the soul is what we need to move forward and change course. As a nation, we appear to be in the midst of that darkness because as a whole, we have never really been forced to face our collective soul and truly see the evils and threats therein. So, while this time may be uncomfortable, I hope it also can be a catalyst for change.

I end this year with an extreme sense of exhaustion, but an exhaustion born out of pushing myself beyond my comfort zone and learning that if I could allow myself to sit with the discomfort, and not allow it consume me, that change is possible.

We are the change we seek.

We can’t change the outcome of the election and what has already happened but we can all work toward change in our spheres. It won’t be easy, but then again, is change (however necessary) ever really easy?

In a fair and just world, things would be easy when it came to justice, fairness and honor. But we don’t live in a fair and just world; we live in a world where the sun shines equally on the just and unjust. Sometimes bad things happen to good people and it seems nothing bad ever touches people who are the love-children of Satan.

I admit that for the last post of the year, this may not be what readers expect, but these are the words that I have in this moment to share and, while they may not be terribly comforting, these words are my personal truth.  

As we wind down 2016, I wish you a good 2017 because no matter what we as the collective face of America, the potential for good is still present for us all. I thank you for sharing this space with me and for your support of this space. In closing, I am also sharing the video from my recent TED Talk, one of the many bucket items that I fulfilled this year. I look forward to seeing you again in 2017.

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