Word of the Year

If you spend any time on social media, you probably see (and maybe get a little sick of?) all the posts about setting goals/intentions/resolutions in the new year. Most of the time, these posts just become part of the background noise on my feed. But one stood out to me. It asked what my word of the year was in 2021.

Almost unbidden, the word “growth” popped into my head. I didn’t think much of it at the time and I continued scrolling through my feed. The same post showed up later and, even louder this time, the word “GROWTH” came to me.

So what does that mean, exactly? I tried to meditate on it and didn’t have much luck at the time. Several days later, I was meditating on a totally unrelated concept and writing in my journal and came across three separate passages pointing me in the direction of what Growth may mean.

The first:

The path of fire. The Chinese philosopher Confucius tells us that “To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage.” So walk bravely on the path of fire. Take action where action is called for, even at the risk of burning your feet.

1001 Meditations: How to Discover Peace of Mind.Mike George. Watkins. 2011.

Next:

Watch the thought and its ways with care, and let it spring from love born out of concern for all things. ~ Buddha

The Sayings of Buddha. Hugh L. Levin. Piccadilly. 2011.

And finally:

Yet the Teaching is simple. Do what is right. Be pure. At the end of the way is freedom. ~ Buddha

The Sayings of Buddha. Hugh L. Levin. Piccadilly. 2011.

Maybe some sort of divine intervention brought these passages to my intention. Maybe they spoke to me because I’m aware that I need to finally use my voice. I have always been taught not to offend and to be cautious about doing anything that might have negative repercussions, to not be too radical. Even some of my yoga teachers have cautioned against activism, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and reality.

But you know what? No. Good, reasonable people being polite or silent or overly invested in the status quo has led directly to suffering in the world. Maybe not my own but there is suffering. When we let lies go unchecked, we end up with conspiracy theories run amok. When we say we don’t see color or that we’re tired of all the upheaval in the world, we are exercising a gross amount of privilege and guilty of spiritual bypassing.

It may make some folks unhappy for me to speak my truth. Some folks may not be ready for me to be an activist yogi. That’s okay. I’m going to do it anyway. Some folks may choose to walk away; but my hope is to have some deep, difficult, maybe even uncomfortable conversations. My hope is to make a positive difference so we can build each other up instead of tearing each other down. Because we have to do better. I can’t remain silent any longer.

Namaste, my friends,

Debra