In January, people ask what my theme of the year is.
What I’ve discovered is that the theme chooses me.
I’m uncertain if it’s because of the questions I ask myself or God, or if it’s what I’ve gleaned is mine to learn at the time. Either way, I simply have noticed that every year has something wonderful to teach me.
Each year has brought me opportunities to deepen my ability to be patient, to forgive, and to accept what is.
Right now, I’m deepening my ability to empathize.
Empathy is defined as, “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”
This happens to be much easier for me when those are feelings I understand or agree with – and challenge me when the opposite is present.
On this year’s journey, I’ve been offering up the prayer to the Holy Spirit that I see what needs to be seen, and to keep hidden what is not mine to see just yet.
As I’ve made this inquiry, doors have been opened for me to see people, places, and experiences for what they are, not simply as I’ve created them in my mind’s eye to be.
This brings me to A Course in Miracles, Lesson #28. The lesson states: “Above all else I want to see things differently.”
If we want to see things differently, it helps to examine how we see and what gets in the way of our seeing.
My attachment to something as well as my level of curiosity about it affect my clarity or ability to see the purpose, value, or reason for what it is I am trying to see newly.
I have found that the following exercise from A Course in Miracles to be a powerful way to access that clarity and new way of seeing.
Here is an excerpt from the lesson:
You may wonder why it is important to say, for example, “Above all else I want to see this table differently.” In itself it is not important at all. Yet what is by itself? And what does “in itself” mean? You see a lot of separate things about you, which really means you are not seeing at all. You either see or not. When you have seen one thing differently, you will see all things differently. The light you will see in any one of them is the same light you will see in them all.
When you say, “Above all else I want to see this table differently,” you are making a commitment to withdraw your preconceived ideas about the table, and open your mind to what it is, and what it is for. You are not defining it in past terms. You are asking what it is, rather than telling it what it is. You are not binding its meaning to your tiny experience of tables, nor are you limiting its purpose to your little personal thoughts.
You will not question what you have already defined. And the purpose of these exercises is to ask questions and receive the answers. In saying, “Above all else I want to see this table differently,” you are committing yourself to seeing. It is not an exclusive commitment. It is a commitment that applies to the table just as much as to anything else, neither more nor less.
You could, in fact, gain vision from just that table, if you would withdraw all your own ideas from it, and look upon it with a completely open mind. It has something to show you; something beautiful and clean and of infinite value, full of happiness and hope. Hidden under all your ideas about it is its real purpose, the purpose it shares with all the universe.
In using the table as a subject for applying the idea for today, you are therefore really asking to see the purpose of the universe…and you are making a commitment…to let its purpose be revealed to you, instead of placing your own judgment upon it.
~ A Course in Miracles, Lesson 28
Now, try this same exercise and substitute the word “table” with the name of a person or situation.
The best leaders understand that it takes being unencumbered, unattached, and willing to see things differently in order to truly consider the feelings of others, and to see and feel about them from a place of freedom and newness.
Leaders understand there is always more to see, and the more you see, the more opportunities open up.
ACTION: The Upside Challenge of the week is to practice seeing a person or situation newly.
Use the exercise from A Course in Miracles or try another way of accessing your empathy or detaching with love.
Now more than ever, the world needs you and your brilliance.