2020 reminded us of the importance of unconditional love to ourselves and how we all connect to each other.
For me, this mindset change reflects in my day’s small choices: the people I bring into my life, the places I choose to go to, and mostly my lifestyle.
The last 12 months were unique and unforgettable — immense learning where the whole planet had to reinvent itself, and that included me. I faced curveballs so many times that I cannot remember them all.
Focus on the Lesson, Not the Pain
I have learned that inner peace cannot be bought with a credit card and requires a lot of effort and daily attention. I had to actively work on my thoughts, so I didn’t let my fear and anxiety manage my life. With that, I became more balanced and more self-aware.
That said, we are all still in the middle of the COVID-19 storm. Changes in our daily routine and uncertainties are still present and will remain for a while.
I do not control what happens in the outside world nor the choices of those with whom I live. I do command the decisions I make every day in my life, and for that, I need to know myself better.
My meditation guru shared a beautiful story by Thích Nhất Hạnh. She said that Buddha, once teaching his disciples, took a bowl of water and put a large handful of salt in it, and the water became very salty, and no one could take it. But when he took the same handful and threw it in the river, it dissolved, and everyone could continue drinking from it.
Love and Gratitude
That story touched me deeply. It reminded me that more important than what we go through, it is how we react to it.
I also connected Buddha’s story to the power of love and gratitude. Love and gratitude make us more resilient and more powerful, and they can help dissolve all forms of difficulty. Love has an incredible potential to grow. The more we give, the more we receive. It never ends, and it has no expiration date.
With this, each person who fills the heart with love, self-forgiveness, and gratitude creates a different light that shines from the inside out.
2020 has shown us that we need fewer material things to be happy. Of course, many of us still fell into the trap of consumerism and immediate pleasure. Nevertheless, it did not have a long-term positive impact on loneliness, depression, and anxiety.
The 2020 message was clear – we were called to change our values from to-have to to-be. We have been called to evolve from a bowl to a river.
The Future is Present
Love and gratitude are directly connected to our mental health, all invisible to the eyes.
When we look inside, loving ourselves to understand our shadows, we can work on our fears, so they can disappear. We can forgive ourselves and others, opening our life to something better to come in. With gratitude in our hearts, we can focus on the lesson instead of the pain.
The road to self-knowledge is complicated. For me, it feels like remodeling an airplane flying at 30,000 feet high. However, this self-discovery exercise is the door that will lead me to my fulfillment and happiness.
I still haven’t found the key to this door. I continue to work on my self-reflection, self-analysis, discovering the causes of my lupus so that I can achieve complete remission. I feel blessed to have a great therapist walk with me on this journey, friends, and family who can partner with me. But this is a journey I need to fly solo.
It’s on me to keep learning more about my feelings, emotions, and stress triggers, so I can control them better and avoid unnecessary flares.
To New Beginnings
Every new year brings enormous collective energy of prayers and intentions that help to create change! That is powerful.
I invite you to look inside and shine your own light. Embrace who you are with love, gratitude, and compassion, opening your heart to new beginnings. And above all, always have hope.