It’s 2013, and we are now embarking on yet another new year. We have 365 days to accomplish the goals we have set, 365 days to make our mark on the world and 365 days to change the course of our lives. Gandhi once challenged us to “be the change we wish to see in the world,” and I would like to do the same.
Many of us set off on the New Year with a list of goals we want to accomplish and a list of things we want to change, but I would like to extend the challenge to a deeper, more fundamental level. I recently attended a spiritual gathering, and during the night, one of the exercises we all participated in was a setting of intention for the year. During this ceremony, each participant sat in the middle of the circle, holding a bamboo shoot that represented the physical manifestation of our desire. We would then meditate and focus our intention for the year. As we meditated, each participant came to the person in the center and watered their bamboo, symbolic of unity and agreement.
Before my turn arrived, I contemplated all of the things I would like to have, change, or do, but nothing resonated until I thought “love.” I quickly realized I wasn’t necessarily desiring to fall in love, receive love, give love, or teach love but my deepest desire was that I BE love. By being love, I have freed myself from the desire to seek love and have begun to radiate love. It is this same idea that I am inviting you to now; what change can you be?
The end of 2012 brought some very impactful events for the mental health and wellness communities: first, the approval of the DSM-5, and second, the Newtown, PA shooting. Both events turned a bright light on the mental health world and offered many opportunities for practitioners, educators, and advocates to have a more powerful voice. There was so much energy coming from the rising tide of voices crying out for change, and it is to those voices that I appeal now. There is no doubt that our world and our society needs change. I believe that the passionate, powerful voices in Humanistic and Existential psychology can be the change our world desperately needs. The invitation I’m extending is not to necessarily DO anything more but rather become the change you desire. Become love. Become peace. Become joy. Become will. Become passion. Become more powerfully, authentically you and as you do that, you will begin to influence change around you. Marianne Williamson said, “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” May 2013 be a year that we each become the change we desire to see.
— Lisa Vallejos