We’re living in what’s been termed “the age of loneliness”: we’re more connected than ever before, and simultaneously, more isolated. We rely on social media in place of face-to-face contact. We bemoan the deterioration of conversation as we spend more time looking down at our screens than up at the people we’re talking to. But, really, the problem is that we do not give ourselves permission to talk about the things that truly matter.
One of our biggest sources of resilience in combating loneliness is what psychologists call “common humanity”: the degree to which you see your struggles as part of the human experience. “To feel less lonely in your stress, two things help,” writes Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal. “The first is to increase your awareness of other people’s suffering. The second is to be more open about yours.” -- Jennifer Bailey > > > Read more
I want to open a new place in my heart to welcome all that this year will bring.
This calls me to redefine the word Welcome. I feel the tensions in welcoming change, welcoming difference, welcoming conflict, welcoming challenge, welcoming retirement, welcoming new leadership, welcoming fresh ideas. From the global to the local and the personal, 2017 will be a year of welcome – and growth!
This poem by Estrus Tucker reminds me that it’s an act of courage to give and receive authentic welcome:
"There are invitations that can’t be written,
and a welcoming that is deeper than words.
Hospitality abides in the familiarity of a face,
in the embedded trust of shared customs and histories,
and in identities often formed and deformed
by unity and exclusion,
hope and humiliation,
love and lies.
Welcome is not always easy. When we feel others are out to change or challenge us, it’s only human to guard ourselves. But what happens when we experience true welcome and invitation?
When welcome is offered and received, a sense of belonging naturally leads us to relax rather than raise our defenses. It is subtle. Welcome invites us to be vulnerable and connected.
When have you felt truly welcome?
How do you remain open and hospitable to yourself and to others?"
I’m looking forward to welcoming all that 2017 brings, with as much courage and openness as I can muster.
The Joy is in the Journey