I found the sign on the street: It read “Never Stop Exploring” in bold white letters painted in white over a map of England and Greenland.
It is Jan. 2 as I write this, and I am looking for signs and searching for markers of what lies ahead in 2018. Exploration is an excellent place to start.
To explore is to examine, to inquire, to study, to consider, to analyze. The sign I found shows a map and suggests exploration of new places, and travel, but the truth is that we have so much to explore in our own cities, homes, and minds.
What I loved about 2017 was how it absolutely exploded with discovery. You couldn’t possibly ignore the revelations about people we might have imagined we knew, the insight into formerly secreted thoughts and actions of many beloved leaders. It was a year of harsh realities being brought to the fore, and now, well, we have a chance to explore what that all means. We have a chance to decide whether we are going to feel like angry, victimized bystanders looking on to a mad, mad world, or whether we are going to stand up tall with strong deep resonant voices and make it known what we want, what we expect, and what we are willing to give to get it.
As a parent, it is my role to help guide my children in their own exploration. It is a daunting task, and — fearlessness be damned — I often wake up in a cold sweat.
How do I help them trust themselves to go down the right road? When the question comes into my head, I try to squash it like one of the many plastic moles that pop up in Whack-A-Mole. What is ‘right?’ My own path has been littered with strange and seemingly ‘wrong’ things that have landed me where I am, and I have to look at those things with curiosity and understanding rather than judgment if I am to appreciate myself, and the beautiful place I am in now, today. It is crucial for me to look at the present moment with wonder and appreciation. I cannot spend too long questioning and judging the past, or I will have no time to spend exploring the many positive
ways to move forward.
What is the biggest goal moving into the year? I want people to like themselves. I want to like myself. I want my children to like themselves. I want us all to see the blips and blisters that blight our path simply as waves on the stormy sea, and to feel we are well-equipped to navigate them. Because we are.
It sounds a little like the mumbo jumbo you hear on a positivity retreat, because it is. I have gone to so many over the last decade, and talked with friends who have gone to still more. And what emerges from them is the need to feel strong in your own ability to steer your ship. Whatever it takes. There need not be blame placed, nor enemies named. What happens to us is, no matter what, so much a matter of our own perspective. Every single person faces challenges unknown to others, and every single person must wake up and determine how to proceed. It is the game of being human, and we are all learning and exploring every day. We just need to imagine that we are capable, we just need to figure our role. That is what 2018 is about.
There’s nothing wrong with us. Sure, our society is riddled with diagnoses and disease, but I would argue (and do) that we have the power to battle most things if we can somehow see our and others’ afflictions as gifts, if we can see the best in ourselves and our neighbors and friends and even in our seeming rivals. It is a great time to explore the wondrous unique mysteries of the human mind, and unlock the power of a positive perspective. It is a great year for every single individual to feel empowered, not at the expense of anyone else, but in great collaboration with other unique and gifted individuals. It is a great year to get in tune with ourselves, and with others, and to teach our children to do the same.
Never stop exploring. It is a sign to look around you with fresh eyes, with a positive perspective. We have a chance to create a new vision, a new window through which to see the world. There can be peace. It is well within reach.
Amen. Shalom. Inshallah. Peace be with you.