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Look at the past—bring in the light. Happy 2023

2023 is here. Happy New Year. The light is returning—a good time to reflect on the year that was and, as we do, invite more light.

Some of our reflections may feel easy as we express gratitude for the good stuff in 2022—for me, the trip to Italy stands out. Other reflections teach us how we found resilience and new strength going through difficulties—like my husband’s surgeries. Then there’s a third pile of reflections that can be harder to face. They are in the pile I call the disappointments and incompletes, where unprocessed pain still lives

Can I bring light to that, too?

ACE the past

I’m using three steps to prepare my reflections.

Acceptance. Can I accept that what happened was what did and thus all that could have happened? I don’t have to like it. Maybe I should do a bit of clean-up around something I did or didn’t say or do. Maybe I’m still mad at someone. Regardless of what happened, can I accept myself and know that whatever happened just was?

Compassion. Life’s a great exercise in compassion. When I go through my pile of disappointments and incompletes, I can always find a reason to feel compassion—for myself and others. Being human is not an easy job.

Embrace it. Can I hold the past, with whatever it brought, like a palette that holds light and dark. Maybe I’ll use it to paint something new. Or perhaps I can hear the music, even in what felt miserable.

By embracing the disappointments and pains, I prepare myself to learn from them.

Tears fall

It’s not easy to look back at 2022 without some emotion and a few tears. It was that kind of year—with so much suffering in the world, if not in our lives. I was reflecting on the year recently when I received a bit of bad news about a friend.

I needed music, a song that would let me feel OK to let go of some tears stockpiling behind my eyes. Then, I remembered Coldplay’s mega-hit from 2005., “Fix You” and found a video from their 2018 concert in Sao Paolo.

I treat “Fix You” as a secular hymn—a way to pray without wondering what I am praying to.

As I listen to the concert, the first verses carry me into the experience of “when it’s too much.” Lead singer Chris Martin dramatizes this by singing on his back on the rock stage runway. I feel the weight of tears, loss, and life when things don’t quite work out. Stuck in reverse.

The audience is singing with him. They know the words. Beyond that, they know the feelings—what it’s like to love and lose, to fail, to want to give up, and to feel incredibly tired and stuck. I sense a wave of compassion sweeping across the 46,563 souls present.

We are not alone, even when life feels difficult.

Chris invites the audience to sing the chorus, and the place erupts. Light will guide you home. Thousands of lighted wristbands sway together.

He sings again about feeling broken. We’re with him. And then we hear it—the classic Coldplay pulsing guitar string telling us we’re about to hear a change. The music surges. The energy explodes. It’s as if, for a moment, the light has come. The audience sings out with hope and ecstasy.

I look at the faces in the crowd. And OMG. People are melting into each other. Screaming. Sobbing. Jumping. Holding each other. Yes, we’ve all known heartbreak. And yes, there’s light, and no matter what we have faced and are facing, we’re ok, we’re together.

It’s a big rock concert moment, but it’s also a holy moment. So many arms reaching out for a way to embrace the darkness and help each other.

Chris runs and jumps. Fireworks burst forth. People are clutching their hearts. It’s better than any New Year’s celebration I’ve seen.

Because it has a subtext: We are whole. We are human. We have pain. And we can help each other home.

Nothing to fix

Contrary to the song’s title, I don’t think the song is about fixing. I think it’s about holding each other and knowing there’s nothing to fix. We’re human, and we need each other and the light.

It seemed like a perfect song with which to close out 2022 and move into the new year. With acceptance, compassion, and a desire to embrace the many-sided complexity of being us. Because we all need that light. And there’s nothing to fix.

I hope you enjoy the video that follows.

4 Responses

  1. Thank you Sally…..”Fix It” touched a resonate cord… I loved the concert version…’s funny I heard the last sentence “I won’t fix you…” maybe it was my transference of acceptance…I can’t fix the people I love..other than accept and value their pain with loving supportive prescence

    1. Thanks for your comment, Larry. That’s the funny thing about the song. It sings “I will try to fix you” but what I take away from the mood of the song is that we don’t fix each other, we witness and are there for each other. Or maybe just stand in the light together.

  2. Thank you Sally!

    I’m saving a few of your important words: “Can I hold the past, with whatever it brought, like a palette that holds light and dark? Maybe I’ll use it to paint something new. By embracing the disappointments and pains, I prepare myself to learn from them.”

    Let’s stand in the light together!

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