Happy New Year, Friend!
The past couple weeks have brought a few things to light for me that I’d like to share with you today.
As you know if you’ve been a regular reader of these missives, Icelantic is much more than just a business for me. Through Icelantic, I’ve learned about myself.
I’ve learned what it means (and takes) to commit. I’ve learned to stand in the fire, and stay there, until transformation happens. I’ve learned how to confront uncomfortable feelings and situations, and have been amazed by the amount of different solutions there can be to a problem if you open it up. I’ve learned the beauty and stability of a team who’s experiences and diversity are celebrated. I’ve learned that I am really good at some things, and am eternally grateful for the people who are better than me at others. I’ve learned that disagreement and tension is healthy, and to be able to be in that space together with another, can lead to unimaginable breakthroughs.
Most importantly, however, is that I’ve learned my voice is just as important as everybody else’s—and visa-versa.
This might come as a surprise to you, seeing as how I’m the “CEO” of this ship, but the reality is that one of my biggest challenges in this journey has been finding my voice and speaking it.
Like so many out there, I’ve been existing under the assumption that there are hierarchies in this world, and that there are people who know more than I do, or are better at certain things than I am, or, for some other reason, are just more important than I am. These conditioned beliefs (that we all have hidden somewhere—and if it’s not an inferior perspective, it’s the inverse), are seen in behaviors such as: defaulting to other’s decisions for ease, submitting to others agendas despite it not working for me, going to events because of other’s expectations…. you get the jist. They are little things that don’t seem like much in the moment, but that eventually add up to everything, and that ultimately reinforce the false belief that one person (population, country, religion), is better than another.
I truly believe that this is the root of so much pain and unrest in this world, and I want to do my part to rewrite these stories however I can.
So, the seeds I’m planting today, that I’m inviting you to plant with me, are those of equality.
It’s a big word, I know, and one that can easily be brushed aside with claims of perceived innocence, but we all have unconscious bias, and it is in these that the roots of pain live. My challenge to myself (and to you if you’d like to join) is to start becoming aware of these biases. Notice when you pass judgment on another. Notice when you pass judgment on yourself. Notice when you don’t make eye contact with someone because they look different than you, or when you swallow your words for fear of being wrong. All of these are subconscious behaviors operating under the assumption that someone is more important than another. And that’s false.
The second step, after realizing how often we’re presented with these beliefs, is to challenge them: Talk to the outsider; accept differences with compassion, knowing that everybody has a history; replace your negative self talk with a positive affirmation, share your thoughts despite fear. Change the story.
We are all beautifully unique, with different experiences, different histories, different pigmentation, different stars, different beds…. But we’re all human, we all have hearts, and we all matter.
We’re entering a new era, and our active participation is needed to create the world we want to leave for our grandchildren.
Wishing you love, courage, peace, and of course, powder in 2020.
Image Credit: Ananda Van Welij