There was so much news this week it was almost impossible to keep up with it all.
We began with stories of retribution, revenge, and a possible war. (Thank God cooler heads seemed to have prevailed.) Then we ended with what’s being portrayed as a war inside the House of Windsor, a.k.a. the British royal family. Impeachment, climate change, a downed airplane killing all on board, and the devastating loss of Australian life and wildlife also competed for our attention.
Leave it to the queen to sum it all up for us. In a statement from Buckingham Palace, she or her aides pronounced: “It’s complicated." You think? Holy moly.
“It’s complicated” (which also happens to be one of my favorite movies) seems to perfectly sum up our politics, the Middle East, and how many families are feeling these days.
What I took away from everything this week was this: life is indeed complicated, but it can also be really simple. Like Harry and Meghan, each of us has the personal right or duty to take a moment to step back and reassess what is or isn’t working—be it in our families, our relationships, our places of work, and or our politics. Then we can each make a decision to step up and speak out, or step back and stand down.
In one way or another, that’s what each of these stories is about. Clearly Prince Harry and his duchess decided to reflect and reassess. They then stepped forward to say, “Hey, the way it was doesn’t work for us, so we are going to try things a new way.”
This is an election year in the U.S., and I think all of us can be asking ourselves the exact same kind of question. Do we like the way things are going here? Do we feel safe, protected, understood, and hopeful about our futures? Do we feel the country is working for us, our families, and our fellow human beings? If not, do we have the courage to step up and say we want something different, and then do all we can to make that happen?
Change is messy and scary, as Harry and Meghan are about to find out. Communication at a time like this is critical. In fact, good communication can deter war at home in our homes or abroad. Honesty and integrity are also key.
So if you are reassessing, reflecting, and refocusing your life, know this: not everyone will be happy when you make a bold, brave move. Not everyone will support it or understand your decision. But what matters is that you know why you are doing what you are doing. What matters is that you follow your heart.
If you follow your heart and know that you aren’t making a move out of revenge, retribution, or small mindedness, then you really can’t go wrong. What I have learned is that at some point in your life, your heart will ask you to make such moves. Your mind might try to overrule, but if you are strong enough to follow your heart, you will eventually find peace. And so will those who love you.
Your decision might not be on the level of upending the British monarchy, but it might upend your family, your career, or your relationship, and you have to be ready and feel grounded in your decision. (And if your heart is calling you to slow down, then listen. Because as I reported on TODAY this week, burnout is real and has dangerous consequences.)
The truth is, we live in upending times. Mother Nature is wreaking havoc. World powers are taunting one other. It’s a time when we the people (no matter where we live) must take the time to decide what’s right for us right now. We have to decide what feels true to us and what works for us. It’s really that simple.
I know that we may not all be able to escape to a private island in Vancouver for 6 weeks to plot out our next steps, but we can each step up in this new year and new decade in a way that matters to ourselves, those we care about, and our world. After all, now more than ever the world needs our truth, our wisdom, our internal strength, and especially our hearts to lead us out of the complexities, complications, despair, and darkness so many are experiencing. We need them to lead us into the light.
That’s what I’ve been thinking about this week. What about you?