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My New Year’s Resolution

By Kelly Brogan, MD

As a relative newbie to this whole “spiritual awakening” thing, I have still spent much of the past several years motivated by the carrot of victory. Of course, my opponent is no longer disease, germs, and pharmaceutical non-compliance. No…it has become ignorance, misinformation, and corporate industry (to keep the list short).

But I have still been deeply invested in being on the “right” side of the equation. Even as my own personal work has evolved, I recognize that I continue to struggle with a feeling of otherness when I encounter those who don’t intuitively understand why we shouldn’t be feeding our children GMOs, injecting them with foreign material, and medicating our way down the path of chronic disease. I have been on a desperate hunt for my people, for a safe haven of like minds, and in this process, even my own family and old friends have left me feeling exasperated and rageful.

Stop Fighting to Win

When I learned about Charles Eisenstein’s work, however, something shifted for me. I began to see that as long as I was fighting anything—as long as I was anti anything— I was perpetuating the precise mentality, emotional terrain, and energetic foundation that led us all so far from the path of ancestral wisdom.

With this, I put down my sword. I went into deep meditation and committed to self-betterment and evolution. I took even more seriously the responsibility and honor of having your eyes on these words.

And I began to experience a flood of joy and gratitude. My heart cracked open. I continued to encounter challenges and sources of pain, but with them I felt the promise of a gift. Every time.

My New Year’s Resolution… Are You With Me?

So, here’s what I am committing to in service of healing myself, you, and the planet.

I declare that I would rather heal than be right. It’s that simple. Ask yourself—and be brutally honest— would you rather be right, or would you rather heal? Because often, if not always, being right is a misleading goal that keeps you stuck in suffering and misery. Up until very recently, I still wanted so badly to be right. If planetary healing were to come in a flash and the conditions of its arrival were to be that no one would ever “learn the truth” about the boys’ club of Big Ag, Pharma, Food, Business, etc. well…I wasn’t sure I would want that type of healing.

But healing is healing. Either we want it—whatever it takes—or we perpetuate the conditions that keep us mired in suffering and sickness.

What it often takes is a willingness to let yourself, as you know it, die. A willingness to allow layers and layers of your precious identity to literally burn up in the flames of transformation. We derive a sense of safety in a seemingly dangerous world from knowing who we are—our jobs, our marital status, even our disease labels. We want to believe, so badly, that we will believe in non-belief. To let go of these tags feels like an existentially perilous venture.

And to love yourself, and all those who trigger you, throughout the process. Piece of cake, right?

The Love Revolution

Love. What does that word even mean?

You’ll note that I don’t use it often in my writing. To me, it has become an insipid placeholder for something far more meaningful. As spiritual teacher Matt Kahn says, “Love is not a feeling.” It is a container that supports and nurtures a process.

When you choose to love yourself, you treat yourself like you would a sometimes crying, sometimes cooing baby. You’re there for all of it. You support all of it. You say yes to all of it.

Kahn says that when you feel anger, judgment, or sadness, your heart is asking for more nurturance and support in letting those paroxysmal fits of ego pass through. Your heart is asking for more: love. In choosing to exercise self-compassion, you exit the vicious cycle of judging yourself for judging.

That resonates for me and my deeply felt belief that suffering and grief are healing when we embrace them.

Try It Out…For 40 Days

I want you to imagine the liberating potential of this one simple commitment—releasing the need to be right. Think about the last time you felt frustration, pain, or anger. What if, in that scenario, you replaced some of the core drivers of that response with words like “I don’t really know” or “I’m sure there is more to the story than I’m seeing” or even words like “Yes” or “Good.” And then you simply let the feelings ride. Let them be. Let them rise and fall and perform their unique alchemy without resistance. Here are some tips for not needing to be right:

Get humble. Thinking we are right comes from a place of certainty around our role on this planet. It comes from the belief that there is one objective truth, or one absolutely correct narrative. We know, however, that the observed requires an observer. There are multiple potential narratives running in parallel, all of which are true to someone, as the culmination of the myriad variables that led them to that moment.

Humility brings us back to an important state of wonder and curiosity. It spares us the carnage of ego-driven action and behavior. It is a path of greater ease, and, so it happens, the very opposite of dis-ease.

Act, don’t react. One of my favorite kundalini meditations is called “Act, Don’t React,” perhaps because I’m an Italian-Irish hothead by birth. The argument queen, I have a long history of slicing and dicing anyone, whether I even know the content of the debate or not. Never having a shortage of opinions or the fervor to go along with them, acting from a place of dispassionate humility has never been my thing. But it needs to be my thing, and yours— all of ours. We need to learn to sit with strong emotions and let them move through us before we turn them into the burned bridges of scorching e-mails, angry activist crusades, or misguided public policy. These days, when I get an activating e-mail (my inbox can be a house of horrors some days), I commit to non-response for 24 hours or until I can sit with the possibility of not responding at all (anathema to my fiery fingers!).

Own it. When we move beyond righteousness, we reclaim the parts of us that we are scattering all over our lives by simply taking radical responsibility for everything that comes our way. Stop. Blaming. Anyone. Move beyond victimhood and own your journey, as it will bring you where you need to go, even if it’s to your knees. Some stubborn layers of ego take a lot to deconstruct. Trust me. We write our own stories, so if you choose not to dwell in the deep reservoir of badness, injustice, and indignation we inhabit when we are struggling, then the feelings will simply be what they are, instead of a new infrastructure for a story that we’ll then be challenged to break down in the future.

Love now. Let’s be honest. Being right never changed anyone’s mind. Winning an argument was never the catalyst to meaningful change. The unexpected, however, can and does. When we get beneath defenses, we access each other’s humanity. Surprise yourself and someone who has rubbed you the wrong way by offering them an apology, words of grace, or compassion. Matt Kahn asks us to bless our perceived threats in life. So I would say, “May the CEO of Bayer be blessed.” Hurts a bit, but I can get with this, I think. Because I want to be the change, not just talk about it, and certainly not limit it because I’m too busy funding the war.

My daughter has a book called Beautiful Oops, by Barney Saltzberg. It’s a cute flip-story with a deep message. Our greatest moments of weakness and our deeply shameful errors are rich with potential for unimaginable creations. The most sacred and beautiful aspects of life are those which defy description and even narrative. There is no good and bad, no right and wrong, no opposing sides in these spaces of grace. If being right doesn’t get us where we want to go, and if being willing to be wrong can liberate us to new potential growth, then let’s get back to the business of getting quiet every day so that we can show up to this wild ride the best way we know how.

And, if I’m wrong about all of this…so be it. 😉

Here’s to a phoenix year of radical radiance and the most unimaginable quantum leaps into spaces of personal and planetary healing. Thank you for all that you are personally doing to resonate this potential.