1.01.2017

twenty seventeen - up&up

One of my favorite moments of 2016 was seeing Coldplay at the Rose Bowl. It has been on my bucket list for many years and when I heard this was their last album, I bought tickets as soon as I could. Initially they only had 7 shows in the US, but then they added more a few months later. But I wouldn't trade that experience at the Rose Bowl for anything. 

At the beginning of the concert, everything fades to black, all the wristbands turn on and flash in bright red, and it plays parts of Charlie Chaplin's speech in "The Great Dictator" - it sent chills up my spine. 

"I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone - if possible - Jew, Gentile - black man - white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness - not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.
Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost....
In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” - not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power - the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure."
And it leads into the song "A Head Full of Dreams" with fireworks and confetti flying through the air. I mean, really. I had tears flowing. It was incredible. 
The whole two hours was a dream.

 I think of everything that happened in 2016 to me and my family, friends, the country. 
It was a good year, but a hard and confusing year.

 It brought a lot of tears, heartache.  It brought a lot of traveling, weddings, and subsequent reunions with friends and family.  It brought spiritual growth from doing temple work for my family and becoming a temple worker. It brought amazing bucket list experiences, like the one I described with Coldplay and seeing Jimmy Fallon.  It brought a lot of introspection and planning for the future. It brought a lot of thought about the importance of living "When they go low, we go high".  It brought more bad dates than good dates. But the few that were good, they were real good. In short, it brought me a lot of moments where I thought distinctly,

 "All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good."

 I can confidently say that was the theme of 2016; not so much about noticeable progression, but about the small steps leading to the greater things to come.

I think the thing I have always loved about Coldplay is that I have essentially grown up listening to them. Their music always can fit any stage of life I am in, any kind of mood I am in. If I think of a theme I could pick for this new year of 2017, it would be Up&Up.  Just read the genius of Coldplay in these lyrics (just the portions that stood out to me most): 
see a pearl form, a diamond in the rough
see a bird soaring high above the flood
it’s in your blood, it’s in your blood
how come people suffer how come people part?
how come people struggle how come people break your heart?
break your heart
yes I want to grow yes I want to feel
yes I want to know show me how to heal it up
heal it up
see the forest there in every seed
angels in the marble waiting to be freed
just need love just need love
when the going is rough saying
we’re going to get it get it together right now
going to get it get it together somehow
going to get it get it together and flower
oh oh oh oh oh oh
we’re going to get it get it together I know
going to get it get it together and flow
going to get it get it together and go
up and up and up
and you can say what is, or fight for it
close your mind or take a risk
you can say it’s mine and clench your fist
or see each sunrise as a gift
fixing up a car to drive in it again
when you’re in pain
when you think you’ve had enough
don’t ever give up
don’t ever give up
We have it in our blood - I believe it's part of our physical and spiritual DNA to survive, to heal and become stronger, to use the grit and talents we have been given to never give up. We always have the choice to do good, to stand up for what is right, and to create joy in each moment -- to love others and make this life a wonderful adventure.  
And that's just what I plan to do this year.

I would say the song and this quote are my mantras for 2017, 
along with Hebrews 10: 22-24, 32, 35-36.

Wishing you all the very best year yet. 

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