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The Best Way to Remember Carrie Fisher, George Michael and our other lost heroes.

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I don’t know about you, but 2016 has taken way too many of my heroes.

I’m pretty pissed that I’m supposed to survive without George Michael, Carrie Fisher, Bowie, Cohen, Prince.  Losing these lives who symbolized my youth shook me with the too sudden awareness of my mortality and impermanence.

The other day I told a friend I wasn’t ready to grow up without my heroes. “We are all looking around for the grown-up to lead the resistance to the injustice we are experiencing in the world, but maybe we are the grown-ups now,” she said.

She is right.  

If I want to effectively resist sexism, racism, war, xenophobia, environmental degradation, poverty and the rest, then 2016 is giving me one hell of a graduation party.  Maybe adolescent mansplaining, whitesplaining, therapist-splaining, “shoulding” on people is ready to be replaced by something more “grown up.”  

2016 is asking me to move out of my American adolescence, into a fully formed adult. It is asking me to go through my political, environmental, and social justice puberty RIGHT NOW. What about you? Same boat?

If so, here is my grown-up response to 2016:

  • First, three deep breaths before speaking or doing anything.  
  • Second, stop responding to trolls on social media (still working on this one.  My teenager loves fighting with boys).  
  • Third, go at half-pace.  I am going very slow these days (well, slow for me anyway) so I have the energy to keep going even when the fight is long.
  • Finally, prioritize real face-to-face connection, vulnerability and play. Teens think they can do it on their own. Grown-ups know they need people.  I know I need my people every day.

I direct a nationwide listening project called Sidewalk Talk. Listening on city streets to whomever wants to talk has been a vehicle for my growing up this year too. I am not acting out “good girl gender training” or “the savior.”  I get something much bigger out of the project.  

“Ohhhh,” said my friend. “The Platinum Rule. Check it out.” she was right.  Thanks, Lisa Smusz!

“Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would want done to them.

The Platinum Rule is decidedly more difficult than the Golden Rule. It’s easy to know what you’d want, but it’s much harder to truly put yourself in another person’s shoes, walk around, and understand his/her perspective.

While it’s harder to do that, it’s much more powerful… The Golden Rule, as great as it is, has limitations, since all people and all situations are different. When you take the time to truly listen and understand the point of view of the other person in a situation, walk in her shoes, and feel empathy, only then can you do what she’d want done–and assure yourself of a better outcome. (Dave Kerpen, Inc., Powerful Leadership: Do Unto Others As They Would Want Done)

My final grown up response to 2016 is to live by the Platinum Rule.  

Want to join me?

I see three main motivations. First, I think Carrie, George, David, Leonard, Prince and the rest would be proud that their lives and efforts were not in vain. They wanted us to bend our perception of reality and understand difference. I don’t know a better way to commemorate them. Second, it feels good when other people listen to us with Platinum intentions.  Imagine, we very well could create the kind of world we like living in. Third, if I could tempt you with the biggest payoff, it is purpose and joy.  The vitality that I get when I drop my ideas about reality and really listen to someone else–it feels like stepping out of the matrix and being fully birthed, fully alive.

I am eager to expand my ideas about reality by really listening to other realities. Our heroes are dying. They became heroes by being fully themselves, fully alive before they died. What better way to show 2016 to the door than to commit to become fully ourselves, fully alive before we die, too?

Traci Ruble

Traci Ruble

Traci is a therapist and the CEO of PSYCHED & Managing Director of Sidewalk Talk. Her therapy work is centered around working with couples and individuals working on their relationships. Her many years in corporate life make her a good match for executives and leaders.

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