By Michele Frix, director of programs at the Seattle International Foundation
For Michele Frix, the beginning of a new calendar year does not mean creating the typical list of resolutions, it is creating a new sense of life based of experiences and from last year. Frix shares from Seattle, the turn her life will take from what she left in 2013.
I am not afraid to admit that I have never been very good at New Year’s resolutions. I tend to make a laundry list of things to accomplish such as growing a garden in my backyard, practicing more yoga, eating more vegetables, taking my vitamins, reading more books, and of course a classic for many people: get more exercise.
This year I have decided to take a new approach to my New Year’s resolutions. Rather than a list of things to accomplish, I am creating a list of people who inspire me and have taught me lessons in 2013. That way, these life lessons will serve as a base for my actions and attitude during 2014.
I have the great pleasure to work for a foundation based in Seattle that supports individual leaders and organizations in Central America. This past year in particular was filled with many “firsts” for me. I was pushed to a new limit professionally and personally, and at times I found myself asking, “Can I really do this?”. It was always my friends and colleagues in Central America that reminded me why this work was important. But more importantly, they inspired me to look for new ways to think about life – they inspired me. Each of the following resolutions, or mantras, is inspired by them in this unique and beautiful corner of the world.
- Look for the similarities with others, not differences: From the Maya and the Xinca of Guatemala, to the Garifuna on the Caribbean coast and the Guna of Panama, one of Central America’s greatest attributes is the richness from the racial, ethnic and cultural diversity. Severe challenges go along with such a wide array of peoples and cultures, and history in Central America is evidence of this. I am reminded by friends who come from or work in indigenous communities to seek unity in diversity. We can achieve so much more by working together, rather than against one another. At times our differences can be blinding, but for me, 2014 is a year to look for what unites us, not divides us.
- Value context, because it is everything: Read the rest of this entry »