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Balancing The King, The Martyr, and The Tyrant: Reflections on 2016, Intentions for 2017 (May We Be


It is a tradition of mine at this time of year to look back on the year that was, reflect on what I've learned, and set my intentions for the year ahead. It is my privilege to get to share these reflections and intentions with you all again this year, and I invite you to share your reflections and intentions with me as well.


Was there "joy, ease and lightness?"

One year ago, I set my intentions for this year as: "joy, ease and lightness." In looking back on 2016, I have to ask myself, "did I actually commit to this intention?"

The answer is: "not really."

There were moments of joy, ease and lightness, but there was also potential for so much more of it, if I'd only allowed myself to access it.

My seemingly difficult year...

2016 was seemingly difficult for me in a lot of ways. As the stories go: I ended The Joy Machine. The album was a lot more difficult to finish than I expected it to be. The election was culturally toxic, and for the last quarter of this year my husband and I have been having a hard time closing on a house we're trying to buy.

But I know that my experience of those challenges has been shaped entirely by my own chosen perspective and approach to them.

Balancing The King, The Martyr and the Tyrant...

Many of you know that in my ongoing journey towards self-realization, I largely relate to and strive towards the mature masculine archetype of the King. A king is centered, a king is decisive, he lives with integrity, he protects his realm, he provides order, he creates and inspires creativity in others, he blesses the lives of others and he leaves a legacy. These qualities describe me at my best.

But at my worst, I live as my unevolved shadows: The Tyrant, and The Martyr.

This past year, as The Martyr, instead of practicing gratitude in order to experience joy, I would wallow in my unmet expectations and frustrations. Oftentimes, I would really enjoy telling myself and others the story of how hard it all was. I'd relish in how heavy it felt, as if the heaviness gave my life importance or meaning.

I struggled to balance the validity of being truthful and aware of my challenges, while also being cognizant of when I was indulging in the feeling of struggling.

As the Tyrant, I was controlling and entitled. Instead of surrendering to what was showing up, and accepting things as they were, I fought for what I expected things to be and lamented when they didn't go as I wanted. Instead of accepting people or events as they were, I judged them based on how I thought they should be, and pressured them to change to meet my expectations.

I struggled to balance the validity of setting and maintaining my boundaries and agreements with others, while not trying to control them or the situation at hand.

Admittedly, while trying to establish balance between these archetypes, a lot of people in my life had to hold space for me as I vented, fumed, wallowed and complained. I oftentimes wasn't present, and sometimes it wasn't easy being my friend or my partner.

So I am grateful for 2016 in its blessings and its challenges...

I am grateful for my friends and family who have shown me patience and love through the moments where I struggled to be my best self.

I am grateful for the challenges that presented themselves and the lessons they have taught me. I am grateful for the mirrors that have appeared to show me where I need to put in the most work.

I am grateful for all the joy, ease and lightness that was, all of the incredible experiences and memories that took place this year, because there were A LOT OF THEM.

I am grateful for all of the blessings, all of the privilege, all of the fortune and all of the grace I was given throughout this year.

I am grateful for everyone who came together to help make my recent album possible. So many incredible musicians and artists collaborated on that project, not to mention the donors and supporters. To listen to it now is one of my greatest joys and sources of pride in life.

I am grateful for the life-changing experience I had in Nashville on retreat, to my friend J'Nae for hosting me, and for all of the incredible teachers and mentors who I experienced during that time. That period lit the path for what is to come in 2017.

And I am grateful to be alive in this moment in time, and to get to continue to play this incredible game of life.


My intention this year is sustainable, holistic wellness.

It has become clear to me, especially through my retreat in Nashville, that until I find a way to reprogram the unuseful behaviors in my life, I will never really reach my full potential or serve my ultimate purpose.

So, my goal for 2017 is sustainable, holistic wellness, defined, by me, as wellness of:

MIND-- I have a healthy, nurtured and disciplined mind that serves me.

HEART-- I fuel my heart so it might lead my life with love.

SPIRIT-- I connect to the divinity in myself and everything so I might best serve all.

BODY-- I love, care for, and tune into my body so I might gain the most use from my vessel.

FINANCIAL-- I am strategic with my finances and contribute to my household to create a culture of abundance.

MARITAL-- I actively nourish and grown my heart-bond and partnership with my husband.

MY PURPOSE-- I am using all of my skills to serve, learn and create, engaging with projects that bring me joy, fulfillment and abundance.

My First 100 Days--A Response to the Inauguration:

On Inauguration Day, I'm going to be launching a campaign called, "My First 100 Days." This will be a challenge to my community and myself to set actionable goals in our personal lives and communities that can serve as a counterpoint to Donald Trump's First 100 Days in office. I'll be sending you more info on this closer to Inauguration Day, but for me, those 100 days are going to include focused commitment to my wellness goals as laid out above.


As this year comes to an end, I have this wish for everyone who reads this and myself:

May we all do what we need to do to be well.

May we all do what we need to do to be happy.

May we all do what we need to do to be at ease.

May we all do what we need to do to find peace.

I hope you all have a beautiful New Year's Eve celebration. I'll see you in 2017.

With love and gratitude,

Ben Caron

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