As many of you read this article you may well be reflecting back on 2020 as your own personal “annus horribilis”. To be sure many of us will not look back fondly at the last year. Clearly, top of our thoughts on what made this such a devastating year for many will be, the virus – Covid-19 that has rampaged around the world and devastated so many people, economies and psyches. It is almost as if this virus has become the overarching factor in just about everything we do in our daily lives and has dictated what many see as loss of freedoms and even sometimes, rights. Some have rebelled against the science of Covid-19 and this fractured, divisive, intensely political and partisan world we now inhabit, Covid non-believers have often set neighbor against neighbor. In many ways we have become defined by whether we follow one political leader and Covid-denialism or another political leader who embraces science. There is, it seems, no middle ground in this argument, which has led to bitter recriminations on both sides and even violence, in the extreme. To be sure, there are plenty of other happenings in 2020 that could allow the year to be viewed as an “annus horribilis”; racial injustice, hunger, depression, home-schooling, unemployment, natural disasters (climate change), the untimely deaths of many of our childhood heroes, either courtesy of Covid-19, or of some other cause. Yes, it’s truly has been a “bugger” of a year, in the common vernacular.
It is common for all of us, from time to time, to throw all responsibility and blame for any trials and tribulations, in our personal lives, at those that we have elected to populate the halls of power – after all, it’s human nature to always try to blame someone else for our travails, right? Or is it? In difficult times like this, I always like to revisit the great leaders, philosophers and even “prophets” of history to see what they had to say about human nature, about pain, about difficulty and anxiety. It really doesn’t matter which great thinkers of humankind, you examine; Jesus, Muhammed, Gandhi, Buddha, Confucius, Lau Tzu, or even Pope Francis, two precepts become abundantly clear that they both preached and lived. 1) Love is the most powerful force in the Universe and 2) We, personally, are responsible for our own lives and our own actions. It all starts with us – not some high-elected official or even some mystical and unknown Higher Power. The power to shape our lives, as we would like to see them, is in our own hands.
- IT ALL STARTS WITH US AS THE INDIVIDUAL.
“When things are investigated, then true knowledge is achieved; when true knowledge is achieved, then the will becomes sincere; when the will is sincere, then the heart is set right; when the heart is set right, then the personal life is cultivated; when the personal life is cultivated, then the family life is regulated; when the family life is regulated, then the national life is orderly; and when the national life is orderly, then there is peace in this world.” – Confucius
Don’t look for enormous change – remember this, you are one individual making his or her contribution. Change is cumulative and requires us all to work together for the greater good. Just make an effort every day to do something that will make someone else’s life a little better. Try talking to that friend you broke up with over the pandemic response, or over vying political affiliations. Find some common ground and reconcile with them. Here’s the thing – your righteous anger only hurts one person; YOU! Remember what Buddha said about anger:
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” – Buddha
Since I’ve gone deeply philosophical in this month’s article, I want to end with another quote that never ceases to inspire me, as an individual. This quote has been cited many times by many great people but I believe the first person to actually express it was India’s great spiritual leader, freedom-fighter, and peace activist, Mahatma Gandhi:
“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi
So, till next month, be a beacon to the world and let the light of love, joy and peace, shine out on you and yours. Have an incredible 2021 and enjoy this special present we call life.
EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES LIFE PRESENTS TO YOU AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!
HAVE A GREAT LIFE AND SPREAD THE LOVE!
CHANGING THE WORLD – ONE PERSON AT A TIME