I started typing this post some days ago and in the midst of typing and almost finishing it, an unsettling tsunami of violence erupted in Washington DC yesterday, January 6th!! It is a vast understatement to say this has been the most unusual year of our lives for most of us if not all, given the relentless onslaught of the pandemic, racial equality protests around the globe particularly prevalent in America, the insanity surrounding the US election results!! The icing on this crazy cake, for lack of a better metaphor, surely would be the seditious revolt perpetrated by Trump supporters, storming the holy shrine of democracy, the Capitol Building in Washington DC.!! That the police were ill prepared for the revolt was hard to digest! Surreal to watch. It appears America is at a crossroads … it is my nature to remain hopeful and confident that positive changes are in the wind for the future. It will be interesting to observe in the weeks and months ahead as a new era for our Southern neighbours begins to emerge. We are moving into the ‘Age of Aquarius’ now after all 😊! If any country is resilient, it is America! They have been the beacon of democratic light in our world for the better part of the last century. I am confident they will prevail. Hopefully as a less divisive, less polarized, more inclusive America where equality for all is a genuine possibility.
Adios to this challenging and unsettling year. This year of the global pause. There is a certain symmetry to 2020, where both the focus on internal growth, and the new appreciation for a simpler existence based on slowing down, appreciating and valuing our communities, friends, family … hugging each other has been steadily growing. Surprisingly, through it all, I personally have begun to feel more peaceful and hopeful than I could ever possibly have imagined just a short nine months ago!! Throughout, the unbounded resiliency of everyone I know leaves me hopeful. As the year progressed, allowing for an abundance of quiet reflective time whether at home, on nature walks, sitting in cafes or in our back yards, it became apparent who and what matters most to us. It has been the unexpected gift of this insidious covid virus.
What we truly value, something we may only have paid lip service to in past years, became unequivocally crystal clear during covid. Simplicity rules, be it in the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the company we keep. Family matters. Friendships matter. Kindness and honesty matter. Compassion matters. Human touch and hugging matter. Generosity matters. Sharing matters. All tied together in rainbow ribbons of gratitude and love. Pretty basic.
What a beautiful Christmas and New Years week I had in Victoria with my daughter, son in law and my darling grandchildren who I cared for while Sarah and Rob worked. It was a soul soothing way to finish off this challenging year … breathing in our West coast ambiance in the company of those I love. Sadly, covid rules did not allow us to gather the whole family together. We enjoyed many seaside walks and meals in that beautiful city with its abundance of great dining options! Grateful to Sarah and Rob for making it all happen.
Over many years, the journey into living a more conscious life has been a long and winding one. Certainly this pandemic has allowed for much introspection of our inner selves. Who we are at our core, our centre. I am becoming less reactive, more accepting. We are all on our own journeys, with varying degrees of awareness and awakening to the miraculous beauty that life can be when we have eyes to see. “We are after all, just walking each other home”. Though we may be on vastly different junctions within the path … how wonderful if we just enjoyed walking it together respecting each other’s various paces and detours. Reach out with a helping hand of loving support when we see each other falter or fall. Human kindness. The Golden Rule … deeply ingrained in every world religion and culture … “Treat others as you would want to be treated”.
What surprised and delighted me this year were the relatively recent friendships that grew stronger roots. My neighbours Bev and Joan are a wonderful addition to my decades long friendships with a handful of very very dear friends. We created our own little social bubble in Kelowna and shared many laughs on our weekly ‘pub dates’, sharing and listening to each other’s stories. Laughter rarely far away. Surely a perfect antidote￼ to and brief respite from the pandemic fear and paranoia imposed on us daily from our governments and news media!
Within the oftentimes noisy clatter of a life there are often large gaps of silence where the pace of life feels so at ease with itself. A daily mindfulness practice has been instrumental in connecting me with that stillness, those empty spaces between the words. Creating a fine balance. It is what very young children do naturally … they are rarely if ever thinking of yesterday or planning for tomorrow … they live ‘in the now’ … in the present. Little wonder, if given a choice, I have often preferred being in the company of children 😊, be it with my own children throughout their childhood or the decade of volunteering around the world in daycares or schools and currently enjoying precious time with my grandchildren. I have in many ways, learned more valuable lessons about life from children than I ever have from adults! They can be such beacons of brilliance and folk wisdom. The ease that children display daily, to live in the moment, never holding grudges, so openly honest, their innate ability to indulge in all manner of goofy fun, jumping in puddles, creating art of every description … the many moments of unbridled laughter … the list is endless! I hope there was some reciprocity involved but I do think I pulled the long straw on that front 😂!
So as 2021 unfurls its fresh wings, rather than wondering what this year will bring to us, how about … “What will we bring to this new year 2021?” What will I contribute, what can I share? No matter how small the gestures, they add up. In the wise words of Mother Teresa “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love”. My mantra for 2021. 🙏