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The Year That Was...

Paul MacCormack

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“Don’t turn away. Keep your eyes on the bandaged place. That’s where the light enters you.” — Rumi

As this year that has felt like a decade draws to a close, it’s been interesting to watch and listen to how people are relating to it. The chorus of “good riddance”, “so done with 2020”, “2020 dumpster fire”, and “can’t wait for 2021” appear to be ringing out in unison. It seems like most people simply can’t wait to discard the year that was so we can “get back to normal.”

It is incredibly important to honor this time for what it was. It was (and still is) a time of great discomfort, upheaval and suffering for many people. But to solely focus on the negative also dishonors all of the good that has come from this past year as well. By times, the news has seemed/seems like a never-ending stream of heart wrenching stories regarding the full trauma of this time of crisis, but behind every difficult one, there were also stories about the compassion, caring and triumphant nature of the human spirit. Even the news reports about social unrest and protest, while causing discomfort, began meaningful and important deeper conversations about the tremendous inequality and imbalance in our society which were long overdue.

...to solely focus on the negative also dishonors all of the good that has come from this past year as well.

Both collective and personal tragedies have a way of forcing us to pause and take stock. If we are present enough with the situation and can stay with it (even when we want to run away) a great many subtle truths can reveal themselves. If we can be with these truths with both honesty and kindness, we can use them as fuel to make necessary change in our lives. It can be terribly uncomfortable, but also can bring a deep sense of renewal at the same time. 

Here are a few of the reflections that have revealed themselves to me over the past while:

  • Trauma and fear are powerful forces. How we relate to them, how others use our vulnerabilities to manipulate and gain power, and how they can lead us to places that we never would have imagined ourselves previously are important things to consider. Learning how to process them with both wisdom and compassion is important.
     
  • piglet.jpgGratitude is also a very powerful force. Infusing your day with gratefulness and appreciation for what you have can shift your perspective on a great many things.
     
  • Simplicity, no more, no less. This time has shown us that distilling our lives down to their simplest forms is so incredibly rejuvenating. Learning the value of letting go of the baggage we carry creates space for goodness to rise.
     
  • Pausing is such a useful tool. Meditation, quiet walks, and taking a moment before a response are all powerful tools at our disposal which should not be underestimated.
     
  • Uncertainty and change are the natural way of things. There is no escaping the reality of change and the little control we actually have over how things unfold. This pandemic has shown us this in spades. Do not be afraid to lean into this fact and allow it to soften your harder edges.
     
  • Self care and learning what nurtures you are vitally important. Not in a selfish way, but rather in a way that honors that fact that when you are well, others are well.
     
  • Letting go of opinions and the need to be right can be very therapeutic. The last thing this world needs right now are more people shouting about how they know all the answers. Me and you included.

    The last thing this world needs right now are more people shouting about how they know all the answers. Me and you included.

  • Being kind to both yourself and the greater world around you is a good way forward. This crisis has shown us all that we are vulnerable creatures on this Earth, in need of caring and support. Dropping the judgement and choosing kindness for self and other will help things work out better in the long run.
     
  • We are far more resilient than we think we are. The depths of our courage and creativity are staggering by times. We need to remember this as these are historically tried and true paths through the darkest of times. In tapping into our courage and creativity we become the light we seek; the light the world needs going forward.
     
  • Amazing things happen when you bring your attention to the small, good things in your life. Be they physical activity, hobbies, meditative practice, moments with your friends/family… these small things add up over time… and through them we craft a life of meaning.

Let’s take our time as we move forward into this New Year. Pause often. Make some time for silence and allow space for reflection. Consider letting go of something that no longer serves you. Give yourself a gift that nurtures your physical and mental well being. 

And above all choose to be kind.

Thanks for reading.

 

(header photo credit James Karl Huntoon @huntoonjmsc via Twitter)

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Thank you for this rich and wise perspective.  The silver linings that have come out of the shake-up that was 2020 are many and valuable.  Happy New Year 🙂  

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Thanks so very much for reading Leanne. Means a great deal that you take the time. Wishing you peace and ease as we move into 2021! 

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Great read Paul!

My years on the planet has finally taught me that if I am present in the moment then most "mundane" chores become a joy...not just stuff that have to be tolerated!

Wishing you a great 2021!

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