Hope for a better year in 2021
"And ye, who have met with Adversity's blast,
And been bow'd to the earth by its fury;
To whom the Twelve Months, that have recently pass'd
Were as harsh as a prejudiced jury—
Still, fill to the Future! and join in our chime,
The regrets of remembrance to cozen,
And having obtained a New Trial of Time,
Shout in hopes of a kindlier dozen."
How do we step into 2021? With trepidation and anxiety? With bluster and bravado? Meekly? Calmly? Ready for anything? How do we leave behind what has been one of the strangest years of a run of strange years, and find some promise for both a better year ahead, knowing it is likely to be one which still needs us to be ready to take on ‘more of the same?’
None of us are seers, able to predict the future. Certainly one of the things we can do is look back over the past year and reflect on those things we might be grateful for. Gratitude it seems is one of those activities which actually helps us change our perspective when life has been particularly harsh and difficult.
Focus on the good, however rare, on kindness given and received, on simple joyful things that transcend the many awful and painful unwelcome things 2020 might have delivered to our respective houses. We also have an opportunity to think differently about any pain we have experienced. Ask the question, “What has it taught me?” or “What have I learned?” Reframing our experiences like this is a healthy way of acknowledging the reality of pain in our lives, but at the same time giving us an opportunity to move forward with those life experiences which hurt, harm and have the potential to stop us in our tracks. Learning to think differently and use a different & positive frame to describe & process our lived experience is a worthwhile and healthy endeavour.
This is not an original idea many writers have grasped this and given us food for thought, check out the following quotes, see if there is one that speaks to you of hope for yourself:
“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”
― Pablo Neruda
“In a time of destruction, create something.”
― Maxine Hong Kingston
“There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.”
― Leonard Cohen, Selected Poems, 1956-1968
“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
― Barack Obama
“TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasise in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory.”
― Howard Zinn
With all good wishes for 2021.