Happy New Year everyone! Gosh I was so hopeful in 2021 at this time, thinking the world was going to turn around and all would be brighter. I do not feel that way a year later. I see that the virus remains in control and the world has changed forever.
I am by no means hopeless. There are multiple forces at work and there are so many reasons to be hopeful. If I am honest about it, there is good in the world just as there is bad, and it’s inaccurate to simply focus on the scary things. It is incorrect for me to sit in fear.
The pandemic is knocking the service industry on its head. A revolution has long been needed, and that starts with a massive shakeup, which is what we have. People in droves are quitting their jobs, citing “lack of appreciation,” “insufficient wages,” and “following dreams.” I think those are beautiful reasons and it’s worth a blow to my economy. While some forces are becoming more oppressive of the LGBT community, some LGBT community members are finding success and respect, like politicians in Serbia, Ireland, Luxembourg, Canada, and my own Governor of the State of Oregon. While some religious conservative extremists gain popularity, many faithful are finding that an open mind and changing with the times is consistent with their faith. I am thinking of the all-girl Muslim hard rock band Baceprot (that Bama just introduced me to!), or Pope Francis, who refuses to attack same sex marriage or a woman’s right to an abortion, or atheists. While raucous voices declare science is merely another religion, others launch the Parker Solar Probe that remotely unfolds a massive protective shield and then scoots over and touches the sun’s corona, and billionaires fly around up there when they get bored with spending money on other things, and Venice’s new MOSE flood barriers might just save the city. While racism continues to sneer at us, this year in the U.S., police officers were actually convicted for wrongful killing of people of colour, and last year I was part of a massive scientific study that was canceled once administrators realized that they hadn’t tried hard enough to make the participant population match the actual population. They decided that abhorring structural racism was more important than continuing. These are all huge accomplishments that prove the human race is better than ever.
I’m still using the Good Things Jar. In 2020 I neglected to put a single slip of paper in. Over the past year I did a better job of reminding myself to consider good things.
The Good Things Jar is a very old idea that I discovered in 2013 and employed for the first time in 2014. The idea is that for an entire year, every time you think of something good, write it down and put it into the jar. I like the ritual of opening the jar at the first of the year, and looking over the things I was grateful for.
Compared to other years, the scope of 2021 good things that I wrote down is limited. I was twitterpated, and wrote multiple times about love. There were other repeats: especially my consistently good health, which is an appropriate thing to be grateful for. I missed big things though, like I’m grateful I do not have breast cancer, which I worried about for a little while. I’m grateful Pedro and I found a window in between COVID lockdowns to travel overseas. I’m grateful my loved ones have easy access to vaccines and that none of us (as far as we know) got COVID-19. In fact, I’m grateful that I have not had a cold for two years, which I assume is the side effect of keeping my distance from all strangers and wearing a mask. I am so glad that my beloved Racecar kitty seems to be in pretty good health for an old cat, meaning I get to share more years with her. I’m grateful that Pedro pushed us to acquire more games, and now we have a pile of them at both houses and we play a lot of games.
Some of the good things I wrote down:
- My hens like their home so much they never go far
- Turns out, with a decent man, relationships are actually easy
- I can love, and be loved
- I bought plane tickets! (this still seems amazing, during a pandemic)
- I finally got brave enough to post on TikTok 🙂
- I thrive when it’s HOT (This was just before the insane heat wave we had here, but I loved that too)
- Pedro is not just what I had hoped for, but with bonuses
- I am 51 years old and in great health
- We went to Italy and Slovenia ❤
- I don’t have to work
- I have so many friends
- I am part of the Belle Brigade (relay racing team)
- My home is beautiful, and warm, and safe.
- I write well
I have always said – when parenting Tara, when talking to friends & family, when in a meeting with my supervisor – that I much prefer the honest, unfiltered truth. If I have the truth, I can make a better plan of action. During the past few years I’ve learned that I was delusional about how inclined people are toward kindness, assuming we would usually choose to be kind to each other. As a group we do not; we just go with the flow. I have a new opinion that people are inclined toward whatever energy surrounds them. The unfiltered truth is that we will be wicked just as quickly, with just as little thought about it, as we would be kind. And in a time when it’s so easy to see the danger, instability, stress and violence, more of us are going with that flow and perpetuating the darkness. It is making us ungovernable, and that means the world is becoming more dangerous. It’s a hard lesson to learn.
I’m glad I’m less naive now. I’d rather think about it honestly, and find a way to live with the truth. I refuse to live in fear because, as I said above, for me that is an incorrect response. So what will I do with this new opinion I have? That is my task ahead. I want to be a source of good energy, so if some person near me acts without thinking, maybe they will draw from the good things I’m trying to put out into the world, and they might be carelessly kind. I want to be more diligent and try not to be a careless person myself; I want to live each moment with intent. I will pay attention more to the good things around me and let them fill me.
Too often I forget the name of my blog: Conscious Engagement. For the rest of 2022, I will try to use the Good Things Jar to support my plan to amplify the good in the world.