Thursday, December 30, 2010

A New Years Wish For a Better Self and World

As we reach the finish line of another wild, crazy, contentious, depressing and marginally hopeful year, which ominously manipulated the mass imagination once again; let’s hope we can individually and collectively make a resolution to try and be our own, best selves. Maybe, we might be in a failing empire; where the rich get much richer and the crumbs for the rest continue to crumble, and where much of the rest of the world perceives us as either arrogant or ignorant, or a bit of both. Empowered by the words from the eloquently, written final stanza of, “The Waste Land” by poet, T. S. Eliot, “Shall I at least set my own lands in order?” Can we not passionately, yet patiently begin to ‘set our own lands in order’, as well?

A little kindness here, a little listening there and a little caring everywhere, can usher in what singer songwriter, Mary Chapin Carpenter recently referred to in her lyrics from, “The Age of Miracles.”

“It seems we're just standing still
One day we'll get up that hill
In the age of miracles
There’s one on the way”

Now, this new age doesn’t necessarily require divine intervention, or even The Law of Attraction, but I’m not saying it might not benefit from either. The point is: If we can just begin to let go of our increasingly, negative self-fulfilling prophecies for only one day, or even a week, or best of all, throughout the New Year, we just might see our better self start to re-emerge.

Personally, I’m sick and tired of living in a time similar to the age that poet, WB Yeats referred to in his iconic poem, “The Second Coming,”

“The best lack all conviction, and the worst are filled with passionate intensity.”

Such divisiveness breeds sickness, conflict and despair, and unfortunately real leaders and healers are in short supply these days. This doesn’t mean that by striving to be our best and most committed selves, we can't learn to lead and heal ourselves in a world we can begin to cherish as we once did.

If, we become truly resolute, it can happen. But, we must have clear intentions, persevere, as realistic idealists and act from our hearts at least as much as we do from our heads. We need deep acceptance of difference and otherness, rather than a tepid tolerance, which can easily snap into tyranny.

In some ways we may well be unique, but in others we are very much connected. The problem is we have lost sight of this connectedness and the notion of a greater good that transcends the ultimately alienating notion of enlightened self interest. To be our best, our most committed and compassionate selves, we need to tear down walls that divide us and regain the openness and optimism that will restore our hope and happiness.