Closing the year 2020… Can we do it in a good way?
There is no doubt this has been a very challenging year for everyone. The unexpected events have been in charge of our lives in a way we could not imagine it was possible.
Now, approaching the end of the year, the last days of 2020 are not going to be less demanding that they have been since the pandemic started to spread around the world. There are some differences, though. We now understand what “restrictions and isolation” mean. We know that many businesses and jobs may not survive the winter ahead. We know that everyone’s means of living, health and wellbeing have been threatened and that many have been suffering above a reasonable limit. We also know that going through the season without calling on family and friends or forcing ourselves not to hug and kiss our loved ones is an almost impossible task. We are aware that vaccines are coming at some point in the near future, and that we may survive the crisis and recover hope and joy after all.
Thus, the last test may be concerned with taking the right decisions this winter, even when these decisions cause sadness and pain. The question is how can we get through winter causing ourselves and all around us the minimum damage possible? How can we cope with so much that has been and will still be lost over winter?
When I was convalescent from cancer, a friend introduced me to a guided meditation exercise that has given me a key for opening life’s doors and windows. It was called “giving thanks”.
At the time, I was just finishing my treatment, my body hurt and felt broken. My mind was unable to process too much and was unable to concentrate or think for too long or too deeply. My soul felt distressed and lonely… Could I have been grateful in that state? Grateful about what?
And then, I became aware that although some sections of my body, mind and soul were damaged or were not there anymore, there was “a lot of me left” still. I started to thank my toes and my feet that carry me and allowed me to stand up and walk, even if slower than before. I thanked my legs and my arms that moved and let me reach things and places. I thanked my chest that hold my bumping heart and which still made a difference between feeling sad and feeling happy. I thanked my eyes which still granted me the possibility to see things and to read. I thanked my mouth that permitted me to taste and enjoy salty and sweet flavours…
There was so much wonder in going bit by bit all around my body, and feeling every centimetre of it! It made me acknowledge that I was still alive, even with the missing bits. The pain guided me in the adaptation to my new condition and capability. I had to learn to use my left hand, and I was amazed of how this hand, left arm and my whole brain were capable of so much when I had never depended or noticed them before. This was just the beginning of a different way of living arising in front of me.
Thus, when I think about our current calamities and the devastation than our world is suffering, I start giving thanks for everything that I got. My life is not “perfect” and will never be. However, I am grateful for every little thing that makes me smile … sunny days, flowers and trees in the street and the park, the little birds that play around in the sky… I am grateful because I am able to read beautiful books to “visit” different places and introduce me to people and events that otherwise I will not know about. I am grateful that I can still listen to music and become a “lone dancer” when nobody is looking… I am grateful for the technology that grants me the chance to connect with so many different ideas and people. I am grateful because I have learnt to appreciate what I have, and especially because now I cannot remember what I do not have!
Life is what we make of it with the tools that we manage to acquire. Most of the time life is not easy. However, we have a choice for as long and we appreciate what we have and make the best of this experience.
Do you have a “list of things to be grateful about”? Having one does miracles. I promise. If you want to meditate, great! If you want to thank God, fantastic! If you want to the grateful to nature and to life, wonderful! We are still here. I am grateful for that every day.
Have a truly peaceful and safe Christmas!