2020 was a hell of a year.
2021 is off to an ominous beginning.
Even with the vaccine, COVID continues to escalate; people continue to die. And in the midst of this, our lame-duck president incites a violent insurrection to invalidate our votes.
The vaccine will create herd immunity, but our divided nation's issue and the fallout of last Wednesday’s riot will not be so simply resolved. It will take years.
But we should begin somewhere on an individual level and do something to make the world a little better. To send out a little positive energy.
It only takes one small beacon of light to penetrate the dark, and we need to begin doing this.
We can do it in small ways that have a big impact.
And we can do it immediately.
Commit to doing better.
How can you do it immediately?
Begin with your work environment, where ever it may be these days, or your home. It’s simple, though it’s not easy.
After you open your eyes in the morning, remember what day it is, commit to doing the best you can when interacting with people. I send out this intention every morning.
I don’t hold myself up as an example. I don’t always do well, so better isn’t always raising the bar very high.
I think of who I will be interacting with and send out an intention to speak to them as calmly as possible and without judgment. I make not assumptions and try and take nothing personally.
I seal this commitment while savoring a cup of coffee.
It’s like 10 minutes of warm, delicious, soothing meditation. When it is done, the intention is sealed.
Hitting the road
Hitting the road these days means firing up my laptop. Like many, I am working from home, and I don’t have far to travel. And because of COVID, it means less social interaction.
It’s not always a bad thing.
It’s been easier to maintain my mental equilibrium and it’s given me ample time to practice for those rare occasions where I encounter the public.
My focus is on my work and this means e-mails containing endless needs of many. Sometimes it feels like the sky really is falling! With focus, I find that it takes more e-mails to get me to the point where I’m stressed, and when I become stressed, it is less so and easier to recover from.
Most days, I am putting out less negativity. Less negativity on my part and happier people on the other end equals more positive energy.
In a sense, it’s healing. Even if I don’t add positive energy, I’m keeping things on an even keel. Some days it’s the best I can do.
I can accept that and move on.
And if I blow a fuse, I commit to starting over.
I make it outside once a day. Sometimes it’s just to empty the trash. But other times I go for a walk, food shop, or grab an extra bottle of wine.
This is where we are tested.
This is where true healing can take place. You don’t have to do anything big or earth-shattering. Think of the small things that make your day better and try doing these things yourself.
You can make eye contact and say hello. I’d say smile, but our faces are covered. Some people avert their eyes, so this isn’t always easy. But try anyway.
Hold open a door.
Stand aside to give someone a wider birth to pass.
Nod in acknowledgment as they walk by.
If you drive, you might let someone go first through the stop sign or slow down and flash your lights to let them know it’s safe to move over.
It’s nothing really, but it recognizes the humanness in someone else instead of ignoring the fact. It won’t take long or interrupt your day. Human contact of any type is a big deal.
Kindness in social media means ignoring a lot. It means not responding to mean comments. Sometimes it’s better to ignore social media altogether.
The next step is posting something positive, encouraging, or uplifting. It can be a picture, a saying, a joke, or an observation that the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day.
You’re showing gratitude and passing along the thought to others.
It’s a speck of light on a dark landscape.
You can be the dark or you can be the light. It’s your choice.
These are small things, but small things add up. And if everyone begins doing these small things, it can add up to a lot.
Imagine walking down the street and everyone you see has a smile for you and a big “hello.”
You know how it feels when a stranger says or does something unexpected or kind. You feel good. They didn’t have to do what they did, and they did it for no reason except to offer a little kindness.
Imagine a world full of strangers showing courtesy and kindness in small ways.
And it could be the beginning of a better world.
Photo: Amin Moshrefi on Unsplash