It’s not a bad idea to consider everything happening in our lives to be a gift. It means rather than seeing ‘successes’ and ‘failures’ we see flexible realities that, with awareness, always hold the potential to be beneficial.

The gift of 2020 has been that, by taking away a huge number of things we formerly took for granted, we have learned that these things form a landscape filled with good fortune that was otherwise invisible.

Who ever went into a restaurant last year thinking, ‘thank God restaurants exist.’ Who even remembers who their last casual hug was with? Who was thinking about all of the hospital ICU’s going through a period of hell each flu season?

We took the existence of the concept of a restaurant for granted. We could have been more present for our hugs. And the strangers around us do deserve our respect and compassion because they are often the people that literally allow our lives to happen.

We need each other in the most fundamental ways, from the accountant that helps a company do what it does to invent life-saving drugs, to the guy driving the truck for the road crew fixing the sewer to ensure our toilets flush, to the guy in the plant that will make the fertilizer that will grow the food we’ll eat in those restaurants we now value so much.

If we’re going to learn anything from the humbling experiences of 2020, let it be that we learn to better-appreciate our daily world and the people in it. It and they deserve much more credit for our quality of life than we formerly gave either.

Further, let’s use that lesson to power a 2021 New Years Resolution. Rather than a targeted, itemized resolution challenge that changes us or our behaviour, let’s simply make ‘appreciation’ the theme of our coming year. There is no succeeding or failing, only a 2021 where we intend to look at life for things to appreciate. And in our search for sources, we would all do well to recognize how much we all truly need each other.

We should not be treating people with respect because they deserve it. We should treat them with respect as an example of who we are as a person. Politeness or political correctness are types of thought-policing that are unnecessary if we develop a more empathetic, compassionate connection with others. Then, rather than just changing our words, we are changing our hearts.

We should remember that we cannot interact with someone for a minor percentage of their lifetime and presume to know who they are in totality. We, along with everyone we meet, will make terrible mistakes in life. But we’ll also have done, and will continue to do, kind, decent and valuable things for others.

All this being the case, let’s treat each other like the good people we all are. Let us choose to declare that our theme for reality-creation in 2021 will be ‘appreciation.’ Of ourselves and of others.

Rather than attacking ourselves, or pursuing wants and desires designed to salve our sense of failure, let’s invest that time in becoming more aware of the contributions that we make to others lives and that others make to our quality of life. There are literally billions of ways we all do that. It’s a year long meditation.

Societies and individuals keep getting more anxious and more stressed and yet despite technology we keep drifting apart. Judging more, forgiving less. And the world appears to be getting much worse. I say ‘appears’ because when we look at the world we are really seeing ourselves, because reality is a flexible thing.

If the world looks ugly then we need to improve our vision. So let’s take this coming year and let’s say ‘no’ to fear and blame and distrust. And let’s use the year to make our world more about connection and appreciation. Because just like we can make the world ugly, we can make it beautiful too.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone. Much love. s

PS In keeping with the same theme, people may want to listen to yesterday’s CBC Column.

PPS This will be the last blog over the holidays. I have a few ideas I’m thinking about for next year, so I’m not sure when I’ll restart. But if you’re subscribed you’ll know as soon as I do.