Happy New Year!!
It is finally 2021! The year that was 2020 is finally completed and most of us made it through. For the 350,000 plus Americans that did not make due to the criminal behavior of the US President, you have my sincerest condolences.
2021 will see Joe Biden become President, and we will see a vaccine delivered however slowly that may be such that we can get back to a non-pandemic lifestyle. It will be a time of celebration, of release, of great joy. There will of course be the normal life difficulties but compared to 2020, we will see a resurgence of optimism and spirit! And I hope for each and everyone of us best wishes and good health for the new year.
While I am confident that optimism for 2021 is warranted and 2021 will be deserving of it (as if a "year" is deserving of anything, it is just a arbirtrary time block), I am not naive enough to think that all our problems will vanish in 2021, even with Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20th, 2021. There are gargantuan problems that we must overcome and solve and January of 2021 will see us take our very first steps along that path. The year will be ripe with opportunity for violence, escalating hate and anger. We have deep structural and cultural problems that we need to fix and that will require change, big change. And we know human beings don't like change. Each and everyone of us struggles against change in some form or fashion.
Some people will see these efforts to fix our country as an attack on their lifestyle while others will see is as correcting the problems of white, and predominantly heterosexual male, privilege. I consider them to be racist, misogynistic, homophobic, anti-gender fluidity, hate-mongering, selfish, violent and seditious traitors. However, there are 75 million Americans who fit that desription and that is not a trivial number of people. While about 80 million people agree with me, those 75 million do not. It is not a passing fad, nor now that the election is over will those people just disappear. There are deep, deep divides in this country.
We have a lot of work to do!
My personal challenge in 2021 will be to fight my internal self-talk that labels these people as "other", as "evil",etc. I believe some of them, mostly GOP leaders, are criminal worthy of incarceration. However the majority of them are absolutely allowed to have the opionions they have and vote the way they like. It is the spiral of negative-engery self-talk I often find myself it that I need to stop as it is not helpful or constructive.
I say this not for their sakes, though I do want to #choosekindness, I do it because we have a lot of work to do to address the root cause issues affect our country. Negative thoughts cloud the water making it difficult to discern the real problems and real solutions. It is for my own mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. Negative self-talk creates stress which wreaks on your body, negative phyical manifestation due to stress and anxiety. It is just a vicious cycle that feeds on itself. This pattern of thought is an impediment to thinking clearly of the problems we face and determining solutions. I need to find equanimity.
As it says in the yoga sutras, to counter negative thoughts think the opposite, counteracting thoughts.
Yoga Sutra II.33 Vitarka badhane pratipaksa bhavanam - Upon being harrased by negative thoughts, one should cultivate counteracting thoughts
We all have self-talk and that self-talk or thoughts are often negative. They are often at there most negative for me when I think about these "people" the 75 million that did not vote like I did. I need to cultivate the practice described in this sutra to keep myself on an even keel. With an mind that is on an even keel I'll be able to focus on the work of identifying and solving our problems. That work is too important to allow white noise or distractions get in our way.
I have a few plans I'm working on to help me start the work of addressing this countries issues. I don't have answers yet, but I do have some thoughts on it so keep an eye out.