It's Sunita here.
2020 will go down in our memories as an unprecedented year. Never before in our lifetime had we experienced a pandemic, that brought with it death, illness, destruction, unemployment, financial hardship, discord, and massive lockdowns worldwide. No one was spared from the impact of COVID 19. The extent, and manner in which we were differently affected became a tool and yardstick, with which we could objectify, and measure the obvious inequalities in our country, and the world.
Since early spring this year, the bad news that surrounded the pandemic was accompanied by a massive demonstration of our instinct for self preservation. The vibrancy and vitality of humanity boldly staked it's place alongside the brutality of COVID-19 in 2020.
This instinct for self preservation stems from our fundamental belief that life is good.
Writer Bjornstjerne Bjornson (1832-1910) in his acceptance speech for the 1903 Nobel Prize in Literature passionately talks about what he considers to be human progress.
"...whenever I think of human progress, I see it as an endless procession in which men and women move steadily along. The line they follow is not invariably straight but it does take them forward. They are urged by an irresistible force, purely instinctive at first but eventually more and more conscious. Not that human progress is even a matter of conscious effort, and no man has ever been able to make it so."
Going on to mention two of his hero's, Bjornson elaborates on his conviction that life is good. Of Henrik Ibsen, a fellow Norwegian and friend, he says,
"He has lit many a beacon along our Norwegian coast to guide the mariner, to warn him of the danger that lies ahead."
Of Tolstoy, the other writer whom he considered great, Bjornson says,
"...his light shines forth and gives happiness to many. Their spirit, their many years of work, were lit by a purpose that was even brighter, like a flame in the evening wind...Of the two great writers I have mentioned, it may well be that the former's warnings are so severe as to be frightening. And the latter may lure us with the charms of an ideal that passes human understanding, and therefore frightens too. But what is necessary is that our courage to live is strengthened, not weakened.Fear should not turn us back from the paths which open before us. The procession must go on. We must be confident that life is fundamentally good, that even after frightening disasters and the most tragic events, the earth is bathed in a flood of strength whose source is eternal. Our belief in it is its proof."
Courageous first responders, scientists and researchers, social media influencers, bloggers, leaders from all walks of life, and organizations made immense, significant and important contributions to combat the virus responsible for this pandemic.
But the biggest hero of all in this story has been you!
You have persevered through a tremendously difficult year. You stretched yourself beyond limits that you believed you had no capacity to.
You kept the procession moving!
You were amazing in many different ways.
You managed with less. You made friends with uncertainty (albeit, with a varying degree of levels of ease) You voluntarily surrendered the intimacy of touch and personal visits to loved ones for the sake of their health and survival. You learnt new skills so you could keep working. You managed to keep yourself together (mostly) while housing and educating your kids in your new home office. You lost your job. You changed your career. You lost your business. You went back to school. You may still be looking for a new job. You took care of patients who had COVID. You looked out for your neighbors, community, and the world at large. You shopped for, and cooked more meals than you ever wanted to. You dealt with cranky family members who thought you were blowing this 'flu' out of proportion. You battled depression and anxiety. You lost it many times, only to courageously gather yourself, and move forward after you did. You did not even have the luxury of running away from this depressing year on an escape vacation. Or a visit to a friend for comfort/ a good whining/ugly cry/furious, break the plates session. But you dealt with that. You learnt how to socialize and have family holidays on a screen. Heck, you even had to meet up with your therapist on zoom.
Worst of all, you may have had to bury a loved one who died of COVID 19 this year.
Day after day, you kept finding new strengths. You surprised yourself by learning new skills necessary to survive this year. You tapped into a reserve of resilience within you, the existence of which you were unaware of.
Best of all, you got to know yourself more this year.
You did all this because you believe life is good. That is why you kept the procession moving. So, take a bow. Realize how courageous, flexible and resourceful you have been this year. Give yourself credit. And more importantly, give yourself lots of love.
You deserve this mercy!
"Victor Hugo has been my hero." continued Bjorstjerne Bjornson in his 1903 Nobel Prize acceptance speech."At the bottom of his brilliant imagination lies the conviction that life is good... His joie de vivre. Our instinct of self preservation insists on this, for if life did not have more good than evil to offer us, it would have come to an end long ago. Any picture of life that does not allow for this fact is a distorted picture. It is wrong to imagine, as some do, that it is the dark aspects of life what are bad for us. That is not true."
When I wrote 2020- An Ask That Has Nothing to Do With Resolutions, Goals or Measured Outcomes. The Tao Te Ching and Ursula Le Guin Illuminate on January 5th, 2020, I had no way to know how important my asks for the year would be for our sheer survival as the months unfolded.
Softness. Flexibility. Adaptability. Fluidity.
As we hopefully, and excitedly usher in 2021, I trust you will find a moment to reflect on the gifts it brought us, hidden amongst the destruction, darkness and uncertainty.
Personally, I am grateful for all the lessons 2020 taught me, and for every opportunity I had to create, and contribute. Above all, I am grateful to have all those who love me, and for whom I feel love.
I leave you with this poem of mine. It reminds me to stay in the present. I hope you will too. Because life is good. And there is more to come!
HAUNTEDThere are no promises to be made,For the times that have not yet unfolded.So, sleep,My love.
Until next time,
With my best wishes for your best year ever!
And my love,
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