With so much loss and strife this year, it’s hard to believe that anything truly joyous has happened. But we can’t move forward without looking back, so let’s take time to reflect on the events that have added to our lives so we can embrace them and accept that the New Year is upon us already. We have lost so many voices this year; it’s hard to remember that we have to continue on this path without them. While I could list the many, many people – both famous and not – it would take a library of books to name them all, so instead I will share the ones that I felt the most. This isn’t to diminish any one loss, there is just simply too many to name.
As many of you may know I was thrilled to learn I was to become an Auntie, but what you don’t know is that there were many complications and just a few days after my precious nephew’s arrival, his little body gave out and he passed. The loss and devastation the entire family felt (and still feels) is indescribable. My heart was bursting with love from the minute I heard the news about him, and it broke into a million pieces the day we lost him. We had but a few precious days, but my love for him is eternal. Thomas, you stole my heart and I’m irrevocably changed now that you’re not here to share my love for you.
Among the many we lost this year were two voices that were personal inspirations, Maya Angelou and Joan Rivers. I never had the honor of knowing either of these great ladies personally, but each made an impact on my life that I will never be able to repay. Ms. Angelou for showing me that great power and wisdom is found in words. She challenged, touched and inspired countless people and lived her life with grace and elegance. She called courage “the most important of virtues,” and she unapologetically spoke to the world through profound and simple observations. Truly an amazing woman that every person should admire, the world is a far colder and darker place without your light to shine upon us.
On the other end of the spectrum, we find my role-model, Joan Rivers. I, again, didn’t have the honor or pleasure of knowing the woman, but I held her in the highest of regards. She was allergic to pretense and built a career on stripping back the veneer of contentment in life over and over again. Her currency in this life was truth and she was wise enough to see how scared people are of the truth. With class and humor, she brought the truth into the light, kicking and screaming all the way. She believed that comedy was a way to make people laugh at everything and deal with things. Relentless and a compulsive workaholic, she never stopped for even a moment. For some, she was the Queen of Mean, but in truth, she knew that life was mean and she was here to show us how funny it is. A comedic (and philosophical) genius, the absence of her voice will be the one I miss most of all. I take comfort in my personal new mantra, ‘What Would Joan Say?’, and the world grows darker still.
Death is a loss that we have no control over, and in some cases, death was only the beginning of the turmoil. From NFL domestic violence, Islamic state beheadings, racial tensions in Ferguson, Malaysian Airlines plane crash, the Ukraine shooting down another flight, leaked photos and cloud security compromised, unexpected celebrity deaths, Obamacare and lastly the fight against Ebola, this year couldn’t have been more turbulent. I sat down this morning thinking I would simply post a usual ‘Happy New Year’ message and be done with it. But the more I thought, the more I felt compelled to put my feelings down in print. I could spend this time filling the pages with all the dark and disturbing things that are wrong with this world, but what would that accomplish? Nothing: it would just be one more proverbial straw on the camel’s back.
Instead, I would like to offer up a simple wish for every person who reads this and every person living on this blue marble we call home. What is my wish for the New Year? More: I wish you more. You’re probably wondering what I mean by this or thinking I’ve lost my mind, and you might be right, but here’s what I mean. I wish each and every one of the 7.2 billion people on this Earth more of each of the following: Love, Compassion, Kindness, Strength, Weakness, Faith, Wisdom, Knowledge, Patience, Joy, Quiet, Noise, Celebration, Belief, Courage, Bravery, Skill, Questions, Understanding, Laughter, Comfort, Mystery, Goosebumps, Light, Time, Energy, Recognition, Praise, Truth, Justice, Curiosity, Concern, Focus, Doing, Sharing, Excitement, Mistakes, Failures, Giving, Helping, Sunshine, Inspiration, Honesty, Dreams, Peace, Sympathy, Control, Relaxation, Trust, Health, Acceptance and last but certainly not least, FORGIVENESS.
This morning I read the online suicide note of someone who deserved exactly what I wish for each of you. As I read their words and allowed my heart to feel their pain I realized what a horribly, ugly world this can be, and saw that, even though this person endured pain, their last thought was for the rest of humanity. In his her own words “My death need to mean something” and “fix society. Please”. It’s up to the rest of us now. Stop blaming and pointing fingers, violence is NOT the answer. This doesn’t fix anything; you must look to yourself and be better. It’s time to stand up and say “enough”, and time for a change. If each of us made the choice to be a better version of ourselves we could make this world a better place for everyone. So, again, for those in your life that you love, and for all the people in this world that don’t feel they have enough love, BE MORE, DO MORE, GIVE MORE and LOVE MORE. Greet everyone with an open heart and open mind and be the best version of yourself.
Let’s all learn to be unaffected by the unkind or harsh words of others, let’s learn not to use unkind or harsh words. Let’s learn to trust more and worry less. Let’s live with our arms wide open and accept people as they are not how we want them to be. Let’s be strong and courageous in the face of atrocity and let’s not give in to the temptation to retaliate. Let’s be the voice against injustice but not the swift hand of judgment. Let’s all believe the best in people and give people our best. Let’s be kind and generous instead of cold and calculating. Let’s realize that trouble is only a storm on the horizon and that it DOES pass. Let’s stop trying to be the best, richest, or most popular and simply try being the best person we can be. Let’s offer our hands to those less fortunate or in need and lift them up and not hold them down. Let’s notice the small things and see beauty in everything, no matter how hard it is. Let’s shut out the dark as much as we can and live in the light.
In closing, I would like to wish you all the very best for the New Year, and I hope that it’s filled with happiness, love and peace. I offer you one more thing before you go; a simple challenge. A friend recently shared a video of a homeless man who received $100 and used the money to share with other people in need. Imagine that. A man, down on his luck, with nothing to his name, suddenly gets a large sum of money and instead of seeing himself, he saw others. Why is it that the people with the least always seem to give the most? So my challenge you ask? Forget about the I, me, and mine and start thinking ours. This is not my world, it is OUR world. Start seeing your fellow man (woman and child) as more than just another person. We are the HUMAN RACE; we are all brothers and sisters in the same family. A strike against any of my brothers and sisters is a strike against me. If we stand together, we will be unbroken.
Love always is, and always will be, the answer.
Happy New Year Earth! Let’s make 2015 the very best it can be.
As always, sending you love and light