As we enter this Christmas and New Year period after such a strange, tumultuous, fearful and divisive year, what we need is more peace of mind, mindful gratitude and resilience to recharge to better face whatever may happen in 2021. Was 2020 a crazy year or what? Many of us suddenly had a barrage of stresses thrust upon us on multiple fronts. Many of us lost the financial security of our jobs and income, had to deal with adapting to school closures, social isolation for ourselves and our children and the difficulties of online learning/work, being restricted to enclosed environments for long stretches of time, loss of our freedom to travel - even locally, even lost relationships over political and ideological division. Some of us might have lost a bit of our sanity and health through all the constant fear, paranoia, psychological, social, emotional stress of these lockdowns.
Yet on reflection we gained some things too (and I don’t just mean weight), like quality time with our loved ones and for ourselves. Maybe we came to realise just how far we had drifted apart from those supposedly close to us and how little we actually were communicating with each other. Not surprising considering whatever little time we had together after daily with work/school, travel, household responsibilities, technological and other distractions etc. In this enforced lockdown maybe we got to know our neighbours a little bit better, did more gardening, or formed better social communities online, maybe we educated ourselves more on areas we never had time for, or pursued old hobbies? Maybe we disciplined ourselves more and did more quality Tai Chi practice and other mindful exercises?
Whichever you spent your time, it looks like this COVID19 situation isn’t going away anytime soon so finding more peace of mind & joy, which means that you will be better to yourself and to the world; is a very constructive & resilient way forward. According to “The Buddha’s Guide to Gratitude” by Becca Anderson, (2019) Mango Publishing. One way to find joy is to:
- Be the best that you can be according to your own standards.
- Be with people who make you feel good and inspire you.
- Be thankful & mindful of what you have and not what you don’t have.
- Genuinely smile often.
- Be honest with yourself and with others.
- Help other people.
- Be proud of your past, live in the present, and look forward to the future.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Lee Chang Tye
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