If past is prologue, what does it portend for 2022? A year of magical thinking, or [another] annus horribilis? Will it be a time for Champagne, or Rescue Remedy?!
Before we take our first steps in this NEW new year, I reflect for a moment on the love of a giant, courage, bad actors, abundance, fire-shitters, fellow feeling and respair as signposts from the past that could take our journeys one way; or the other.
I have no sponsors, and I only speak from my own experience and observations. My voice is one that recognises both the amazing and the awful realities of life here on our planet-home, but always with an abiding belief that each sunrise brings opportunities and renewal – especially for the pessimists, the baggage carriers, the injured and the oldest amongst us. 2021 was a year dominated by what the French call la douleur exquise – exquisite pain. Let all of us make a concerted effort to live lighter – both in spirit and in material wants.
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I’m taking solace from the fact that we have had giants in our recent past, and no one more gigantic than our recently departed Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
In his own words; “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
From this Giant’s life we have the enduring example of the power of his love – for his country, for the rights of man, for human dignity, for all of humanity. Let’s embrace it in this new New Year.
Bob Geldof, founder of the charity super-concert Live Aid, had this to say on Tutu’s passing; “I am lucky that in my life I knew Desmond Tutu, one of the greatest men of our time. This tiny giant, this impish little priest, had the dangerously insane courage of the gods.” It would benefit all of us to girdle ourselves with ‘insane courage’ for the year ahead.
Unfortunately the recent past is also jam-packed with bad actors – Victor Orban, aspiring democracy killer in Hungary; Bolsanaro, climate rapist in Brazil, and Zuma, who wrote the book on State Capture. And then there is Trump, pussy-grabber and bad actor in a class of his own. All of them showed us how a nightmare scenario may become reality.
Just think about Trump - US presidents often overthrow foreign governments. Trump was the first to try to overthrow his own, thereby redefining the banana republic concept.
Don’t allow bad actors to play their parts in 2022. Have mercy on the future.
My wise 87-year old father-in-law, Bill Taylor, the man behind the iconic ‘Them Stones’ advertising campaign, says ABUNDANCE is the most precious commodity that we can take with us into the future. He sent me this, ‘there is richness for each one of us’, quote:
“Abundance is about being rich, with or without money.” – Suze Orman
FIRE-SHITTER or FELLOW FEELING
The English dictionary has two very interesting words from yesteryear, resurrected for the time of coronavirus and the open questions of 2022.
The first one is ‘fire-shitter’ [one who loves to pass comment on subjects they know nothing about and a blustering braggart – literally a ‘fire-shitter’]. Unfortunately I know some of them.
There is another word, which will altogether be of more value in this, our new year. How about sharing some ‘fellow feeling’ – 16th-century speak for kindness and compassion?
I am going to embrace fellow feeling and leave the fire-shitters to burn themselves down. Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 has some words of positivity for this new year;
“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
Finally I have a one-word flag to fly in 2022. From the Oxford English Dictionary comes the word ‘Respair’, first listed in 1525. Its definition is sublime. Respair is fresh hope; a recovery from despair. May 2022 finally be its moment.