I want to start this year by wishing you a happy 2022. May it be a good year!
When I say that, I hear some of you saying, but it’s not over. The pandemic is still with us. How can it be good? I can hear my rational self-cautioning my hopeful self that the world is in a precarious place. Inflation is rising, supply chain issues are not yet solved, no one of significance has gone to jail for the riots last year, and the Zondo commission is unlikely to yield any results to fight corruption in our society. How can we possibly have a good year?
Yet, there is a tiny bubble of hope in my chest. It’s threatening to rise, to bubble up and burst across my face into a smile. I simply feel more hopeful. More certain of good things than I have in a while. There are green shoots. Perhaps my holiday rest is the reason for my optimism, my anticipation of good things.
Perhaps it’s time that we allow that bubble of optimism, the anticipation of good things to spread? If we’re too scared to even hope for good things to come our way, or to work towards good things happening for us, how can our lives possibly turn out good? If we start with a filter of looking out for the bad, the terrible, the sorry tales, might we miss the goodness we’re experiencing every day? Why is it that even when we are experiencing goodness, we cannot allow ourselves to fully experience it, fully allow ourselves to acknowledge the goodness? Especially in South Africa. When we hear good news, I often hear how we cannot allow ourselves to forget all the bad things in our country. Why can we not allow ourselves to just celebrate wins without marring them with reminders of the problems we still face?
Perhaps it is also time that we realise that the pandemic, the government, global inflation, or the state of financial markets cannot be the only determinants, or pre-conditions, of whether our lives are good. Yes, it’s more difficult to lead good lives in the long term when the government messes up, or food prices keep rising, but most of us (readers of this blog) don’t even know the price of bread. There is plenty of room to notice or create goodness in our lives. Most goodness is free. They’re in our families holding hands around the table at night, in dancing to a good tune while cooking dinner, they’re in turning your face to the glory of a clear summer’s day or rushing into the ocean for a cold-water wake-up or having a warm conversation with an Uber driver about the goodness in our country.
Goodness is a jealous life partner – it won’t show up for you if you’re having an illicit affair with a sinister mistress. It can stare you in the face, but you may not even recognise it. I see this sometimes with clients who have enough money to fund several lifespans, and fund the best lives possible, but who choose to focus on what is wrong with the world. Or alternatively, some who may not have enough (yet), but live the most extraordinary lives, in breath-taking places, but cannot appreciate it because of their ostensible lack of money. The worldwide pursuit of perfection, across all areas of life as a prerequisite for the appreciation of goodness, is preventing us from appreciating the goodness right in front of us.
To experience goodness, we must first anticipate it, look out for it, plan, and work towards it and then allow ourselves to experience it fully, and acknowledge the experience with gratitude.
So, when we then wish each other at the start of this year, let’s open ourselves to goodness coming our way. It’s going to be a good year!
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//21 January 2022