This is the first full week of 2010. As the New Year begins, I would like to extend best wishes for good health, an abundance of joy and prosperity to you all. I am excited about this new year – twenty ten! I love saying it: twenty ten! In March, twenty ten, my book will be published. This is exciting and important to me. It represents a goal, and the accomplishment of a goal to write a professional book – a practical resource on Appreciative Inquiry – that will serve people globally.
The decade beginning 2000 was a good decade for me. I married a wonderful human being in 2000; we have enjoyed great fun and a wide range of intensely pleasurable physical experiences; we have grown together and independently through many stimulating, engaging intellectual learnings; and we have both experienced deeply meaningful emotional times. We have traveled a lot and created a home we love. I am blessed in my relationship.
So, in this last decade, I have continued to change, as has the world around me. A dominant and exciting force that is enabling this rapid growth rate of change is social media. We have new and additional ways in which we communicate and connect with people and we have many more topics and stories to share. My sensitivity has been even more heightened as to how alike we really are across the globe. How vulnerable we all are, and how much more we can become together. I have been moved by so many stories shared in private and in public places – face-to-face, virtually, in books, on TV, in film. All my senses have been sharpened. For example, in Italy, I savored during and for months afterwards the landscape and the smells and sounds; the sensations and the tastes: I admired the art work and architecture and imagined what it was like when armies of ancient Rome traversed the land battled against the Carthaginians and the Gauls; I imagined the beauty of the Etruscans, even before the Romans, and then I imagined what life may have been like during the Renaissance when art and commerce flourished. History and culture revealing how peoples continue to shape the future and leave their legacies.
I experienced similar emotions and wonderings while traveling in India and visiting Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. My curiosity and interest is always aroused to learn how people get to where they are and what has shaped their current situation. What are their stories? My own birthplace, Australia, has untold stories that the land longs to share. The more stories we can hear of all peoples on this planet, the richer we all will be.
I love to find the themes and connect dots. What keeps coming up for me? My filtering system is constructed to find the beauty, the goodness and what truths endure across time and space. Horror and evil also endure across time and space. They co-exist. History and the arts are full of co-existence. The victories of love overcoming fear, and good overcoming evil and beauty overcoming horror is the human story.
I learned at Christmas time, a dear colleague, whom I haven’t communicated with since 2002 has Stage 4 cancer in her brain and has very little time left in her present form. Going about my business (busy-ness), I thought about her a lot, but didn’t call. After Christmas, I learnt her condition had worsened. I felt remorseful that I had not acted on my best intuition to call her when I wanted to. I actually feared I had missed my opportunity to let her know I cared for her. I had weak excuses, like a 14 hours time difference, Christmas was an awkward time, etc. etc. Finally, I did call and our conversation was truly meaningful. I also send the flowers I had been thinking about sending for four days. I decided that moving beyond thought to action would be my commitment to myself in 2010. To move beyond dreaming and thinking into action – action that serves others, and in doing so, serves me.
All plans can change. So when the world changes around you, what constants provide you with a sense of safety or equanimity that enables you to go on? The tiniest belief in oneself helps; some hope for a future; the support of others. I have been in that state, when I had no self-confidence, despaired of any future and indifferent to the support and love of others. How I’ve pulled myself out of such low points is my story and some parts of the dark story I am not proud of and some parts I am. I realize the parts I am proud of are when I found the inner strength to shift my perspective enough to make a different choice. Through the tears and the pain (both physical and emotional) I could sense a faint awareness that I wanted to feel/do something different. In such times, I open up enough find an inner resource that offers a glimmer of hope and possibility that I am willing to admit there is a different way and I will do something about it. I also believe that having experienced the intense discomfort of chemotherapy and radiation, that in the future, and if in a conscious state, when faced with death I can have the same experience. I will find an inner resource that offers a glimmer of hope and possibility that I am willing to admit there is a different way and I can find it. I know I will seek peace and love over fear.
What is your story? What victories, celebrations and joys have you experienced in the past decade? In telling your story, what have been highpoints of your first ten years in the 21st century? What will you remember with a smile on your face, a warmth in your gut, a tenderness in your heart? What are you most grateful for or even a little bit grateful for – personally and professionally? Who have you met in the past 10 years that has influenced your life in a good way? What have you done for others that you know has been of service to them? What thoughts may inspire you for action in 2010?