In this issue ~~
Moving into a new year is always a great time to reflect. In looking back on the year gone by, we've seen a continued pattern of economic ups and downs, fear of terrorism, war, natural disasters and personal challenges. With all of these individual and global stresses, it sometimes feels like each of us is holding up the weight of the world. We may feel powerless in the face of the seemingly overwhelming odds against us.
Life happens in cycles, with good periods and bad. While there are times when we have to grit our teeth and endure, as an eternal optimist, I always believe that things will get better. History will bear out that good does triumph over evil. At one point, it seemed impossible that the Cold War would end or the Berlin Wall would come down. But they did. In the same way, this "reign of terror" will one day be over.
Each of us can be a contributor to that process, in our own small way. The world is not changed by one person, but by all of us working together. We can each participate in the way that calls to us, whether it be working with a global organization or on a grass-roots level in our own families and communities.
One of my heroes is Nelson Mandela. Jailed in the midst of what seemed an endless period of apartheid in his country, Mandela never lost hope, nor compassion for his captors. He never succumbed to bitterness and resentment. Eventually, the unimaginable happened: apartheid ended, and miraculously, Mandela was elected the first black president of South Africa.
We can use Mandela's courage and humility as examples in our own lives. Mandela never lost the vision for what could be, despite the evidence to the contrary that was everywhere around him. He saw possibility and responded with understanding and kindness, rather than animosity and anger. We, too, can do that and become beacons of light for those in our own lives who feel lost in despair.
Here are some steps you can take to hold your own vision:
As we move into this new year, resolve to hold the vision for the world you would like to live in. If miracles can happen in South Africa, they can happen anywhere. Keep hope alive and share it with others, and let's pray that the new year brings us a step closer to that vision of world peace and love, as well as our personal dreams.
What one thing would you love to do that you've been avoiding out of fear? Do it! List 5 steps you can take toward that goal in the next 30 days, and then take them.
"As more people achieve some degree of mental calm, insight, or the ability to transform negative emotions into positive ones, there will be a natural reinforcement of basic human values and consequently a great chance for peace and happiness for all."
"I have heard it said that living out of our vision is more powerful than living out of our circumstance. Holding on to a vision invokes the circumstances by which the vision is achieved. Vision is content; material circumstances mere form."
"True hope dwells on the possible, even when life seems to be a plot written by someone who wants to see how much adversity we can overcome. True hope responds to the real world, to real life; it is an active effort."
"What we actually learn, from any given set of circumstances, determines whether we become increasingly powerless or more powerful."
(click on the book graphic to see a description at Amazon.com)
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