It's interesting and strange how talk of New Year's resolutions puts my stomach in a twist. As if life may be imporoved by losing unwanted weight or making good on the promise to yourself to take that watercolor class. Some people greeted the year with a cancer diagnosis. Or the loss of a job. Or are entering their third year of unemployment since the 2008 crash that is still sending economic reverberations around the globe. Some people face 2012 after the loss of a child, or, with a sick child. Others may be in the process of bankruptcy, divorce, or trying to deal with a seemingly unending pile of personal debt--related to any and all of the above. My point isn't to make you feel badly if you don't have similar problems; it's to simply raise awareness that not everyone can sparkle and shine with the newness of the New Year. Much like every holiday, the New Year suffers under the weight of the contiuing cultural discourse of distraction. Distraction is a proven economic motivator. Apple's "i" products are a great example.
The iPad 3 will be release between February and March 2012; the next newest iPhone--not the recently released iPhone 4S, but the iPhone 5--will be released in fall. These products will cost anywhere between $300-$700...not exactly a drop in the proverbial buccket. Or at least, it shouldn't be. But every Apple store from coast to coast to coast will have L-O-N-G lines of people practically begging to give hundreds upon hundreds to Apple for the latest "must-have" gadget...or, DISTRACTION.
Why distraction? Because it's easier than trudging through the deep sands in the desert of the "real." Things are bad. Very bad. Japan was hit with an unprecedented 9.0 earthquake in 2011; the quake caused ruptures in their nuclear power plants. The tsunami-sized waves that joined in the destruction along Japan's coasts destroyed homes, and people's lives along with them. People died in the quake. Many more were injured. And the rest were left to clean up, living in the nuclear fall-out, the radiation from which has a half-life of one-thousand years. A crystal ball dropped by Lady Ga-Ga at midnight isn't going to help Japan in 2012. But it did help you...to forget.
A recent call about the passing of a friend's parent started off with "Hate to be a Debbie-downer BUT...." Why the apologetic reference? Because humans, in their continued interest in distraction from reality, don't like to hear "bad" news; it's a "downer." Puts a harsh on your mellow. Well, isn't that too bad. You don't want to hear, or even talk about, difficulty because it makes you sad? Pathetique, as the French would say. People make fun of the French for their political swings with popular opinion, but the French are actually an evolved culture. Enjoying life, or "joie de vivre", is an integral part of French philosophy. And somehow, the French still manage to deal with death as part of life--"c'est la vie"--despite having distractions far richer than the latest tech gadget that will be outmoded within 12 months. Look at their wines, cheeses, breads and pastries, art and architecture, long expanses of mediterranean beach, fields of lavendar, and of course, Paris. It's no wonder famous authors like Hemingway spent time there. French life is a truly full life. Which is in sharp contrast to the celebrity-focused, rather vapid American sensibility that values appearance above all else, willingly investing in turn-over technology that implies spending thousands every year just to have what everyone wants...it's wasteful. And it's no wonder that we live in The Wasteland.
No matter how much we all wish, hope and dream 2012 to be "better," "peaceful," "healthy," "whole"...we will, inevitably, be disappointed. Wishing doesn't make things real, despite what The Secret says. You know what will? Hard work. Putting our collective noses to the grindstone. Valuing things below the surface might be a good start. Which is exactly why it will never happen. In another twelve months, people will be singing the same songs, pretending that anything is possible if you just believe. Disney World is a fiction. Fairy dust isn't real. And there are no lost boys who never age and know how to fly. We need a revolution for change. Not a political revolution. Not a technical revolution. A psychological revolution--one that ripples through society in an unprecedented way. One that, in its greatness, will transform the way humanity interacts with not just each other, but with the Universe itself.
I know. Tall order. But I'm only 5'4" tall and still managed to have a son one-full-foot taller, so have high expectations. Do you???
There's a saying about how even an eagle can be a chicken, never learning how to soar, if it's raised in the barnyard eating feed with the other chickens. That's not true. An eagle will always fly; and chickens will never look up.
Which one are you?
You all have my best wishes for 2012:
Be introspective. Learn and take complete part in the process and pride of true inquiry. Seek good health by using your body at least one hour a day, everyday. Go out into the sunshine as much as you can. Learn how to meditate. Find a good therapist. And get rid of the cigarettes, soda, and processed foods. Open your mind. Let your heart follow. And then, perhaps, 2012 will not just be a good year, it will be GREAT.
Happy new year....