There is always a pause to review the past year and assign a grade. 2020 is being trashed as the worst year in living memory. So much pain, suffering, and so much loss of life to COVID-19. We as a species have been going through a traumatic experience. That’s important to acknowledge.
But don’t blame it on 2020!
This labeling of segments of time, whether a day, a week, a month, or a year, takes us out of the present moment and disempowers us. We become time’s victim. “I’m having a bad day,” we might say. Having labeled the day as bad, now there’s no hope for it, right? Might as well climb back into bed and pull the covers over our head. Or how about “I got up on the wrong side of the bed and now this day is shot.” The day labeled as ‘bad’ has no room to turn ‘good’. We just have to drag ourselves through it and hope for a better tomorrow. But what have we really thrown away? Our own power to be fully alive in each moment, a moment in which we stand at the pivotal center of our life, able to choose our next action. The mental habit of labeling time can be very destructive. And it’s not rooted in reality. It’s a delusion!
What is time? In nature, there are patterns of sunlight and darkness as the earth turns on its axis and rotates around the sun. As far as we can tell, all other species live fully in the moment, in rhythm with these patterns. But humans thought up a system of labeling linear time in order to track events, tell collective stories, coordinate getting together, and relatively recently settling on universal clock time to schedule trains, planes, etc. It is a useful agreement we made as a human community. But it is just an agreement.
Instead of appreciating clock time for the convenience it provides, we perceive it as a solid reality, as if we are all on this timeline that stretches into the distant past and distant future. Stop and think about how you perceive your own lifespan and world history. Is it a line? If so, which way does it run as you visualize it? How does it fit with the ever changing complex web of life?
As we approach January 1, 2021 can we recognize how arbitrary the choice of date is? In Great Britain and its American colonies, the new year was celebrated on March 25th until 1752!
But here we are, still ‘stuck’ in 2020, a year that shall be remembered for a pandemic. So very sorry to say, the pandemic doesn’t end at the stroke of midnight on December 31st. How long COVID continues and how many more lives it takes depends on each of us recognizing our power in each moment. The power to make wise choices, to care for our own well being and the lives of others.
So don’t blame 2020. It’s just a number, a label, an idea. Awaken to this moment in every moment! Live each moment with awareness and compassion for yourself and for all beings.
And, oh yes, Happy New Year!