Celebrating life despite the challenges, uncertainties in the year ahead
By Yuet Mee Ho-Nambiar
As we approach the New Year, how do we greet it after experiencing one with so much challenges? How do we welcome it – as it is expected to be fraught with so much uncertainties? How do we navigate our future? How do we live and love through our fears? How do we raise our sights and lift our souls?
Truth be told, there is much to be in despair about in the world today. It seems to me that to wish a cheery new year greeting seems almost disconnected with our current reality. But as we work through events around us — and do what we can to make our families, neighbourhoods, communities, nation, and planet a safe place for all beings — surely it is equally important to celebrate the beauty of life and express our gratitude for it.
And so turning to sages among us:
I felt elevated by the choices Rumi made:
Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
And am comforted by Brother David Steindl-Rast’s deep wisdom and sense of gratitude to remind us what’s truly important:
You think this is just another day in your life.
It’s not just another day;
it’s the one day that is given to you today. It’s given to you.
It’s a gift. It’s the only gift that you have right now,
and the only appropriate response is gratefulness.
If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is, if you learn to respond as if it were the first day of your life, and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.
Begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes you can open,
that incredible array of colours that is constantly offered to us for pure enjoyment.
Look at the sky. We so rarely look at the sky. We so rarely note how different it is from moment to moment with clouds coming and going. We just think of the weather, and even of the weather we don’t think of all the many nuances of weather. We just think of good weather and bad weather. This day right now has unique weather, maybe a kind that will never exactly in that form come again. The formation of clouds in the sky will never be the same that it is right now.
Open your eyes. Look at that.
Look at the faces of people that you meet. Each one has an incredible story behind their face, a story that you could never fully fathom, not only their own story, but the story of their ancestors. We all go back so far. And in this present moment on this day all the people you meet, all that life from generations and from so many places all over the world, flows together and meets you here like a life-giving water, if you only open your heart and drink.
Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to us. You flip a switch and there is electric light. You turn a faucet and there is warm water and cold water — and drinkable water. It’s a gift that millions and millions in the world will never experience.
So these are just a few of an enormous number of gifts to which you can open your heart.
And so I wish for you that you would open your heart to all these blessings and let them flow through you, that everyone whom you will meet on this day will be blessed by you; just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch — just by your presence.
Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you,
and then it will really be a good day.
And this Baha’i quote gives me hope:
It is a shining light which, in a dark world, leads the way and guides
So today, I choose to ask myself this question: This day, and every day, what might it mean for me to celebrate the beauty of life and express our gratitude for it?
And so dear ones, Happy New Year 2022. May all of us have a safer, more peaceful and happier New Year.
Guided by personal ethics of ‘do more good’, Yuet Mee Ho-Nambiar has a long involvement with sustainability and community building activities. Belief in the oneness of humanity and the nobility of man underpins her interest in matters relating to unity and social cohesion of communities, while her background in a finance-related profession focuses her interest to the area of inclusive economics and development.
The views expressed here are that of the writer’s and not necessarily that of Weekly Echo’s.
Editor’s note: Please check out the Have Hope Exchange at https://havehope2.blogspot.com/ The site provides information on essential needs and services during this period of need.