The passing of one year to the next seems to be more fraught than usual this time around. Am I the only one who has picked up that a lot of people seem to be angry at 2016? Instead of just welcoming the New Year with hope and expectation, a big bunch of people seem to be kicking 2016 right out the door. And slamming it shut.
Yes, it has been a tough year on many counts. As a lover of popular music I have been flabbergasted by the heroes that have fallen in 2016: Bowie, Haggard, Prince, Cohen, Leon Russell, Maurice White and Sharon Jones just to mention a very few.
The Brits lost their mind for a moment and left the European Union. The Indian government eighty-sixed 86% of the country’s currency notes overnight, sending ripples of chaos and bother throughout the economy. The war in Syria got messier and, if possible, more cruel. And then, of course, there was the horrendously awful American election result.
All good reasons to be bitter and twisted about 2016.
But was it really all THAT bad?
This morning a friend posted an article on Facebook with nearly 100 reasons to rejoice in the year just passed. In every area of human endeavour, 2016 was full of things worthy of getting excited about, such as: global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels did not grow at all in 2016. It’s the third year in a row emissions have flatlined!
And this: in July, more than 800,000 volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in one day. The country is planning on reforesting 12% of its land.
And this: Wild wolves started coming back to Europe, and for the first time since the American Revolution, wild salmon began spawning in the Connecticut River.
The article is full of things to feel good about being alive in 2016. And it prompted my own reflections on what has made 2016 an amazing year.
In no particular order, here are just five fabulous things that happened in my mini-Universe in the past 12 months.
- A dear friend found love again. After his wife and best friend of 30 years passed away in 2014 all reasons to get up in the morning seemed to disappear. His three elderly kids (and the family dog) were a great support to him, but they were young and full of their own plans and dreams. I tried to support him as best I could over Skype but he was truly down in the dumps About three months ago he was so low I wondered if he was going to pull through. Just before Christmas we connected again and he was a different man. He sported a new moustache. His face glowed. And he could hardly contain his joy as he told me of how a woman was back in his life!
- I lost 8 kilos. Around the middle of the year I decided to start walking to get a bit of fresh air. I wanted time to think and listen and talk to myself. Within days I was hooked. The hour is filled with delightful sounds of birdcalls and gentle breezes off the Yarra River. The endless drama of tiny wild flowers that pop up for a couple of weeks before giving way to another cohort of a different shape and colour is something I look forward to each day. I’ve made friends with all sorts of trees along the way, too. When I get home I’m inevitably feeling high and more optimistic and hopeful than when I left. And I’ve managed to get rid of some weight that for years seemed intractable. Brilliant!
- I’ve discovered the teachings of Abraham, Robert Spira, Alan Watts, Neville Goddard and Papaji. A diverse bunch of thinkers and teachers to be sure. From Indian gurus to Caribbean kabalists, English mystics and the very voice of the Universe itself, these five teachers are responsible for blowing my mind. Though they are as different as chalk and cheese in their delivery and personal styles their teachings are essentially One. That Consciousness is all there is. That the Invisible is the real reality. That the purpose of Life is to be joyful. That struggle is a waste of time.
- The music of Burkina Faso. A sensational 3 disc box set of ‘Voltaic’ (as in Upper Volta, the name of the country before it became Burkina Faso) music for Christmas contains some of the most moving and exciting African sounds I’ve heard in years.
- A successful business. After 12 months of hard work, trial and error, set-backs and a steep learning curve, our home business is well and truly in the air. We’re still climbing to cruising altitude but the view is already breathtaking. It appears we have, in fact, transitioned out of the old ‘job’ paradigm to something far more empowering, satisfying and financially rewarding. Hurrah!
If 2017 is merely as good as 2016, it is going to be a ripper!