As I ended 2011 and now as I start 2012, the wonderful quote, "Be the change you want to see in the world," keeps rattling around inside my head.
What changes do I want to see in the world at large? And what changes, specifically, in my world? How can I "be" those changes?
I started to write about the big issues: peace vs. war, looming weather crises, jobs, and so forth - but I found that, while I care deeply about such things, they are overwhelming. I want to make my own little corner of Earth more life-affirming. If we all did that, maybe some of the bigger problems would solve themselves.
So, in my own little corner, ...
I can start using recyclable bags regularly when I shop. I don't know WHY I have such a hard time with this one. It's such a simple thing. I must have a dozen of the suckers, but I can't seem to remember to bring them inside with me when I go into a store to save myself! I CAN do better on this one, and every bit of plastic that doesn't get used leaves our planet just a little bit healthier.
I'd love to see more real discussion among friends and neighbors and community members about what we value in life, about directions we'd like to see our lives and communities taking. What gives us pleasure? (The local park? A walking path? An internet connected coffee shop?) Is earning more money going to make us happier? What is a fair wage anyway? What's the attraction of reality TV shows and who watches them and why? How do you provide maximum personal freedom while maintaining strong community ties? (For that matter, which of the two is more important?) Maybe I can start a local discussion group, open to anyone who wants to join in, where we discuss topics beyond the latest football scores or "what I did on my summer vacation"?
I'd like less stuff to care for. Short of the house burning down, that means sorting through 35+ years of possessions and winnowing them out, getting rid of what we're not using. I can organize our things and release those that we no longer need so that other people can put them to better use. In the old business parlance, that's a win-win!
Well, I think I'll stop. One totally realistic goal. One necessary goal that's harder to accomplish. And one somewhat pie-in-the-sky goal. Enough for this year. (I do, after all, want some chance of personal success here!)
I hope that 2012 finds us on the path to peace and understanding. May it be a year rich in caring and love.