In the aftermath of a turbulent year where the global challenges do not automatically end with the simple ticking over to a new number, from 2020 to 2021, hoping for a better world and a brighter future is not enough. We must take action. As we collectively move along the path less travelled and face an unknown future for the individual and the world at large we hope for a light on the horizon and a healing of a much battered world. It is time to initiate a new beginning and firmly look life and the future in the eye under revised conditions. There is no going back. The new world order is here to stay also because we have been deeply affected on a psychological level ̶ or, as has been said in yoga terms, there has been “a tectonic shift to our psyche”.
Opting for a slower pace, we take the spiritual insights from the year that changed it all with us into the new year but politically people rise more boldly to the occasion ̶ for better or worse. While some of us look at the oft quoted saying “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” as an indication that we should seek out new opportunities and let positivity and optimism be our guiding stars, others go to radical extremes that sees them jeopardize the safety of an entire nation at a time when COVID is doing its parallel work very effectively; still relentlessly claiming lives all over.
Only a week into a new year that we looked forward to in quiet trepidation, a vicious attack on an iconic neoclassical building overlooking the capital territory and its citizens and symbolic of democracy, law and order, has entered contemporary history. The crisis surrounding the 6 January siege has sent shock waves throughout the world. In disbelief we watch footage from the US Congress being brutally invaded, defamed and ̶ in all honesty given the almighty character of the place from a legislative perspective ̶ desecrated by irate mobs approaching the building as if they were one erratic body, scaling the walls like single-minded zombies. The horror and mayhem translate not only into mere images on a screen; a sight we can turn off when it becomes too much to handle. The nightmare is real and in our face. The terror of 9/11 was not enough, this time the threat is from within and the attack shakes the very foundation of US democracy. History repeats itself yet the world today is not the same. If 2020 was the year when police brutality triggered the global reminder that Black Lives Do Matter, in the initial stages of 2021 the Police opted for a more “gentle” or less invasive approach as control was finally restored post chaos and frenzy (the protesters can count their lucky star they are not black, and I say this with a sigh).
As fiction once more merges with reality we must take a stand against evil. It often takes real horror for real change to come about. And life really does begin at the end of our comfort zone. It did as the world came together in support of human rights with the shaking up of society after the brutal and senseless killing of George Floyd, and it will in the aftermath of the attack on democracy from within. 2021 is quickly becoming the year of standing up against white supremacy and the breaking of blind faith in a leader increasingly unfit for the role. We have begun a year of cleaning up, of opposing fury and hatred, of choosing good over evil, of healing wounds and bridging gaps. With the vaccine against a pandemic being rolled out as we speak, I wonder: Can we likewise vaccinate the world against malaise, turn the page and proceed in the right direction?