Looking backward, looking forward, on the last week of 2016

For me this last week of the year is always an introspective time, a time to take stock of the year just past, and set goals for the year coming in.

I’ve gone through other rough years in the past, but I’ve never experienced a year quite like 2016.

The long list of 2016 celebrity deaths (will Carrie Fisher be the last to go this year?) has put many of us in what seems to be a perpetual state of mourning, the passing of each beloved celebrity a way of channeling the deeper grieving we are carrying for so many unnecessary deaths in the wars, shootings, and terrorist strikes of 2016.

And then there is the pervasive grief I feel every day for the relentless destruction of the natural world, as human greed cuts and digs and blazes its way around the globe.

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Looking back, there’s a tendency to cast blame. If only the Democrats had not been so blind to Hillary’s deficits. If only Bernie had run as an Independent. If only the Republicans hadn’t fielded such a moronic bunch of losers. If only, if only. That list could go on and on, and not just in the political realm.

The only use of looking backward is to learn from past mistakes and try to do better going forward, so that history doesn’t repeat.

That’s easy to say, not easy to do, especially when we’re living through times when it seems that all our worst dystopian science fictions are coming true.

There seems to be little to look forward to in 2017, in terms of a brighter future. All the political and environmental indicators are pointing to a continuing slide towards the abyss of totalitarianism, militarism and climate chaos with their accompanying loss of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—not just for Americans, not just for humans, but for all Earth denizens.

img_0495But here we sit on the precious isthmus of time between Christmas and New Year’s, a quiet, dark time when we can pull back from the rush of events and think more deeply about where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we are going.

Our daily choices and habits of mind add up to a mighty river of human activity and awareness. Especially now, in our era of networked human consciousness, what we do—and even what and how we think—matters.

If you could press “rewind” and do 2016 over again, what would you do differently?

But since we get no second chances with the past, here’s a better, more pressing question:

What do you resolve to do differently in 2017?

It’s important to take some time to disconnect from the flood of incoming information, the parties, the glitter, the regrets, the anger and the fear—to ponder the way forward.

I ask myself, and I extend the question to you, too: what will you do in the coming days and months to make Winter Solstice 2017 a more positive time for yourself, those around you, and the precious planet we call home?

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  1. Looking backward, looking forward, on the last week of 2016 | eafinct

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