“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” is how one of the most famous works of literature begins. Charles Dickens tapped into a deep well of truth in his opening paragraph of A Tale of Two Cities. When I revisited the book as an adult, I was taken with the poetry and power which goes far beyond these first twelve words.
The first few months of 2020 have felt this “best and worst” way to some people and others have seen “the worst of times” overshadow much of the light in their lives. Others say “worst times? What worst times?”
In the beginning of any month, I enjoy reflecting on the month before it – but here in the wearied “worst of times” that come with 2020, I have spent time reflecting on the bests and the worsts.
Many of the worsts this year are universals: we are living through a worldwide pandemic, something that hasn’t been experienced at this level since 1918 with the Spanish Flu.
Here in the United States, we have also come face-to-face with systemic racism – nearly all Americans are more aware and are diligently addressing our shortcomings, addressing the biases which run our lives outside of our everyday view. I am one of the people who used to say “I am color blind” and “I see everyone the same” which I didn’t understand is inherently problematic.
The “Best of Times” in my life are the ones which make me smile the widest.
I will begin with a smaller smile, perhaps coupled with humility.
I am smiling to see healing – and to participate in the positive shift I see happening across the planet. It will take time to get to our destination, and even with all the darkness we have experienced, I can see and feel the seeds of healing.
My personal “best of time” moments occurred both before and during the Pandemic.
- In February, Emma and I visited Flagstaff to see my parents, a trip I had hoped for since the previous Spring. I always meant to go by myself, but as the time drew closer, I invited Emma along and I am so grateful I did.
- In mid-March right after the Stay in Place order in California happened, I started something called “Coffee and Intentional Conversations” which I saw as a way to “hang out on a coffee date with friends” virtually, every day. I had no idea how long any of this would last – and I knew having a connection point would help me and it might help others. It did both of these things. Recently we minimized our group to meet twice weekly, but the connections of the women have been astounding.
- I am continuing to go strong with my goal to write a haiku and post it daily – This morning I am on Day 191/377. Each day before noon I post a photo and a poem on my personal facebook page (it has held me accountable) and what a time to be documenting life as it unfolds. Lately I have written more angry poems, but oftentimes the poems focus on the beauty around me. It is important, I believe, to address and stay alive for all of life, not only the areas you are most comfortable addressing. After all, the more comfortable we get with being uncomfortable, the more we will expand our effectiveness and courage.
If you are interested in exploring 2020 from a refreshed perspective, you may want to consider joining the Refresh2020 initiative which is a Pop Up Initiative for Reflection, Intention and Activation that will begin on July 9 and last for 3 weeks.
How have you fared in 2020 so far?
Julie JordanScott facilitates The Bridge to the New Year initiative which includes sharing insights at the end of the year as well as intending and planning for the New Year. Because 2020 has been different than the norm for all of us, we are offering #Refresh2020, a 3 Week Pop Up group which will include reflection through creativity and a private facebook group for interaction and engagement as we explore the impact of the first six months of 2020 and how to continue to move forward, with love as the year continues.