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Happy New Year, then and now

20 years ago, the world faced an interesting challenge: the millennium. Apparently, some software programs could not handle the technical shift from 1999 to the year 2000. It was the result of programmers saving space by shortening year dates to 2 digits—99 instead of 1999. I distinctly remember the fear and the media buzzing about the possibilities of pending disaster. Electronics of all kinds would stop working, planes would fall from the sky, people would die. I was amazed how this projection of tragedy spread so quickly. As one headline suggested, "Are we headed for a global Y2K crisis?" I spoke to someone in a store who said he was going to go camping out in the hills for a couple weeks over the new year to remain safe.

Meanwhile, there were many who did not feel or focus on the possibility of gloom and doom but they didn’t get the air time. I was in that camp because, like today, I believe the pandemic is ushering in a time of tremendous change. It’s extending a hand across the globe encouraging partnerships to address common issues.

Twenty years ago I wrote (Y2k is Time to Celebrate Possibilities, Honolulu Star-Bulletin 1999) about some of the challenges we had faced—triumphantly—in the previous decades. We had walked on the moon, brought down the Berlin Wall, found the Titanic, peered into distant galaxies, cured the incurable, and put an unbelievable amount of information on a tiny computer chip. We had done the impossible! We deserved more trust.

I wrote that there was a stream of negativity out there that, if we're not careful, would drag us off into a field of hopelessness. When we feed the fear and fear the worst, we turn away from the goodness we seek. Truth is, that goodness — kind acts, thoughtful words and deeds, expressions of love — is everywhere, all the time. We can choose to see it, receive it and share it. It's like tossing a pebble into a pond: our expression, whether positive or negative, reaches out into our world. If more people focus their awareness on what's good and possible, negative statistics will decrease. It’s not magic. It’s math. The more we focus on what we want to see in the world, the more our environment changes. People feel safer, are kinder to each other. That kindness, which may have started from you, comes back to you. A circle of life. Energy in motion.

Back then it was about crossing over into a new millennium—a transition in man-made time. Today, regardless of how you feel about the pandemic and other global challenges, it’s encouraging us to question our health, our outlook, and level of trust. It’s calling us to stand up for what we believe in while respecting other’s right to do the same. It’s begging us to listen, see, and understand. It’s a huge lesson in opposites because while we wait for updates, follow the guidelines, and make lots of adjustments we can also be encouraging, nurturing and celebrating all that's right in the world. We can still appreciate others' spirit, potential, creativity, and resoursefulness. Look around and know we are surrounded by some amazing people, doing some amazing things. Believe in solutions, for belief is what helps us find them. Imagine the wealth of opportunities just around the corner.

Some didn’t understand my attitude back then, but they didn’t know that my positive outlook was because I had been to the "dark side." I lived in an environment filled with fear, which led to a focus only on surviving the terror: compromising, hiding, pretending, and going along with whatever they wanted while hoping they would change and that the madness would stop—day after day. So I know that being fear-full only creates more fear. It’s a survival mode that requires constant vigilance as a form of protection from potential harm. If we stay alert, we’ll see it coming and, therefore, be ready to take protective action. The problem with that is we can easily divert all of our attention away from that which is good, joyful, and magical to staring at the locked door to make sure no one comes in—ever!

I've learned that the way to get through difficult times is to believe that you have the strength to do so. Expecting things to turn out badly doesn't save us from bad things. But always expecting the worst will ensure something is found to validate that expectation.

Today we face a different kind of global challenge but the answer is the same. Recognize the issue (covid-19, social justice, political divisiveness), identify what you can and are willing to do (follow the guidelines, be part of the solution, vote, get involved), and do it! ALSO remember to refocus on what’s right in the world. Notice the kindness, acknowledge the caring, share your knowledge/gifts, be there for those you care about. Because those actions are the ones that will empower us as a nation and a world. Imagine if THIS IS just the beginning of a new world, one of unparalleled opportunity, one with the potential to ride the pendulum as it swings to the other side into a glorious state of harmony. You don't really have to imagine because that opportunity is already here.

As I said, I’ve been to the dark side. It’s not a place you want to stay. And I can tell you with absolute certainty that, while we might focus on the fear and lack, the love and abundance is still there, just waiting to be noticed, received, and shared.

20 years ago, and for a short time, we were absorbed with another ‘end of the world’ story that did not materialize. What if we had looked at it differently? What might have manifested if we believed, absolutely, in each other and maintained a focus on what we could do to ease that transition, while remaining mindful of the opportunities presented (because there are always opportunities), and acted with trust in the greater good? Hmmm…. What if we did that now?

In love and light,

Debbie Jenae

Why the sunflower? Because, according to a story on CNN, the Thompson Family of the Thompson Strawberry Farm in Wisconsin decided, this year 2020 , to plant more than 2 million sunflowers in their fields as a way to bring a little more happiness to their customers. Plus it was a great way to social distance and bring a smile. The response was overwhelming and their walk-through flower fields is an idea that will continue long after the pandemic.

See the good, be the light, be inspired!

Image source: Pixabay

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