Everyone I know of like-mind seems to celebrate the fact that we made it through 2017! I don’t remember any year in recent memory where our anxieties about our collective fate were so heightened. In 2017, we saw a year of intentional chaos, rude and obscene gestures, and threats of doom displayed on the national stage. Some of these gestures and statements brought to the forefront a reawakening of old belief systems that still remain in our consciousness. We may have denied that misogyny, racism, discrimination, disregard for the rule of law, noise, energetic invasion of our peace of mind were no longer part of who we are. But we observed events and statements that called forth these sensibilities. For example:

  • We saw a march with hundreds of white men with buzz haircuts carrying tiki torches, and shouting phrases that made us cringe.

  • We observed alleged child molesters bold enough to run for national office and dare all of us to excuse them from responsibility, and

  • We noted that we were being pushed to redefine diversity, with emphasis on finding ways to exclude some hyphenated American citizens—unless they were of European descent.

My stomach turns just listing the above and so I will stop here. But you get the gist.

I believe strongly that the intentional obscenities are designed to distract us from the truth of who we are.

I also believe that the majority of people are decent, loving, kind, and generous. We see these qualities and attributes daily in our respective communities. So, in light of this, I am confident that at some point in the near future, we may not be able to sit back and watch these obscenities evolve. We will, at one point in time, be ready to assert that we have had enough. So how do we resolve these issues without engaging in a direct combat? Going toe to toe with them, I think, will make them get louder and feel empowered to up their antics.

My answer is premised on Love. Yes, that love that we find in all teachings, across all cultures, all religions and spirituality: “Do unto others as you will do to yourself.” Self-love is a powerful tool to have in one’s arsenal especially when faced with adversity because:

  • You are able to stand up to bullying without fear.

  • You can compromise only from a position of integrity.

  • You understand what it means to trust inner knowing and follow it.

  • You can project your thoughts and perspective with confidence.

  • You can discern the truth as situations develop. The above list represents the first line of defense to create a sacred space, where you process your next best plan of action. The second line of defense is bringing the inner sense of being and qualities to serve others—family, friends, community, and neighbors. Service to others does not mean submission, but rather an empowering mechanism to light the way for others. I believe that it is our altruism that makes us god-like.

The Golden Rule states that “we should love our neighbor as ourselves.” Why is the sentiment relevant today? In my community-building consulting, I assert the concept that we are all on this journey together. There is no room for “us versus them.” In what I trademarked “The Ubuntu Effect,” we only progress as a whole. Ubuntu means “I Am Because We Are,” and this idea is at the root of every community growth and success. The concept is essential to developing and sustaining harmonious, healthy, and prosperous communities.

In my opinion, this is where we find power to move mountains and this is one of the tools we can use to diffuse this wave of anxiety and unpleasant energetic control of our sensibilities. The spiritual teachings underscore that:

  • “Only what is loving is true.” Love supersedes darkness always, and I find this situation of anxiety and uncertainty to be temporary. Love will prevail.

  • There’s no separation between us—you, me us, them—so what we give to others, we give to ourselves. In other words, what we take from others, we take from ourselves. The Akan people in Ghana have a maxim: They will not accord you ten if you will not accord your neighbor nine.” This is universal law, and it works like a charm: If you want to receive, you must first give.

Giving love to our neighbors in words, action, and deeds is what I think will shift us back to where we need to be on our journey towards a peaceful, loving, and prosperous existence in 2018 and beyond.

Happy New Year, my friends!