My fire crackles in the grate, its warmth creating the cosy atmosphere in which I can easily and gently reflect on the year just past.
The energy of this New Year 2017 is yet in its infancy and Christmas decorations still adorn the doors, windows and shelves of our home. There is always a certain hesitancy in letting this go, as the child in me still holds on to the magic and potential of the ‘Season of Good Will’. Reflecting now on that last phrase I ponder on the need to make all of the year one of ‘Good Will’ too. Perhaps I can start here by making it so in the World that I inhabit and then spreading the message out there far and wide.
In numerological terms this 2017 is a year of New Beginnings and Fresh Starts. At least that is what the potential of it can hold. Much like the start of any New Year, however, this year feels charged with a deeper sense of stepping out there and not letting opportunities go by. A sense of New Adventures coloured with the amazing hue of new people, new places and new experiences to connect with. I can feel the excitement already with the promise of ‘This is the Year of Real Change’.
I feel this not just for my own life but for the wider World too. The winds of change have blown hard for many of our lives over the past years and also on a bigger scale across the World. However, lest I get into the ebbs and flows of what may beset us in this year ahead in the Western World. I also want to remind myself and all of you reading this, that, pain and suffering is nothing new to billions of people on this planet who are born into appalling poverty and hunger and who know nothing of comfort, warmth, shelter and do not have the luxury to reflect as I am doing right now from cosy firesides.
Even after the major financial crash of 2008, the Western World by and large for most people still operates from a place of comfort. Those caught up in the impact of austerity and life changing circumstances through loss of jobs and homes even with the growing numbers of people homeless, can go in the main unnoticed by the majority of people whose lives have not been at the brunt of cutbacks and have suffered little if any financial losses.
In 2017 may we not let the get out phrase ‘We are all in this together’ from the political corridors of power be tolerated. Because the catastrophe of the recession and ongoing wars, with their shocking consequences on the everyday lives of ordinary men, women and children will never be solved by those who created them They neither have the wit or the will to do so and, with their lives bathed in privilege cannot know the human needs of those whose days begin and end in not living but merely surviving.
The changes needed to make this World a better place are simple enough, at least to those of us who want peace, equality, justice and oneness. However, it would be naive and foolhardy to believe that this was easy to achieve. Because those who benefit from war don’t want this to happen, because those greedy for more money despite having far more then they will ever need don’t want it to happen, because those whose political agendas are only about gaining more power and influence, don’t want it to happen, those with bigoted, zenophobic and racist agendas don’t want it to happen and certainly the 1% of the World’s population who own 99% of the World’s wealth in the main do not want it to happen, and they are not going to let go or share their wealth and power easily. If they did, with the power and influence they hold, the poverty and related issues could be solved right now.
So, in this New Year of 2017, the changes that take place for most people in this World won’t look any different then they did every other year. However, those of us with the time and energy to note and view the shift in the balance of power politically across the Western World, must consciously step forward to stand up for the respect of difference, justice, equality and peace. We must highlight unfairness and injustice and not allow issues to become polarised through divisions in our communities.
Because the greatest weapon ever used by those who would hold on to all the power is the old tried and tested one of ‘Divide and Conquer’. It has worked for the powerful down through the centuries and they continue to use this to divide communities and to turn communties on each other. This way they justify their actions. This above all else in 2017 must not be allowed to grow. We are on the cusp of even greater challenges and we have the opportunity to make this New Year the one where just being civil is given an opportunity to create togetherness. Positive Change and Conscious Reform starts with you and me and not through politics.
If anything is to be gained in 2017 let it be one of common decency one to another in the midst of a powerful agenda to divide us. Here at my fireside I hear a petrified cry from those who need us, to give them ‘hope’. To answer this cry, as Active/Global Citizens may we make ‘2017 The Year of Conscious Change’. With our hands, minds and hearts may we reach out across the divides with humanity, kindness and compassion to raise the energy of love and peace. And to that which would seek to divide us, in unity with a powerful chant may we say ‘Not on my Watch’.
Bernadette Phillips is Founder of New Insights For Change, she is a Social Scientist / Sociologist, Social Activist, Radio Presenter, Writer and Blogger.