Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jan. 2011 A Matter of Perspective

The simple act of turning the calendar page from the old year to the new is like buying a lottery ticket.  As the old year is put to rest, the New Year opens wide to endless possibilities.  It conjures up anticipation, hope and belief that things are surely going to be better.  That expectation is even more pronounced as one decade closes and another opens, affording a brief window of time to reflect on the past decade and brace for the new one.  How we interpret events and changes is a matter of perspective.

Was it only ten years ago that we held our collective breaths wondering if the world would come to an end at midnight on Dec. 31, 1999 when all the large computer systems on the planet crashed?  The apocalyptic prophecies of a Y2K disaster fizzled when January 1st dawned and the lights were still on.  The Y2K scenario was the start of a decade of fear and double-speak as a tool to control human behavior.  The turmoil and upheavals unbalanced institutions, governments, and the environment, worldwide.  Our safe little world had not come crashing down in the way we thought.  But by the end of the decade computers, social networks, twitter, texts, and smart phones were in fact controlling our lives even more.  Whether those changes were good or bad was simply a matter of perspective.  Or age.

"Hanging chads" called into question a presidential election in 2000?  Black Americans were delayed at roadblocks so they were unable to vote in that election.  But the orderly transfer of power occurred despite the chads and politics, ten years later, the first African American has been elected President.  The Gulf of Mexico was at the top of international news at the start and end of the decade.  In 2000 a little Cuban boy found floating in the Gulf was caught up in international politics before being returned home to his father.  Ten years later the Gulf was again in the news as millions of gallons of oil floated on the water creating an environmental disaster. 

That oil spill showed that ecological management had not much improved since  hurricane Katrina devastated the region.  Global climate changes now routinely show the effects of human mismanagement on all the ecosystems of the planet.  In the last ten years the polar ice caps receded so much Hudson Bay was void of sea ice.  And the Amazon River, largest in the world, is in an alarming drought paralyzing fishing and transportation on the river.  Some say it's climate change, others that it's a normal cycle.  It's still a matter of perspective.

Despite the embarrassments, WikiLeaks showed that government "secrets" were only secrets in the minds of the beholders.  We learned that open countries really wanted to cooperate with one another towards peace as behind the scenes they diplomatically reconsidered their sponsorship of closed regimes.  We always sensed that Gordon Gecko type greed was behind the financial crisis affecting everyone on the planet but WikiLeaks revealed the documents.  Through technology the "little people" had access to any type of information instantaneously via the internet, satellites, and social media networks.  The promised governmental "information age" had been delivered but it was only a matter of perspective as to whom or how it was interpreted.

On a personal note, feelings of optimism and hope abound since turning the calendar to 2011.  Our recent holiday travels included a return trip to NYC where we visited Ground Zero for the fourth time.  You might wonder why it was necessary to continue returning there.  It's because that place holds special significance in my life for I was supposed to be at a meeting in the north tower on the morning of 9/11. 

The recent visit to the site however felt so energetically different from previous visits.  Instead of the blanketing feelings of death, sorrow, and sadness that always seemed to permeate the area, the "hole" as it was called, resonated with new life.  A massive rebuilding effort is underway day and night, as thousands of workers construct the new memorial, museum, and the five sky-scrapers to replace the

Ten years after 9/11 there's a palpable feeling of vibrancy, hope, and pride at the site.  You can see it in the faces of the hard-hat workers, the police officers standing duty on the streets, and even the tourists who mill around the area.  While dozens stand in line to sponsor a cobblestone for the memorial, many more stand respectfully at the shrines of the fire-fighters honoring their sacrifices not with tears but with admiration.  All look expectantly at the 48 stories that have been completed at one of the towers. 

The same feelings of optimism that happen when turning the page of the calendar from the old year to the new are happening at what has become a world monument in NYC.  The reflecting pools that now stand in the footprints of the old towers, the gardens and the memorial museum are scheduled to re-open on
9/11/2011.   The silver spire of the tallest skyscraper, World Trade 1, will pierce the sky at 1,776 feet, standing as a symbol of the eternal spirit of humanity.  It will proclaim to the world that the TradeCenter has been rebuilt and that out of anguish and grief the page has been turned to one of new life.  This spire affirms that it's much more than a matter of perspective.

Through the endless wars, we've lived in a decade where some have chosen to paint all Muslims with the brush of terrorism, even though the vast majority is law abiding and abhor terrorism as much as we do.  Those who see the world as dangerous and fearful live in a state of constant siege.  Meanwhile, others have seized the opportunity to embrace diversity by bringing the two sides together. 

With the New Year and a new decade dawning, we have a magical opportunity to bring forth a bright new consciousness in ourselves and thus into the world.  The choice is ours!  It's all a matter of our perspective.

Jo - January 2011