In the beginning of the year, it is customary to set our intentions for the coming months and send around our best wishes. In international relations, experts and practitioners either report on achievements in the past year or publish their forecast for the new year. The year of 2015 will be remembered as yet another challenging year, while 2016 seems just as daunting with old geopolitical realities resurfacing. Looking ahead, 2017 will be even more complex, we are told, with an array of developing conflicts coming into sharper focus. Is this the world we are preparing to hand over to our children?
In addition, as humans, when faced with difficulties and deprivation, we tend to pull back. We isolate ourselves, shutting others out, and turn into self-preservation mode. We hoard ideas and energy, keeping to ourselves, thinking that we will be safer and richer, when in reality we deprive the world and make ourselves poorer in the process. Yet, we all have the capacity to change the world in small ways, which can snowball into major transformation. Conversely, negative thoughts and energy will also travel, snowballing into group movement and resulting in significant destruction, sometimes paving the way for positive change down the road. The point is that change in the world will only come from individual ideas and actions intended as transformative. Even better, whatever may come our way should be met with positive intent. Intentions are contagious. They have a ripple effect; they spread and expand well beyond their original purpose.
We often doubt that we can make a difference in a world of over seven billion people. Perhaps more importantly, we are not usually open to anything that comes our way and certainly not well disposed when what we hear from the news is, for the most part, horrific reporting—whether it is about the refugee crisis or terrorism. This is usually met with a sense of tremendous heartbreak, anger at the insanity, or worse – total indifference, given how horrible stories have become the “new normal.” To be real, the world seems in a terrible state, and who on earth would embrace whatever comes with love and kindness to intend genuine transformation…
There is an interesting body of literature that describes the world we see, the atrocities, the weather patterns, which seems so destructive, as a world deconstructing an old pattern of behavior – an outside world unraveling – while a new internal way of being is pointing to the emergence of a new world yet to come. The unravelling will create enough space on the outside for the new, generated by individuals shining brightly on the inside to fill that space.
Here is a thought to start the year! After all, new beginnings seem to start in January when people review their intentions for the year, when so many of us are heading for the same goal. Let us be swept up into the energy of change! Each and every one of us carries within us the capacity to change the world.