By Erin Treloar
2016. A year of the highest highs and a couple of lows. James first step, his first birthday, friends’ weddings, some amazing RAW collaborations and some mini miracles that made me believe there just has to be something bigger out there taking care of us. I’ll treasure these moments forever. 2016 also brought two early miscarriages, a cancer scare, the US political landscape didn’t exactly pan out as I was hoping (yes, I live in Canada and this still deeply effected me) and the state of the world and in particular the state of countries I’ll probably never even visit has haunted my dreams. Images of starving, freezing babies, war zones and families torn apart in Syria seem impossible to erase from my mind. And I know this is only one area where people are hurting.
As the abundance of holiday season swirls all around, I’ve found myself moving from a place of Christmas shopping-cookie eating-holiday festivity-bliss to feelings of guilt, sadness and helplessness thinking of all the people who are suffering. How did I get so lucky? My Instagram feed is full of happy families enjoying the holidays and then every once and awhile, something comes up that reaches far out, away from our safe little corner of the world. It’s hard to swallow but it is so important that we see it. Because I truly believe we are all connected and when one part of the world is hurting we all hurt whether we are conscious of it or not.
So what do we do? Do we stop shopping? Do we cancel our party plans? Do we just try to ignore what feels so very far away?
Here is what I will do.
I will continue to live fully and give in whatever way I can. I will live big and joyfully and with enormous amounts of gratitude. I will give in positive energy, kindness to others, financial donations (we’re trading in our stockings this year and have asked Santa for a donation to Save the Children instead) & volunteer time when I have the means. I will enjoy the beautiful things life has to offer us but I will not turn a blind eye to the hard, ugly things that are happening in the world and I will not sit in silence.
Here is a list of things you can do along with me to honour those who are suffering and help them in some small way:
- Consume consciously and give graciously. Here is a list of some incredible organizations that are able to help those you cannot reach. Every little bit helps.
- Commit random acts of kindness to spread love out into your community. Love begets love and we all need as much of it as we can get right now.
- Give thanks frequently. Notice all the little things we are so lucky to have.
- Unplug and connect deeply with loved ones. There are people who would give anything for an extra minute of time with friends and family.
- Savour your meals. Eat slowly. Give thanks for your full plate.
- Commit to consistent self-improvement and let your light shine. We are blessed with so many opportunities and life is far too short to waste it obsessively scrolling Instagram feeds, staying complacent in a job you don’t like, letting the weight on the scale control your happiness or living in a way that isn’t true to you.
- Talk about the difficult things happening in the world. Don’t sit in silence. Your voice matters. Write a two-sentence post or an essay. Have a discussion at the dinner table. Call a friend. Share an article.
My hope for all of us in 2017 is that we LIVE BIG and we GIVE BIG. That we stand face-to-face with our own individual greatness and that we harness the power in it to create a world that is fuelled by more love and less hate.
PS. I love everything about this Holiday To-Do List from the wonderful Jenna Kutcher.