Look for the gifts Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Saturday, 19 September 2020 07:10
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I remember a virtual birthday card that did the rounds in the beginning of this pandemic. It said, “To all those having a birthday in April” and then it featured various photographs of a forlorn guy sitting all alone in front of his cake with a couple of candles dejectedly drooping from a garland on his head.

Fast forward six months and it’s the Bronnie’s 18th birthday. Still social distancing. What a year to have any kind of celebration! Especially for a magazine. I mean, take a look around you. How many magazines from the stables of big publication groups simply don’t exist any more?

But, here’s the Bronnie! And this is not our first rodeo. Still, it’s the first time the entire planet with all the systems we grew up with are bucking at the same time. We’re bombarded by panic-generating cant from every conceivable direction, like echoing speakers at a fun fair. These messages of doom seem specially designed to scare. Be afraid. Be very afraid, they blare.

So, we’re not going to blare, blast or boom in the birthday Bronnie. Actually, we’re not going to tell you what to think at all. Okay, wait – except to ask you to appreciate our advertisers. It’s thanks to them, and readers like you who support them, that we’re still riding this rodeo on our 18th birthday.

But, girlfriend, what I wanted to say is that it’s more crucial than ever before that you think for yourself.

And that you allow others to do the same, even if they disagree with you. Madisyn Taylor says that the temptation to direct the paths of others is a creature of many origins. Each person is entitled to seek out his or her own path and when you encourage the people navigating them, you reinforce your devotion to independence, individuality and diversity.

It’s not to say you can’t give advice – when asked for it, of course – or that you can’t ask advice when you need it. But, since you probably know yourself better than anyone else does, you’re the best person to ask for advice.

Madisyn recommends an interesting exercise: Try asking guidance from your past and future selves. You get a different perspective when you view something through your younger self’s eyes or your mature self’s more experienced point of view.

Maybe your younger self would view a dilemma in a more innocent, less sceptical way. Your older, hopefully wiser, self may offer advice from a more compassionate perspective, she says.

Madisyn’s exercise involves setting up an advisory panel of these past, present, and future selves. You might even want to keep minutes of the meeting because your different selves can give you some precious answers.

Shall we have this kind of meeting with the Bronnie’s younger and older selves? In this, the unprecedented year of the pandemic? Want to try it with me? Okay, the baby Bronnie says, “Just stay in the saddle. You might not know this ride, but you know how to ride. Trust that. Hi-yo, Silver! Away!”

The future-phantom Bronnie says we need to learn that the world is far too unpredictable to allow it to dictate our mindset or emotions. We must first turn inward. First find the stillness within. Here. Now.

We need to believe that this is possible for us. We need to have faith that there are good things right now – that things are not happening to us, but for us. That we should look for the gifts. Wait, wasn’t that Byron Katie’s voice?

In any case, let’s start with baby steps, as Mike Dooley calls it, until the earth stops quacking. Mike says in times like these we think we should make big decisions, but there ought to be an ancient eastern proverb that says: “Only the unwise tries to move his home during an earthquake.”

When everything keeps shifting and shaking, it’s hard to have a broadened perspective on your opportunities and challenges. It seems difficult to find the right path because you can’t see ahead.

Actually you need to remember that there is no path. Paths are made by walking, as Antonio Machado said. The path is your tracks and nothing more.

Are you joining me for a ramble, girlfriend? Then lets start looking for the gifts along the way. We’re celebrating a birthday, after all


Ondersteun die Bronnie
Ongekende omstandighede, waarin tientalle gevestigde publikasies, wat oor dekades heen te koop was, onlangs gedwing is om te sluit, noop ons om ‘n beroep op die Bronnie se getroue lesers te doen. Die Bronberger word as onafhanklike publikasie die afgelope 18 jaar elke maand gratis aan ons gemeenskap en wyer gebring. Dit is ons plesier om dié diens te lewer en ons is vasbeslote om daarmee voort te gaan. Jou vrywillige bydrae, hoe klein of groot ook al, eenmalig of maandeliks, sal baie help hiermee en oneindig waardeer word. 
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Aflaai van die Die Bronberger September 2020 in elektroniese PDF formaat:

Besoek die Suid-Afrikaanse Departement van Gesondheid se webwerf vir alle amptelike inligting en opdaterings rakende COVID-19 by www.SAcoronavirus.co.za

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