To be happy

It seems to be increasingly difficult to be happy or peaceful when, lately, lots of things seem to be happening to us, and “out of the blue”: at the end of a bruising and politically divisive three years, on 31st January, 2020, the UK finally left the EU. After the flags had finally been re-arranged following the end of the final – final – extension period, full-page adverts placed by the UK government appeared in newspapers to remind the few of us who might have forgotten, that, “The UK has now left the European Union”. Good to know that, in the face of gloomy post-Brexit forecasts, revenues were being well deployed.

At the same time, at the end of last year, new headlines were appearing indicating the origins of coronavirus in Wuhan and speculating wildly about its causes, spread, and likely mortality rates. I watched the news and tracking reports with fascinated alarm, as one would watch the approach of a tornado following a clear path and bound, at some point, to pass nearby. By now we are beginning to realise that we don’t need a direct hit, for life to change utterly.

If there is any good news to be had out of recent events, it could be that, in the face of a growing climate emergency, the natural world has the chance to recover some ground. We also have the opportunity to reassess what really matters to us, and to work co-operatively to find sensible, practical and compassionate outcomes that include us all. Increasingly I see that working together need not be difficult, but can be immensely rewarding, both for the unexpected joy we uncover and because in working together we are more open to sharing and being inspired by new and interesting possibilities.

By finding solutions that include everyone – it is interesting, for example, that the emergence of Covid-19 in the USA has finally forced the political concession that everyone who needs it can get tested, and everyone in need can get treated – finally, we may see the beginnings of a recognition that effective solutions are, and have to be, inclusive. “Value” is not just about the stock markets or the size of our wallets.

I’m going to be taking a break for a while. It’s a time for reassessment and reflection. More than ever, we need to listen to each other, avoid jumping to conclusions and try to stay healthy, cheerful and optimistic.

Thanks for listening.

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