What do you want to say to the world?
Tonight, I was on the phone with my friend Linda and we ended our conversation with her question for me: What do you want to say to the world?
2020 has been a life-changing year, to say the least. Our norms were disrupted, in most parts of the globe, disturbance remains an on-going reality. The human race has been thrusted into confinement while the United States of America – a country which has long been deemed as the bedrock of dreams – is now synonymous with chaos, distrust and lawlessness. So what else is there to say? What is left to redeem?
For the last three months, I’ve situated myself in London. Though it’s currently in Tier 5 lockdown, the world’s most renowned international metropolis has become my personal sanctuary. London has transformed from a touristic destination that I often detested visiting, to a temple of self-reflection with lessons learned from the past and visualizations of a fortuitous future. Despite the city’s empty streets or anger triggered by mask-less streetwalkers, I’m rewarded by the glistening reflections upon Regent’s Canal to imagine endless possibilities and components to achieve utmost joy.
Unlike the Big Ben or the London Bridge, Regent’s Canal is considerably less frequented by short-term travelers. Stretching from Paddington Arm to the Limehouse Basin, the canal was part of the 19th century Act of Parliament initiative. Today, it is where I stroll along to gaze at homes and office buildings that perch on the waterfront and say hello to orange cats that call colorful boats and friendly cafés their homes.
The apartment, or my temporary home, also sits along the canal, where I wake up every morning spoiled by nature’s unpredictable spectacle with a cup of joe. By simply looking out the window, I can either witness the sky shift from fiery orange to blush pink, or drifting from midnight navy to foggy gray. For a good hour, I utilize the vibrant canvas in front of my eyes as a holy space for inspiration and mental preparation for the day. What do I want to accomplish in the next 24 hours? What kind of legacy do I want to leave behind?
Besides my bedroom window, my favorite view of the canal is from a wooden bench, staring at brick houses highlighted by red rounded pillars. Right on the water, I typically sit and watch seagulls fight for crumbs of bread, graceful swans float by in pairs, and fearless pigeons that pilot in flocks. In this quiet space of zen, I ask for my dreams to enliven and I rely on my inner foundation to always prolong.
On the eve of 2020, I sat on this bench and vowed to be compassionate to myself. To be patient and to be kind. The world burns in a scene of annihilation but I can rest in stillness because I choose to love who I was, who I am, and the entirety of the woman I will become. There’s nothing more powerful than making a promise to myself, because as Merlin, the psychic, told me back in October at King’s Cross: we come to this earth as individuals and we also leave here someday, alone.
This time last year, I was in Oslo visiting the city’s famous Frogner Park where 212 bronze sculptures illuminate Gustav Vigeland’s (1869–1943) philosophy on the “Wheel of Life.” As I previously wrote, “an afternoon in the park is an eye-opening wander through 600 full-size human figures in granite and bronze that depict life in its sequential journey, as well as human relationships especially between men and women, children and elders emitting joy, sadness, anger, suffering, and empathy.” In a world where we’re bound to live life without travels, I relish on the memories of lessons garnered from incredible landmarks that have invigorated lasting impact. Vigeland’s interpretation of life in a circular motion of human emotions transmitted through various chapters of an individual, though it seems that today, we’re forced to fixate on anger and sadness while making serious attempts to rediscover joy.
When it comes down to it, 2020 threw us for a massive loop while 2021 seems like it’s off to a turbulent start. But here’s what I’d like to say to the world: let’s expand.
Let’s widen our hearts so we remain empathetic. Let’s broaden the spectrum of hope – for a better outcome, for less violence, for less hatred and for a world where we’re less afraid. Let’s amplify our voices for change, so the less fortunate can be heard. Just follow our team, they’re often posting issues and petitions that we can all sign to be part of the movement forward. Let’s broaden our perspectives, so we’re less selfish and narcissistic. In times of sorrow, I want to remind myself of stories from villagers and locals living in remote parts of the world. Their narratives are the ones I want to promote, their cultures are the ones I want to play a small part to help preserve. The Berbers, the Sámis, the Uyghurs all have generously shared their stories with my traveling self, and I will recount their heritage with great honor.
When I made a vow to myself on New Year’s Eve, I hoped for all women to find your own Regent’s Canal so you can take a deep breath and recite a self-promise. For the married, the singles, the abused, the underaged…it is a powerful act. To know what it is you want to say to the world, but most importantly, what you do say to yourself.