Happy New Year, my friend.

Whew, 2020 was quite a ride. It look so much from us and required a high level of emotional resources to deal with *all of the things.* A couple of nights ago, I was feeling the weight of what so many of our fellow humans have been going through over the past many months. Honestly, I felt exhausted.

I wandered outside. I looked up. The moon was especially glow-y, shining through darkness. And I smiled gratefully that there was still beauty, even in the darkness.

When it feels like the whole world is in chaos, whether due to the ongoing pandemic, economic concerns, and just the weight of the daily struggles in addition to it all, it seems like a reach to attempt to maintain a positive point of view. Understandably.

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It is important that we do our best to do so. It's scientifically proven that happiness is as socially infectious as depression. That's an encouraging thought. By "happiness" we don't mean frivolous giddiness, although that has its place. It is good to feel all of our emotions. Perhaps a better aim is to cultivate a sense of hope and inner peace so we may share it with those around us.

As challenging as it is, remaining hopeful in the face of truly discouraging seasons, we are doing our part to counter fear. Having a sense of "inner peace" doesn't mean we are oblivious to external events and the troubles of those in our lives--or our own troubles, for that matter. It does mean we don't let them rob us of the very strength we need to rise to the challenges we face.

One of the ways I'm coping is by practicing gratefulness. This is my main resolution for 2021. We hear it so very often, but becoming grateful for our lives empowers us and reminds us that this too shall pass. It strengthens us so that we may be generous with others.

One thing we all need more of is a sense of community, solidarity, and those with the willingness to reach out and help others. Even though there is much to be upset and worried about in the world, and rightly so, finding ways to be grateful strengthens our resolve to keep fighting and moving forward.

There is still so much for which to be grateful. We are grateful for you, too. What are you grateful for today?

Stay safe. Be kind. Happy new year.

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