We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. ~Melville
I am going to say it-I am glad Christmas is over. I love the traditions that I have created for my daughters and the sense of love and kindness that seems to permeate the air. Yet, it’s just so stressful for so many people. People compare their holiday experience to their friends and neighbors or worst to the ones they see on television and in the movies; sometime it’s just too much. And the stores, the crowds, the shopping…oy.
I do love me some Kwanzaa. In part because there are no huge expectations around how it should or should not be celebrated. Kwanzaa was conceived, created and introduced to the African American community as an audacious act of self-determination. It is observed from December 26 to January 1 each year. Each Kwanzaa we are called upon to think deeply about our lives and the world. Then, we are to recommit ourselves to our highest ideals, our best values and visions. The heart and soul of Kwanzaa are The Seven Principles. I have been thinking about these principles over the past few days. I believe these principles will help us renew ourselves and the world. They offer us all a foundation and framework to live our lives in 2010:
Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, and nation. It teaches us the oneness of all people, everywhere-the common ground of our humanity with others. It encourages us to feel at one with the world, to be constantly concerned about its health and wholeness, especially as we face the possibility of climate change and other disasters around the world. This principle alone can change the world.
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves. This reaffirms the right of persons and peoples to determine their own destiny and daily lives; to live in peace and security; and to flourish in freedom. We all have the right to live in a safe and secure place. Freedom is our divine right. We all should be free to move beyond past limitations and become all that we were created to be.
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility):To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together. This principle teaches us the necessary commitment to work together to conceive and build the good community, society and world we want and deserve to live in. Robert Ingersoll says we should give to every human being every right that we claim for our self. I could not have said it better.
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics):To build and maintain stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together. This principle reaffirms the right to control and benefit from the resources of one’s own lands and to an equitable and just share of the goods of the world. In an earlier post I talked about the power of micro finance and what happens when the poor have access to financial and human capital – family income rises. Children go to school. Health improves. Housing is improved. Communities are transformed. Generations are changed.
Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore people to their traditional greatness. Make no mistake we are all GREAT. We are all DIVINE. Each and everyone of us. This boils down to loving one another. Our purpose on earth is to love and demonstrate that love by action. I pledge to love more in 2010.
Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it. Pretty clear to me. The choices we make should not be to the detriment of other people or our communities. In 2010 I plan on making good choices that leave the world better than I found it . Not just choices good for me, and my family, but for my neighbor as well.
Imani (Faith): To believe with all our heart in the goodness of people and humanity. Faith calls us to believe in the good we seek to create, to work for it, and to live it in our daily lives. Only then will we be able to repair and renew ourselves in the process and practice of repairing, rebuilding and renewing the world.
Your real work is to decide what you want and focus upon it. For it is through focusing upon what you want that you attract it. That is the process of creating.~Abraham-Hicks
I pledge to focus on these powerful principles in 2010. I pledge to make our brother’s and sister’s problems my problems. I pledge to work hard and help create sustainable solutions. I pledge to work on me because personal transformation has a global effect. WE are the world.
Here is wishing everyone of you peace, love and happiness in the new year. May we all have the opportunity to use our gifts to contribute to the healing of the world.