So how ya doin’? Really. How are you when you put down the phone or turn off the TV? How are you when just allow yourself to be and to feel and to stay in the moment that we’re experiencing right now, together…apart?

That’s what I thought. Me too.

This year feels like the inevitable outcome of our inability or unwillingness to see what is. All we need to do is turn on the TV or pop onto our social media to see that we’re so busy pointing fingers and defending ourselves that we fail to recognize the dysfunction that we’ve not only created but continue to nurture. Our broken relationships with each other pale into insignificance when we consider the depth and breadth of the crisis that we’ll forever call 2020.

In the years to come, will we look back and think that 2020 was about chaos and pain, or will we see it as a necessary evil that shone brightly on our faults and shortcomings? Was 2020 some sort of divine intervention, or was it the universe angrily calling us out, like a drill sergeant screaming at us…just an inch from our face, demanding that we fall in line or pay the consequences? Was 2020 an opportunity to learn and then to practice awareness, mindfulness, patience, and compassion? Or will we look back on 2020 as the year we finally rose above, for the first time ever, to clearly see…what is.

From almost any viewpoint this year will be remembered as a literal deluge of disaster: An existential crisis that rivals the times of the Egyptian Plague. We’ve grown tired of the term “unprecedented” as it applied to disease, fires, civil unrest, social discourse, economic crisis, environmental disasters, corruption, and a truly “unprecedented” new level of narcissism. The combination of circumstances has led to obscene levels of mental and emotional distress, only to be capped off by the accelerated and well-earned distrust of all things political or media related.

Looking back, we’ve got to concede that…simply put…we’ve really made a mess of things.

So why are we here? Why are we so broken? Why are so many people so sick or angry or sad? Why are our oceans dying, and why do we continue to struggle through countless iterations of pandemic scale virus outbreaks? In my humble opinion, the way that we see the problem is the problem.

We see immigrants as social and financial burdens as opposed to social and financial opportunities for us to learn from and grow.

We see the poor, our huddled masses, as lazy and uneducated as opposed to challenged, confused, or perhaps misguided.

We see women as objects; bodies, but we don’t see the minds and the souls within them.

We view criminals as shameful statistics instead of human beings with families and hopes and dreams.

We see our pandemic as an inconvenience and a threat rather than an inherent flaw in our food system.

We perceive Earth as a possession, as if somehow we own it. It’s resources as endless, rather than something to be cherished, nurtured, and passed down to future generations.

We struggle to reach arbitrary academic standards without first being taught to be aware of our breathing.

We are divisive, not only choosing sides…but in fact creating them so we have a label to attach our fragile egos to.

We see science as a tool to support our individual beliefs as opposed to a truth to base them on.

We value things over people, and pay little attention to what actually matters.

Social media has taught us to “seem” when we cannot “be.”

We eat food that’s never seen the soil, and we leach the earth beneath the foods that have.

Our eyes are trained, so drawn to pain that “If it bleeds, it leads.” has become a tired cliché.

We search for relief rather than resolution.

We put profit above people and celebrity above kindness.

And why…in God’s name…do we still see people who look or speak differently from us as somehow less than us as opposed to simply being different or perhaps even better than us?

Maybe we just need to switch our focus. Maybe we need to see the other side. Maybe we need to listen more than we speak. Maybe we need to walk a mile in their shoes. Maybe we need to learn to breathe. Maybe we need to pause deeply enough and for long enough to know ourselves…and maybe even to love ourselves.

Maybe, when we look back on 2020, we’ll see it as a teacher rather than a scar. Maybe we’ll see it with 20/20 hindsight…and maybe we’ll grow.