Written by Patricia Malidor Coleman for The Interculturalist: A Periodical of SIETAR USA
Let's keep "Moving ahead, learning from the global pandemic, Globalisciously® Stretching into Change." Since October 2020, a lot has happened, yet the year has gone by very fast and we are in December, getting ready for the year 2021. After a timely, first-ever, successful, virtual conference, SIETAR USA and the professional community of interculturalists, and D.E.I (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) practitioners are embracing a global culture shock which they now realize they are equipped for with their own personal and professional experience of transitions, resilient journeys, and intercultural tools to move ahead. As the conference theme indeed indicated: "Moving Ahead: Learning from the Global Pandemic. Are you equipped? Are you ready?
I know that many of you can't wait to put 2020 behind and start a new year. New year, New me!
New Year’s resolutions forming in hope for better days. This is the trend, the “usual” talk we read, hear about, or even say on the eve of a new year. Hungry for "NEW" in all aspects of our lives such as health, finances, career and/or relationships—a tentatively scribbled plan of execution that more often than ever does not happen because “NEW” means “CHANGE.”
“Change” is the magic word needed to evolve, transform and leap forward. “CHANGE” is the reality we faced in 2020 with the Corona virus altering our daily routines, turning the familiar into total uncertainty. “Change” that created the nostalgia for things to be “normal” again.
It has been a challenging and painful year in many ways. This global killer called COVID19 has taken many lives around the world and plunged our global economy in a deep abyss, shaken our lives, separated us from family, friends, and even closed our borders interrupting the global travel many of us yearn for personally and professionally.
We craved things we value most and what we craved most was the basic need for connection.
Connection manifested when being in the presence of friends, family. We need physical connection such as the touch of a hand, a kiss, a hug—face-to-face celebrations, gatherings, meetings that nurture us in very special ways. Technology seemed to be the answer as platforms like Zoom created instant connection, bringing us together from all corners of the world. As artificial as it was, technology seemed to be the answer. However, the real answer came when we truly disconnected from the rat race, commute, noise, and over-scheduled agenda. We disconnected in order to reconnect to ourselves. Nature became our companion—birds singing, fresh cleaner air filling our lungs, silent nights soothing our hearts and souls. Mindfulness replaced our full minds. Self-care became a priority.
We needed to reinforce our values, to nurture and grow Strength, Self-Care, Courage, Confidence, Connection, and Compassion. When we disconnected to reconnect with ourselves that allowed us to embrace a deeper connection. We were given that opportunity when the world seemed to stop. Our lives paused—frozen in time. While recognizing that this occurred, we had—and still have—the choice to fight in resentment and fear or choose to just be, nurture inner peace and build resilience. My friends, that is the toolbox we all have and need to use in our personal and professional lives.
So, once again, as we are facing the year-end holidays cheering goodbye to 2020, saying hello to 2021, a year of change, ask yourself: “How can we once again, as we do each year, turn our backs on the immediate past that has shaped us and become who we are destined to be? How can we possibly build a better future without learning from our past?
As the late Maya Angelou often quoted: “We can only know where we are going if we know where we've been!”
So, in these final weeks of 2020, just as I did in my closing keynote of the SIETAR USA 2020 conference, entitled "Globalisciously® Stretching into Change", I invite you to mindfully embrace 2020 and all it has taught us. Remember: What does not kill you makes you stronger!
In healing love for peace, health and prosperity to all.
Patricia Malidor Coleman aka Ms. Globaliscious