As 2020 closes, I am reminded of the adage, “the Lord works in mysterious ways.” COVID has struck some 65 million people around the globe and claimed 1.5 million deaths. This is a tragedy, and many of the deaths were frontline workers who cared unselfishly for infected patients. My heart goes out to the many that have passed, and to their families, as well as to the many that are suffering. I continue to stay in prayer for these souls and the ones that continue to risk their lives in the service of others.
The question in front of all of us is: what purpose will we individually and collectively find in the tragedy of the pandemic?
I see that much good can come out of this experience. For starters, the best antidote for the virus (and in general) is a healthy body and immune system.
While I have always exercised, meditated, and maintained a healthy diet, I have been home since I returned from an international speaking tour on March 11th. (This is my first time with no travel for over 9 months!) Because of this time home, I have been consistent in getting physical therapy and acupuncture for my lower back and neck issues. The result after 7 long years is that I am now able to return to playing golf! It is amazing how quickly your body can rebound by eating right, exercising regularly, meditating, and getting professional holistic therapy.
Secondly, it is profoundly clear that our lives depend on others. Yet in the USA we tend to be very individualistic. Our focus is on ourselves and maybe extends to our loved ones and family. While this not a bad thing, we must remember that we do not live only in our home and work alone—we also live in a community. As I see the sacrifices of our frontline and essential workers out there serving others—I am inspired to do more!
While many of us serve on nonprofit boards and provide aid through other venues like the workplace, places of worship, and civic organizations—the quality and quantity of service need to substantially increase. Most communities are plagued with social ills. Finding ourselves in a highly divided and fragmented country, it is important we engage in a meaningful commitment to unite our country and the world.
This opportunity is available not only because of the pandemic, but as we enter a new era of our political landscape. We need leaders that are competent in their fields of endeavor to take on and create viable, affordable solutions to the many societal ills, and to portray, espouse, and role model strong ethical, moral, and spiritual values. I cover this concept more fully in my latest book Leadership for the Greater Good – A Guide for the Truth to Power Champions.
We are defined by our relationships. Having more time at home – although not being able to be with friends and relatives – it has become increasingly clear that we need more quality time with family and friends. I am blessed to have my daughter, Tasreen, and grandchildren, Shahin, Khalil, and Miya, live about 45 minutes from my home and we have been able to visit regularly while taking important safety precautions. With technologies like Zoom and Google Meet – it has been possible to be with peers, friends, and other organizations that I serve as a volunteer or a Board member. That has been a satisfying experience. I have made a commitment to spend more quality time with my family, the people that matter most to me, and not be so entrenched in the “busy lives” we all seem to lead in our country.
Finally, the flora and fauna are thriving! To see dolphins swimming in Venice and the wildlife thriving and flourishing, the reduction of the carbon footprint, and clear skies—it is heartwarming that the planet too is getting a breather and smiling. It is important when this is over, and it will be, that we do not return to what was before as life does not tarnish but moves forward. We can take the best of this year’s circumstances and improve our lifestyle and ways of being based on our newfound sense of what is important.
What purpose have you found in this difficult and challenging year of the pandemic? Of course, there are many other blessings that have manifested during these times and in the words of a good friend–-when I find myself melancholy, complaining, or sad, she always reminds me, “Azim count your blessings!” A true and good reminder—we all have many blessings and for that, I am in deep gratitude. I pray we all discover the blessing of our true purpose!
My warmest and affectionate best
wishes to all of you for a loving, joyous, healthy, and safe holiday season. Please know all of you, now in particular, are in my heart, thoughts, meditations, and prayers. God bless!
Peace and many blessings on your journey forward,