For the past ten days I’ve been contemplating a witty and profound holiday greeting and blog post that would lift moods everywhere and inspire greater wellness. Sadly (or happily), the profound words did not emerge from my brain, perhaps because my brain–like many objects at this time of the season–preferred to remain at rest. The universe seemed to be saying something like, “Let there be inertia.” Who am I to dispute messages from the universe?
And then, in the midst of my stare-down with inertia, I read that today is Day 2 of Kwanzaa, the principle for which is “self-determination.” I don’t know much about Kwanzaa, and so I did a bit of reading and discovered that Day 2 involves the lighting of a candle that represents the principle of Kujichagulia (aka self-determination). Self-determination can be taken a few different ways, including the process of defining, creating, naming, and speaking for ourselves.
I have no intention of engaging in cultural appropriation here, but instead, my desire (in a Bertrand Russell sort of way) is to continue to embrace new learning—which seems to me as a nice antidote to staying at rest or remaining inert. Learning a bit more about African-American culture . . . as well as other cultures . . . strikes me as a good thing, and is consistent with what I hope for in the coming year.
In my momentarily state of naïve idealization (unfortunately, this too shall likely pass), I wish you all the best for Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and other celebratory holidays. I also wish for more learning, more openness to the ideas and cultures of others, and more of that social fabric that Alfred Adler called Gemeinschaftsgefühl. And, to paraphrase the great positive psychologist, Chris Peterson, remember, “Other people matter,” which, of course, means that because you’re an “other” person to everyone else, you matter too.