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The Best and Worst of Times

By Irene Becker

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all doing direct the other way." --Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
It is ironic that a passage written almost 150 years ago could be used to describe our world today. We have come so far in so many ways, and yet we are ironically on the same page. It is indeed the best and worst of times.

None of us were conceived alone, born alone, nor can we survive and thrive without one another. The human journey has been a winding road, an unfolding movie of the greatest triumph and the most heartbreaking sorrow. We have created, we have destroyed, and somehow we have survived and continued an evolutionary path to greater knowledge than ever before.

Our body of human knowledge, science and technology has brought us to the edge of a cliff. An exciting, but dangerous place. A different place. As we stand individually and collectively on the cliff edge we are on the cusp of either the greatest economic and social reform ever, or of the decent into the abyss of chaos. It is here. It is now. It is real. Everything is different and will continue to change. What remains the same is the fact that the greatest resource that we have is human capital, and the only way to use our greatest resource is to turn our headlights and our heartlights on.

Quantum physics tells us that a butterfly flapping its wings in Tokyo can have an effect on the weather pattern in Los Angeles. We may feel that we are insignificant in the greater picture, but if the butterfly has a critical role to play, we too can effect changes every day, every way. Changes that start with how we choose to think, act and be. Positive changes that will only be realized when we make a decision: a choice to learn to let go of the ugly side of ego, selfishness and malice, that blocks our minds and our hearts and allows us to forget that each one of us is an important link in the greater chain of humankind.

We have the choice every moment of our life to reclaim our power - power that we can only effect when we make an effort to move past the opaque shield of selfishness, greed, anger and malice that clouds our true power to create value in our life and in the lives of others.

Businesses will have to engage and inspire the human capital that they rely on, and we will each have to inspire each other to embrace positive change, to reclaim that power that each of us has to make our best choices every day. The problems and challenges that we face are not due to a lack of knowledge. They are due to a lack of heart. If we continue to make the wrong individual and collective choices, if we continue to act and react with egos that have run wild and consume everything in their path, then we will not only fail to create the best of times, but we risk falling into an abyss of chaos from which we may not emerge. If we destroy our fellow human beings and our planet, if we fall into the abyss of destruction, it will not be because technology or science let us down. It will be because we let each other down.

We each share the air we breathe and the planet that we live on. Whilst we live with a fierce illusion of proprietary rights, we all know that in the end there is no ownership. All that we have in the material world leaves us when we leave this Earth.

We have the power now to reach past what was and to create what will be. We can seize the present moment to affect the best of times for ourselves, our children, our families and our fellow human beings. The best of times means that our basic survival needs are met, and that these needs become the basic right of each human being. The best of times means that we stop killing each other and the planet that we live on and start working together for the greater good of all.

It is time to grow our hearts the way we have grown our collective body of knowledge and intelligence. It is time to stop looking at the differences between us and embrace each other as sisters and brothers in the human chain. Each link is important, each moment cannot be replaced.

If you want to see a positive difference, decide to begin now to BE the difference. Realize that we are all interconnected, and the little ripple that you make by offering peace and goodwill to another person - to as many people as you can - will empower you and others to open their hearts and their arms in peace and goodwill to their fellow man. The time is now. The choice is yours and it is ours.

Joy to the world.

© 2004 Irene Becker, Certified Coach The above message is from my weekly mailing, 'Just Joy.' Please subscribe on my website, Just Coach It, under the newsletter tab.

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