A New Year’s Wish: Ask what you can do for your world!

The countdown is ticking: 10,9,8,7,6,5,,3,2,1..Happy New Year!

In the light of recent tragic events, I sub-consciously found myself reworking the words of President John F. Kennedy. Indeed, in  this rogue terrorist era where there seems to be no respect for national boundaries, this variation seems far more appropriate:

“Ask not what the world can do for you, ask what you can do for your world- Rowena.

It is my heartfelt desire that we now extend our vision way beyond our own back pockets. As overwhelming as it may feel at times, somehow we need to attain a more global perspective and not just switch off because it’s” happening somewhere “over there .  We need to switch on to both the good and the bad of what’s happening elsewhere and have a heart. It is our world and it’s the only world we’ve got. Moreover, both spiritually and environmentally, it’s pretty obvious that it’s long past time to act. Our world is gasping  for breath with a breaking heart but we still have hope.

This is a big paradigm shift for me personally. I’m more of a “think local” sort and there is always more than enough to do here but that no longer means switching off to the bigger picture but somehow just stretching my boundaries a little. That’s what growth’s about.

The baddies have always been out there somewhere.

The baddies have always been out there somewhere.

Meanwhile, the “baddies” are still out there. Moreover, as recent events have shown, they’re no longer over there but also over here.

As much as we would like to believe that we are well-camouflaged among the hundreds and thousands, who’s to say we or someone we love dearly won’t suddenly be plucked out of the multitude? Be one of the unfortunate “chosen ones”?

Hero-victim of the Lindt Cafe Siege Katrina Dawson was just going out for a morning hot chocolate with a colleague and friend. Tori Johnson, was just going to work just like Principal Tahira Qazi who was shot a day later in in Pakistan. These were just ordinary people leading ordinary lives. Eight children died in Cairns seemingly murdered by their mother and aunt…just ordinary kids.

Who is immune?Who?

Me, of course.

Statistically-speaking,  it would have to be a particularly stupid terrorist to see our place as any kind of target. It’s certainly not the Taj Mahal or the Sydney Opera House. The only way a terrorist would get here was if they got lost.  Indeed, they’d have to be very lost. They wouldn’t  even bother knocking on my door for directions to somewhere strategic. We’re a long way off the beaten track unless perhaps they’re heading to the beach.

That said, I won’t be staying home forever. At the moment, our whole family in on holidays living in some blissful state of suspended animation. The kids are currently playing with the dogs and I would be spending some time at the beach if it weren’t for the broken foot and the mega cough. Very few of us live in a concrete bunker and neither do those we love. We catch the train. Enjoy a show at the Opera House and might even pause for a hot chocolate and a chat with a friend.

Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed vaccine against evil or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In 2014, we have witnessed yet again the harm that one or the few can inflict on the many. It is my heartfelt prayer for 2015 that the good of this world can come together and have a truly transformative impact. Turn the mountain of evil on its head so humanity can learn what it is to love and be loved on a global scale. Surely, this doesn’t have to be a rosy-coloured fantasy? That together, we can all join hands and somehow make it happen. After all, it’s amazing what people will do to achieve profit and greed! Just imagine how our world would change if we also applied that strength, focus and determination to being nice to each other instead?!!

The power of love.

The power of love. Photo: Rowena

The Golden Rule: Treat Others As You Would Like to be Treated!

However, that change isn’t going to come easily. It will come at a personal cost. Starting out small, it begins with you and me. The trouble is that despite our best intentions, we are still only human. Made of yin and yang. Let’s hope and pray that if we each make just a few small changes, the forces of good could gain enough momentum to turn things around. After all, just as one person has done so much harm, one person can do so much good!!


Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste,

it is better that you should leave your

work and sit at the gate of the temple

and take alms of those who work with joy.

Khalil Gibran

Be the change. Photo: Rowena

Be the change. Photo: Rowena

However, when it comes to making these changes myself, I am more than aware of my own feet of clay…one of which is currently broken too, by the way. For me, all these good intentions begin at home with my husband and kids. It is easy to wax lyrically writing lofty, philosophical principles. It is so much harder to walk the talk 24/7.My house is a mess and I struggle to teach my own kids the golden rule, even through my own example. However, that doesn’t mean that I should just give up.  Throw my hands in the air or fall in the mud on my sword. Like all of us, I just need to keep walking with God in my heart and “Try! Try! Try!”


2015 is the UN International Year of Light and Light Based Technologies. After the moral darkness of the last weeks, this seemed like quite the antidote. We have been through the darkness and now we are heading for the light. Well, this theme seems to  be focusing more on the physical not metaphorical properties of light but perhaps we can adopt our own slant. I am certainly going to light a candle or two and let the light shine through the darkness.


Love. Photo: Rowena

Through this blog, I have really managed to connect with a whole range of people around the world. Through the eyes of a little white dog, I have experienced a touch of Hawaii. I have been to India and enjoyed a meal. I have been to Ireland connected with a families all over the world. Shared words, art, photography and walked in so many different pairs of shoes and I’m sure I’ve become more enlightened by stretching my boundaries getting to know all these incredible, intelligent and thoughtful people.You have changed me and my world.

Now, let’s back to writing down those resolutions.

Hmm…It looks like giving up chocolate can wait. Now, in 2015, just being plain nice is so much more important!

Arnott's Nice Biscuit

Arnott’s Nice Biscuit

13 thoughts on “A New Year’s Wish: Ask what you can do for your world!

  1. roweeee Post author

    Hi Jo,
    Thanks so much for the reblog. I was still working on my Christmas newsletter and thought these sentiments were better shifted over to the blog for a post. Wishing you and yours a wonderful New Year and let’s hope for a year of light! xx Rowena

  2. Pingback: A New Year's Wish: Ask what you can do for your world! | Gaia Gazette

  3. merrildsmith

    That was lovely, Rowena, although sad that it has to be said. I especially liked your comments about light and relating them to the UN international year. I’m glad you and your family are still enjoying outings. Enjoy your chocolate and celebrate the coming of 2015. All best, Merril

  4. roweeee Post author

    Thank you very much, Merril. It certainly made me feel more optimistic about next year and that we were turning the corner into something at least potentially better. Like so many of us, I always feel like the New Year is a new beginning even though there’s still the same cast of characters and we really haven’t changed that much, if at all from the year before. But, a new year provides a clean slate and opportunity for progress. Thank you for your wishes for the New year. xx Rowena

  5. YemYola

    Nice indeed Rowena. We need to be nice to each other. What came to my mind now is how perfect the word of God is when it says:
    ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’
    Most of us love ourselves. If we think about how we’ll feel if someone else steps on our toes, it might caution the way we act/behave towards others.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. roweeee Post author

    That is definitely a great verse, YemYola. Not enough people are doing that and are too quick to defend their own interests instead of thinking of others or looking at the bigger picture. I also love the verse from Corinthians 13: “love is patient Love is kind…” That has so much truth. There is also that line from To Kill a Mockingbird which I have always loved:
    “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
    ― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
    I must have remembered this quote incorrectly from when I studied the book back at school and we didn’t have Google to quickly verify things back then and thought it was about walking around in someone else’s shoes. Skin is a much more intimate process and I guess also highlights the impact of racism etc as well. xx Rowena

  7. roweeee Post author

    Yes, I was feeling characteristically optimistic about the New Year and that after the siege in Sydney and the massacre in Pakistan that people might learn. If you read my most recent post by my dog Bilbo, he really gets stuck into whether humans can learn new tricks and he like me is looking at the Golden Rule as a good place to start. The only trouble is, he discovers is cats and when you think about the enmity between cats and dogs which has gone on forever, it is a good parallel to some of the history between Muslims and Christians. There are some cats and dogs who are friends and he decides this is the way forward but further research is required.

  8. Pingback: Bloggers Unite for a Better World: 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion | beyondtheflow

  9. Pingback: Walking Through Martin Place: 6 Weeks After the Sydney Siege. | beyondtheflow

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.