We have about three days left for remembering the old year and planning for the new year. Dreaming up new dreams. Setting new heights. Asking simple questions. Struggling with honest answers.

Part of dreaming new dreams and setting new goals, is a desire to give back more to life than receiving. Looking back on this year, I’ve seen our human soiety grasped in the claws of spending. We were/are admired for our talents. For our beautiful homes. And our beautiful blogs. For our wonderful recipes. Our creativity. We have friends across the globe, praising us for our kindness, gentleness, goodness. It has driven me to ask some simple questions during this time.  A time  which inspires real hope and renewal. Change. Growth..

Have you been grateful this past year, content with what you have? Without a desire for what you don’t yet have?

Have you given back more than you received?

Have you brought fresh vegetables to the grumpy old lady/man down the street whenever you brought back your own loaded bags? Do you even know a grumpy old lady for whom you could have dropped a fresh bread?

Have you dropped a coin in the hands of the beggar, or have you justified your simply walking past that it would have just be going for alcohol anyway…could you have helped in some different way…something that took more trouble, more effort…started making a difference? Have you even given it any thought after just walking on? Or have you just turned your head and started thinking of dinner?

Have you done anything consciously for charity, effort, planning, effort – just as you would do it for yourself? Or were you very busy.

Have you ever spent some of your precious time to go an old age home to read to the elderly? Do you know any elderly people? Do you know their fears? Their fascinating stories? Their needs? Or do you only hope to not grow into such an old sour prune?

Have you contributed in any way positively to our environment? Have you ever been to the dump yard? Talked to the people working there? Have you ever taken a pie and shared a coffee with them? Have you ever woken up early to thank the garbage workers for the work they do?

Could you have  cared more in an unspending way for your dear ones? Without the aid of money. Without the aid of material things. Just you and your time. Your effort.

Could you have cared more in an unspending way for friends? For your community?

Did you run to the store to buy something to make you feel better, to rid you of depression, to lift your mood? Did you run to an stock full  pantry to indulge in foods of all choices and flavours to wallow in your awful life?

Have you given a shoulder to someone in need?  Reached out to a complete stranger?

Have you taken a dinner for someone at  her/his home who was just simply tired, worn out, or just because you wanted to?

Have you done something special for someone, not so YOU could  feel good afterwards, but because he/she needed it? Without receiving a thank you, without caring about a thank you?

Have you complained constantly about your circumstances and then got into a warm bed, luxurious bedlinen, having had a hot meal, even having sipped a glass of wine? Or complained about your misfortune…or about being misunderstood….or neglected?

Have you complained about your circumstances and then had had the luxury of  ice in your drink or a cool glass of water to quench your thirst…turning the tap and having had water running freely to fill a bath to your heart’s content?

Have you written down at the end of each day how many good things life had handed you during the course of the day? Have you even noticed it?

On a bad day, have you even tried to find something good in your life?

Have you sat quietly and really listened to someone’s else’s fears, dried her/his tears without thinking of your own hurt, or comparing to your own hurt, but could only feel the sadness of this person?

Were you quick to rationalize and justify your own reasons or motives, your jealousy, your envy, your anger, your hurt…

Were you spiteful…were you critical…were you judgmental…were you righteous…

Were you deeply sorry after harsh words…did you admit it, say it out loud?

Were you ashamed after harsh behaviour…did you acknowledge it, say it out loud?

Have you sat down and wondered, marvelled at this wondrous thing called life?

What small things have you done,  unnoticed by your friends and family, society… just because?

….And so these simple questions are never ending. One leads to another. Looking us straight on with raised eyebrows. Awaiting a response.  Can we meet the straight stare? Can we be be honest in our answers? Do they make us look ahead differently? Will they change anything?

May 2010 be less about ourselves.

May we care more about the world around us. Our community.The bigger picture.

May we use our talents and our good fortunes to make the world better for everyone.

May we live each day with a long list of gratitudes. Small ones. Important ones.

May we give more attention to the small, insignificant aspects of life. May they grow and become life changing.

May we give in abundance. Love. Time. Attention. Care. Empathy. Understanding…

May we receive with grace. Love, Teachings. Lessons. Help. Advice…

May we ALL grow in wisdom and get to that place which is called peace. Contentment. Happiness. Understanding.


A Wonderful, rich 2010 to all.

19 thoughts on “An introspective last three days of 2009.

  1. So much food for thought~In many areas I can hang my head in shame..:( In others I can stare straight in the face with happiness.
    I have a lot of room to grow..God isn’t finished with me yet as they say~
    I can only hope and keep trying to be a better individual.
    I am reading a wonderful book Jain sent me while away..The Messenger.. The old adage about you cannot judge a book by it’s cover is quintessentially true in this case..We have usually shared pretty cover books:) This one said nothing to me..the cover…
    I am enjoying it so much..and so far..it’s about someone making other peoples lives..better ..or happier..
    Your timing is perfect..with your words..and that book ..I have the inspiration to try harder.
    Thank you.. And Bonne Année~
    I won’t even crab about our mail system:) I will just wait patiently..and kindly:)And I will tell you honestly even your lovely photos lead to reflexion~


  2. A beautiful beautiful post. As I too will be taking some introspective time over the next few days, I will keep your post handy. Thank you Ronell.


  3. Merci, Ronell, for that kick in the conscience. It’s something we all need from time to time. It’s a subject my daughter and I found a bit of time to talk about over the holidays, and I believe we will be reminding each other of it over the whole of 2010. I cannot say why we sometimes insulate and isolate ourselves, but I always feel so much better when I don’t. We’re all passengers on this little blue boat in the big black. Joy to you and yours, dear lady.


  4. Things that needed to be said, Ronell. May we all ask questions of the mirror and may we all contribute to that peace.
    I wish you happiness, not just for New Year, but always.


  5. Wonderful post, great things to hold onto throughout the year.

    I wish you a peaceful 2010, and thanks for the friend add on foodbuzz!


  6. Ronell, these are some great thoughts to meditate upon indeed. They make me want to be a better person in 2010. We can always improve!
    The thought that went into this post shows what a wonderful, caring person you are.
    May 2010 be especially wonderful to you and yours.
    All my best, Dana


  7. What a beautiful and touching post , Ronnel. I always be grateful for all the life offer me . When I pray I like to thank first, is very important and most of the people just ask and forget to thanks 😉
    Have a wonderful and plenty 2010


  8. A beauitful and thought provoking post. Wishing you and yours all the best in 2010. I look forward very much to more from My French Kitchen. xx


  9. i got lost in your photos (that’s a good thing)
    the bokeh in the crabapples is superb! i also really like the idea of capturing the footprints down the snowy stair case


  10. What a beautiful, thought-provoking post Ronell. This year, probably more than any other, I have tried consciously to list all the things I have to be grateful for in my head – it has become my favourite way of falling asleep every night – so much better than counting sheep and damn you wake up feeling good!


    It is so true that the best thing we can give other people is our time and attention and love, rather than throwing money at the problem and buying expensive guilt gifts. I would far rather donate my time to a charity than send cash (although I understand that cash is needed too!!). I know I am guilty of complaining abotu how hard my life is when there isn’t a single hard thing about it, just some mild annoyances. And I absolutely cringe when the talking heads come on the TV to say that what the British economy needs to recover is for people to SPEND SPEND SPEND and revive the retail sector. Surely there must be another way?? i love shops as much as the next person, but there is utterly no way to spend yourself happy… or solvent!

    I wish you fulfilment, health and love for 2010.


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