Pausing To Reflect – Let’s Do It Now

Woman thinking

Image credit: Robert Couse-Baker, Flickr CC-BY 2.0

How often do we take the time to reflect on what we are doing, to look at our goals and how we go about our daily lives?

A lot of us (particularly in Western cultures) might do this once a year. We take part in the annual ritual at the end of the year, setting New Year’s Resolutions. Even then, we probably don’t go very deep, preferring instead to focus on broad lifestyle goals like ‘lose weight’, ‘get fit’ or ‘give up smoking’. And we are half-hearted and don’t set our goals the right way.  So, by mid-January, a lot of resolutions have been broken. (In fact, how many of our resolutions last even to mid-January?! ;))

But what if there was another way? (And, no, this post is not drifting off into management or psychology.)

Many cultures and many faiths recognise and embrace the importance of rhythms in our life – not just daily rhythms, but also the (seasonal) rhythms across the year.

One of the rhythms they have is a set period each year to pause for reflection.

  • Christians are supposed to do this in Lent.  There is a focus on abstention, righting wrongs, and study.
  • The Muslim equivalent is Ramadan.  Muslims take Ramadan very seriously. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the ‘Five Pillars of Islam’. Muslims use this month to ‘re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic guidance’, reflecting the big focus of Ramadan on spiritual reflection.

Ramadan starts soon, so now is a good time for all of us – whether or not we follow Islam – to take some time re-evaluating how we go about our lives.

Earth is our home, a precious gift that requires our care – something we humans have generally neglected – or worse – in recent times.

We are now seeing and experiencing the consequences of that neglect and wanton destruction. For example, climate change is disrupting the natural balance of Earth’s physical systems that support us. We see this as temperature records tumble (by increasingly large amounts) and increasing weather extremes stretch infrastructure and services beyond their limits – not to mention the huge human and economic toll.

We now have no choice but to live with these consequences.

Whether we stop making the problems worse (and start caring for our precious Earth that is our life-support system) and how we adapt to the changes already in train (including caring for others) are great moral challenges.

Let’s take the opportunity of joining with our Muslim sisters and brothers to heed the signs and step up to the challenge.

During the coming month, let’s examine some aspects of our lives and begin making some changes commensurate with the size and urgency of the climate emergency now unfolding.

Over the next 5 weeks, I will be writing posts covering:

  • How a carbon fast can help focus the mind and change behaviour
  • How ‘down-time’ can be used for change
  • How to ensure your money works for to protect our precious environment, not destroy it
  • How people of faith can take action on climate change
  • Ways to harness an election year for the greater good.

As preparation for the month ahead, please take the time to read the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change. It only takes a few minutes and I’m sure you’ll find it enlightening and encouraging for the journey ahead.

Action checklist

  • Set aside an hour or two over the next month for reflection
  • Read the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change
  • Leave a comment in the Reply box below…or send me a voice message by clicking on the tab on the right.

Till next time…be gentle to yourself and our world!

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