​Gratitude and the Need for a New Normal

Published on
July 1, 2020
Time to read: 
Black eyed Susans in garden
Image is of a spray of Black Eyed Susans growing at the edge of a driveway, with a decorative wagon wheel leaning against posts behind the flowers. Taken by author in 2013. Symbolism: Black Eyed Susans symbolize encouragement and motivation. Grow Details: Black Eyed Susans are extremely hardy plants, and very tolerant of different conditions.

I’d like to start by acknowledging that I am writing this blog from traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee territory. I am grateful to be able to live, work, learn and play on these lands. I’m grateful to share these lands with Indigenous peoples who still live on these lands today, Wednesday July 1, 2020.

I’m grateful to be living in a safe home, with potable water, indoor plumbing, and electricity (some of it generated by the solar panels on our roof).

I’m grateful to have income security, with a defined benefit military pension. I’m grateful that my spouse and I are each able to pursue our dreams of creating a better world for future generations through our respective businesses. He is helping create a more energy efficient built environment, and I’m doing my bit for equality, diversity and inclusion, with the aim of helping people learn how they, their organizations and communities can thrive.

I’m grateful that my immediate family and friends enjoy relatively good health, and that we have access to health and dental care, within 120 km radius from our homes.

I’m grateful for food security, affordable grocery stores and local businesses like butchers, bakers and delis, for being able to buy food from local farmers, and being able to grow some of our own food.

I’m grateful that quality education and training is readily available, both online and within a 50 km radius from our home. While we’re at it, I’m grateful for unlimited Internet, with relatively decent speed and capacity to serve a variety of IoT devices.  (IoT = Internet of Things)

I’m grateful for the opportunities the pandemic has brought my way. The opportunity to have meaningful conversations about the new normal many of us would like to help create, and to take action on creating systemic change.

I’m grateful for the time to reflect on what is important to me, and how I can help create the new normal I envision. One where everyone is treated with respect, regardless of what they do for work, their level of education, what language they speak, or any other “difference.” Where all have an opportunity to earn a living wage, or to receive a guaranteed basic income. Where there is significantly less wage discrepancy between celebrities and those who actually make our society possible, people like the front-line workers at grocery stores, farms, and manufacturing plants. A world where we realize it makes more sense to use renewable energy sources, than to continue pouring money into the fossil fuel industry. A world where we care more about growing food than growing lawns. A world where everyone has a safe home, with potable water, food security, indoor plumbing and electricity. A world where everyone has access to affordable health and dental care, public transportation, internet and a sense of community. A world where we respect the planet and nurture the rich biodiversity before it all disappears. A world where all children can thrive.

I’m grateful to live in the land most people call Canada. I’m grateful to be “Canadian.” There are many good things about living here.

That being said, Canada is a work in progress. Canada tried to commit genocide on the Indigenous peoples who first lived on these lands, thousands of years before European colonizers arrived and chose to make their homes here.

There is still systemic bias, discrimination and racism in most organizations and communities across these lands.

There are people, from all backgrounds and ethnicities, living in poverty, without access to potable water, food security, and safe housing. Without access to affordable basic necessities of life. Without an opportunity to earn a living wage. Without reasonably nearby medical and dental coverage, quality and respectful education and training, or sufficient internet access to allow for at least some of the things that most people in the lands we call Canada take for granted. Some of the people in these circumstances live in urban settings, others live in remote communities, where their families have lived for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

I’m humbled by the enormity of changing our “normal” to a “new normal” where everyone can thrive.

I’m honoured to learn from those whose lived experiences are vastly different from mine.

I pledge to continue doing my bit to help create the new normal I wish for our future.  Please join me in learning what you can, and acting in whatever way you can to help usher in a new normal where we can all thrive.  Every action, no matter how small, will help us reach the tipping point.
Thank you.