Encore: What trail or legacy will you leave?

Encore: What trail or legacy will you leave?

In praise of my job as columnist…Thank you so much for the great responses Encore has been receiving. It is indeed a privilege when journalism is about two-way communication rather than just one person’s (often dim-witted) opinion. A few people felt that it is this kind of journalism that should be “on the front pages of newspapers nationally.” Don’t know about that, but completely understand where they are coming from.
One can understand some people’s responses for, when one writes about the murders and rapes and the general crime in the city (and the country) and more particularly about the loss of humanity, people usually say they too think about it; it was on their minds as well. I may be the lucky one who has the access to get my words out there.

And for that I am truly thankful. And, what I try to do as often as I can, is to make their contributions part of my access.
Many agree with what I have to say about loss of humanity, but many also asked questions about what human beings could do to reclaim their humanity. Is there a daily plan that one can follow and how does even begin to create a plan like that?

This is a difficult one to answer. We each need our own unique day-by-day map, I believe. I can say what it means for me and I can even comment on how those people closest to me choose to live their daily lives, but beyond that I reckon it’s all up to each individual.
And, at the risk of coming across all obvious, preachy or even supercilious, for me it translates into being the best human being I can be – making contributions not only to the amelioration of my own life, but that of others; being more aware, more conscious of one’s surroundings and of the people around us, and most importantly being more compassionate.

It is about striving towards having utmost consideration and respect for my own life and that of others. In a word it means my having to get up each day and being thankful to have that day to make contributions and to have another 24 hours to strive to become the best I can be. It means another day to have the opportunity to spread good cheer and love – the ultimate weapon to fight the afflictions of our times. That is all anyone really has. And I know it sounds almost too simplistic and clichéd, but a cliché, I believe, has earned its hackneyed status for a reason…

Our lives thus far are the sum total of the choices we have made. It therefore stands to reason that from this day on we are able to make that path of choices go in the direction we want it to go. My daily plan includes at least one deed that I can call truly altruistic and at least one that is done just for me – whether it is a hug or a smile or a friendly greeting or whether it might mean helping someone out without wanting anything in return.

We had an interesting road trip at the weekend. Four of us in a car talking about the direction our lives are going…and I realized that inner struggles are real. People genuinely struggle to make their lives mean something. And it is difficult to find direction these days, amidst the many distractions. Let’s face it, not everyone has the predilection towards staying focused. One thing came out strongly: striving towards the purity of one’s heart is what this is really about. And, as one begins to make this a part of one’s daily routine one begins to feel the glorious exchange of energy in everything that one does – for oneself and for humanity.

And all of a sudden good things come back to you in so many other evocative ways. It may not be the best mantra, but I do believe that we should not just “go where the path may lead, but that each of us should try to go instead where there is no path and perhaps leave a trail.”

rafiek@mweb.co.za