Finding Hope When All Seems Hopeless In The Holiday Season
The year is coming to a close; for some of us, it is a time of hope, joy, and promise. For some of us, it is a time of struggle, uncertainty, and concern. Our world is experiencing climate change, civil rights in the US are constantly under attack, white nationalism is on the rise, secure employment doesn't seem to exist, and higher prices seem like they are here to stay. The sun still rises, most of us breathe freely, and while things might be tough, we have many things in life to be thankful for. No matter the tough times, joy comes in the morning, figuratively and literally. I contacted Clark Atlanta University professor Dr. Daniel Black to speak about hope even when you're hopeless.
I asked Black what he shares with people trying to shake the funk that sometimes comes with the holiday season. He speaks about the need to avoid the "Greed Trap." Often, during the holiday period, we celebrate with excess. Excess eating and spending, and we must resist the urge to accumulate more, often making us less content. Black also encourages us to take a "pause" and to look at God and not People.
Another part of the holiday excess is events and activities, which could run you all over town to make it to this gala and that party. It is often hard to say no, even when our bodies say it needs rest. Black shares that it is hard to say no because 98% of our worth depends on what others think about us. Instead, we need to worry about what GOD thinks about us. The need for humans to garner applause or points for doing this or that is hard to resist. Black insists we must realize our value doesn't change because of this applause.
While new beginnings happen every day, each week, quarterly, and monthly, the pressure of setting goals for the New Year is different. There are vision board gatherings and group meditations, and we all need to get ready to attack the New Year with goals and intentions intact.
Some of us are still considering the goals we made in January 2023. Can we take January off and set goals in February? Black explains that the key to setting goals might be a vision board or listing resolutions, but the key won't help you without discipline. Some of us see discipline as punishment, but discipline is "the method of completing a task." We can teach ourselves discipline by choosing and completing that one thing before adding another. It is undisciplined to attempt more than one goal. He speaks about the nature of our society, where we are rearing people to be undisciplined. Instead of discipline, we are more concerned with efficiency and convenience. He speaks about finding consistency in nature. The sun rises every morning.
Black explains that our charge is to search for excellence; to get to that place, we need discipline and consistency. His last book, Black on Black: On Our Resilience and Brilliance in America, is a must-read. He explores the establishment of institutions built by our ancestors. He speaks to the discipline and consistency it took for them, without any of the technological advances today, to build institutions that still stand.
For more information on Dr. Daniel Black