Each year as we welcome in a new year, most of us are filled with eager anticipation, hope and optimism for what’s to come. 2020 began like this, BUT… it didn’t take long for it to turn into the stuff of nightmares.

A mysterious virus called COVID-19 suddenly emerged and started killing thousands of us. Government officials ordered us to wear face masks, stay home, stay away from everyone, closed schools, closed businesses, closed movies and restaurants, stopped travel and all forms of public entertainment.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, next came deadly wildfires that ravaged Australia and California, the president was impeached, murder hornets arrived, violent protests and mayhem erupted after police needlessly killed a black man, the bottom dropped out of the stock market and we suffered through another contentious presidential election.

All of us have been facing unprecedented challenges with no idea how to cope with any of them. You – and nearly everyone around you – is carrying some level of grief because of it.

The positive side of all this suffering is that it brought grief out of the shadows. With light shining on grief, it can be dealt with.

So, how do you stop the suffering and all that goes with it? How can you make your life, and maybe even the world, better?

We all have a longing to escape suffering, to be more resilient and move forward to a better place.

I think transcending grief starts with kindness and compassion, for yourself and others. Try to step out of seeing yourself as a victim and reach out to help someone else in distress. It can be a life changing experience.

Another way to transcend grief is through gratitude. Now, you may be thinking it’s not possible to be grateful when there has been so much loss and devastation.

It’s hard… I know. Maybe you lost someone to COVID… maybe you lost your job… or your business collapsed because it couldn’t survive without revenue… maybe your home was incinerated by fire… or rioting affected you somehow.

My mom died this year. And so did a few people I know die from COVID. I found myself feeling anxiety, fear, anger, depression and negativity. My suffering and grief brought a sense of hopelessness at times. Life has been incredibly hard this year.

We are social beings and we need a sense of connectedness for our overall physical and emotional well-being. We’re happiest during special moments with family and friends because during these times we are fully in the present moment. We aren’t worrying about the past or stressing over the future. We’re simply in the love-filled present.

Only in the present moment can you escape the past of yesterday and the problems of tomorrow. Being In the now promotes empathy, compassion, relaxation, appreciation, connectedness and self-esteem.

In less than nine days, 2020 will be one for the history books and we will usher in the brand new year 2021. I hope you’re feeling optimistic.

It’s time for you to experience some happiness. Give it to yourself… there is no monetary cost. Fill your mind with gratitude. Release the unending supply of gloom and doom. Connect with others. Find purpose. Be present.

I wish you and your loved ones abundant health, happiness and prosperity now and in the upcoming new year…