We have been seeing a lot of memes lately talking about how much people want to forget 2016. For many, this was a terrible year.
For us, not so much. This is the year we were incorporated, received our nonprofit status, and completed our first pilot program—the InSchools program at Blacksburg Middle School. We were offered grants from local donors and the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism, and thanks to all this support, we are heading into a year in which we are increasing our InSchools program six-fold and commencing our InSide program with the Department of Juvenile Justice, in which we will be working with teens on probation. No, for us 2016 was a great year, but not just for these reasons. Let’s look at a few more that hopefully you can relate to:
- Trees are growing faster today than they have for millennia, thanks to global warming.
- President-elect Trump will be the first President since Hoover to not accept a salary.
- Violence is being committed at a lower rate globally than ever before.
- We are currently experiencing a record period of continued job growth in the USA.
- The people of the world are more interconnected than we have ever been.
- Mindfulness is becoming ever more popular, and its biggest supporter in Congress, Tim Ryan, is a rising star, who this year challenged Nancy Pelosi to be House Democratic Leader.
- Correspondingly, research on the effects of mindfulness is growing almost exponentially.
- Communities everywhere are opting to be recognized as compassionate cities.
- The US crime rate is at a historic low.
- The standard of living has increased steadily in the US over the past eight years.
- There is a far smaller percentage of the global population living in poverty than ever before in recorded history.
- World hunger has dropped considerably over the past 20 years.
- The popularity of farmers markets around the US continues to grow, suggesting that we are—as a nation—eating healthier, fresher food than we have for a long time.
- Renewable energy is now providing nearly a quarter of the world’s power.
- You took somewhere around eight million breaths this year, and your heart beat about 40 million times. That’s nearly 50 million times your body kept you alive just this year. Now, that’s a great year!