This is the text of the Clean Slate Guide. A printed version is available from our office (address on our homepage).
"Can we all do something in 1999 to wipe our slates clean? If every one of us takes at least one practical step, it would contribute to the New Millennium in a different way."
How will you be celebrating the New Millennium?
Some of us have planned our festivities long ago, either at home or in a far-off place. For others the very word is a switch-off. The excitement - or boredom! - will build up as people the world over decide exactly how they will celebrate this extraordinary moment.
What is the point of it all?
For Christians it is the birthday celebration of a baby born 2000 years ago - an event which date-stamped the history of much of the world. For Jews, Muslims, Hindus and those of other faiths - as well as those who run a mile from the word 'religion' - it is still an opportunity.
The newspapers, television and radio will be full of analysis of the Old Millennium. The good and the bad, peace and war. Some lessons learnt, others forgotten. This review will include mankind's astonishing creative advances in the arts and sciences. The more efficient ways of producing food for an ever increasing world population. The amazing developments in communication. The glory - as well as the horror - of the last Millennium will be fully recounted.
But what about each of us? What have we contributed to the last Millennium? Even more important, what are we going to contribute to the next? Approaching the New Millennium is a chance to have a think as well as a party.
What has all this got to do with the Clean Slate Campaign?
Most of us if we are honest can think of things we have done which we regret, or not done which we wish we had. Try as we might to forget about them, the memory remains - like a piece of baggage which we continue to carry about with us, although we would rather not. What if we could find a way to leave that baggage behind?
The Clean Slate Campaign knows of a 14 year-old who stole something from a shop. "I was really excited at first," he says, "but I knew it was wrong." He told his father and together they went to the shop to return the stolen item. The store detective gave the boy a severe ticking off, but recognising the boy's courage in owning up, did not press charges. "The second I got out of the store," the boy remembers, "I felt great! Absolutely amazingly free and I vowed never to do it again."
Consider what happened to one of the campaign organisers. It has become one of the catalysts for the Clean Slate Campaign. Two or three friends had unintentionally annoyed him, so he responded in rather a nasty way that hurt them. On reflection he decided to apologise to his somewhat surprised friends. All friendships have been restored. He felt as though a burden had been lifted off his shoulders, as those friendships were important.
These two simple stories illustrate how 'Cleaning the Slate' will make a difference to life. They are only two examples. We know there are literally hundreds, probably thousands, more. They must range from dealing with addictions of various kinds to ending stupid on-going arguments which on reflection are really trivial but nevertheless hurtful in one way or another. The two-inches-of-garden-fence-row could be a classic.
Of course there are more serious matters whose burden may be intolerable. Saying sorry is never easy. Forgiving is just as difficult. Admitting you have done something wrong is hard - but always worth it.
It is all too easy to be weighed down by the baggage we carry from the past. For instance a backlog of matters undealt-with in the home or at work. Deeper things such as hurts, resentments, fears, guilts, and prejudices can be excess baggage as well. Not everything can be put behind us, nor should everything be forgotten, but much could be forgiven and also much could be left behind in the Old Millennium instead of being carried into the next.
Wouldn't it be wonderfully refreshing to start the New Millennium with a clean slate? And what about the effect on our country if enough of us did?
Could we as individuals, communities and even as a country, use 1999 to take positive steps towards wiping our slates clean? If all of us took at least one practical step, it would certainly contribute to making it a happier and kinder millennium.
The Clean Slate Campaign is inviting everyone to sign the 'Clean Slate Promise' which says: "I promise to take at least one practical step during 1999 towards wiping my slate clean." If you would like to sign the Promise as a reminder there is one printed on the paper version of this Guide. It is purely for your own use. You may like to stick it up on your fridge.
By the way, we who have started this campaign have our own baggage, and are working at cleaning our own slates. The whole idea of the campaign grew out of a simple personal experience one of us had. It is described in this Guide. We are applying it to ourselves before offering it to anyone else!
Just stop for a moment and consider the sort of questions we have been asking ourselves.
Does something come readily to mind that I should not have done? Or something I know perfectly well I should have done, but haven't? It could be something tiny - like clearing out a cupboard - or, who knows, something more important.
Is there someone to whom I should apologise? Equally, have I brushed someone off when they said sorry to me? Have I at times been more than abrupt - bad tempered or even violent through excess of drink? Perhaps I have been just plain horrid about people who I think are inferior to me, maybe because of their colour, class or gender.
Are we doing enough ourselves to stop the ruining of our environment? Just chucking a sweet paper out of the car window doesn't help. But putting our bottles and garbage in the correct containers does. And what about turning off unnecessary lights and only using one towel at a time?!
Don't be afraid of starting simply. Sign the 'Clean Slate Promise', reflect on it and then do something. Admitting to yourself a wrong doing, no matter how small, is the start of cleaning your slate. Who knows, it could lead to something greater!
If you'd like to make it more than just a personal step, become an 'ambassador' for the campaign. Tell everyone you know about the idea. Spread the word around your friends and the people you meet - your family, your street, your school or university, your business or factory.
We can supply you with more copies of this Guide, as well as posters and car stickers. If you register with us, we will send you our newsletters updating you on progress.
If you have an experience of cleaning your slate which you think would help us, you may like to write and tell us, letting us know if you prefer to remain anonymous. We undertake not to disclose anyone's name if they prefer to remain anonymous.
There are two simple guidelines to this campaign:
First it is about personal response - about what 'I' and 'we' can do, not about what 'you' or 'they' should do. Suggestions about how others should clean their slate are outside the spirit of the campaign.
Secondly, you are under no obligation whatsoever to tell anyone what action you decide to take. It is a private matter whether you choose to share it with others or not.
If you want to take some action to clean your slate, but feel you need help, you may wish to contact one of the following:
* Your local place of WORSHIP (Church, Synagogue, Masjid, Temple, etc.)
* RELATE - for help in your marriage
* ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS - which is self explanatory
* If the burden is too much and you feel you need immediate help, then the SAMARITANS are a wonderful and caring organisation
Phone numbers for these organisations can be found in your local telephone directory.