“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mohandas Gandhi
If you haven’t come across that quote at some point in your life, then man… you have been living under a rock! It’s everywhere, and even though I tend to be a fan of the obscure, it’s one of my all-time faves. It states simple, profound truth. So…how do we take this nugget of enlightenment and apply it to our daily lives? I believe it is achieved through grace, honest self-evaluation and commitment.
To be the change, you must act. It is not a passive position. But what can we do when our emotions and even our own beliefs block our ability to act? When I am feeling discouraged, immobilized, or otherwise crappy, I allow the emotions to rise and crest. I go to my heart and gather some compassion. I reach into my kitchen cabinet and grab some dark chocolate. After enjoying a healthy helping of each, I let it go. Even if it creeps back in, I let it go. I know that attaching too much meaning to emotions is futile, because they aren’t based on truth. They are based on interpretations and perceptions, and IN truth, are always signals to ACT. So, as Gandhi suggests, here are the little and not-so-little ways I step into being:
- When I wish there was more love in the world, I say a prayer for someone. I write a loving note on a friend’s Facebook wall, offer my help to someone who needs support, or I hug my son. I do something loving for myself. I take a warm bath or listen to inspiring, beautiful music. Or I take a warm bath WHILE listening to inspiring, beautiful music! I remind myself that it is my will to weave love through me, over me, and around me, so that it IS me. I acknowledge that it is always my choice to give and receive love, or to shut down and disconnect.
- When I wish the world hunger crisis would end, I donate to WorldVision.org or a local soup kitchen. If cash is not an option, I visit FreeRice.com and enhance my vocabulary skills while earning rice for the World Food Programme. If I’m low on time, I visit thehungersite.com and “click” so that the site’s sponsors give free cups of food to those in need. And if you think that your measly $10-$20-$30 contribution, the time you spend on FreeRice.com or your clicks won’t make a significant difference, imagine being in the presence of the people who are eating bowls of food today because of you. They are out there, and they are grateful that you did something to help them.
- When I wish that child abuse was nonexistent, I grab a pen, pull out my check book and write a check to KidsinDistress.org, an organization that focuses on the prevention and treatment child abuse, while also educating and strengthening families. At other times, I search both inside and outside myself for ways to improve my mothering skills. I ask myself, “Do I think or behave in ways that are unloving, and therefore abusive, to my fellow man? What can I do to become more loving towards others?” I am honest with myself, and I earnestly aspire to grow into love and away from abuse in all its intricate forms.
- When I wish people were more kind to one another, I release defensiveness and regard others as friends, not “strangers” or “enemies”. I do something kind for someone, or I just step into a state of gratitude for everything that has ever been done for me. I remind myself that every road I drive on was lovingly built with my safety in mind by my fellow man. Same goes for the car I drive, the traffic lights that regulate the flow of traffic, and the railroad crossing bars that let me know when a train is coming. I open my heart to the fact that we are constantly being kind to one another and consistently taking care of one another.
- When I wish that religion was approached with more tolerance and less judgment in the world, I shift my focus to the things I tend to judge in others. I go deep. I meditate on them. I ask myself “Why do I feel the need to judge others based on certain criteria? And how does that serve me; how does it serve the world?” I am willing to acknowledge the critical, cynical judge that lives in my head. I am willing to change.
My whole point is that we spend a sick amount of time complaining when we could be doing something to make a difference, both in our hearts and in the world. When you feel lonely, go to a bookstore and connect with your favorite author, or with some friendly folks in the adjacent cafe. Call a long-lost friend or family member you haven’t spoken with in a while. When you feel powerless, do something to empower others. When you feel penniless, give someone a warm smile as you pass them on the street. When you feel angry, use that energy to transform the situation you feel angry about.
Every one of us is powerful beyond measure. All we have to do is act. At the quantum level, what you may perceive as minuscule, meaningless and ineffective is actually shifting the entire universe. As stated in “A Course in Miracles”, there is no order of difficulty in miracles. Little actions=Big actions. Open to the truth of your power in this world. Be brave. Be the change.
Love and Perseverance,