Be the Change You Wish to See in the World - Mahatma Gandhi
You know when you read a quote and you’re like, oh that’s nice. Then some time passes and it hits you, really hits you, what the meaning was behind the words that you once thought were nice. This happened to me today. I’ve seen this Gandhi quote about one million times – I’m a yogi so this quote is everywhere in the yoga world. It wasn’t until today that I really grasped the gravity of the meaning behind these words.
I should maybe have a warning label for myself that says something like, “Sorry for what I said when I was all fired up because I have the heart of an activist and social injustices really REALLY piss me off to the core of my entire being”. If you ever find that out there in the World please let me know because I need it! I get very disheartened and impatient with humans when they aren’t able to see social injustices and be as upset about them as I am. I have been told many times, mostly by my mother (haaaa!), that I am too blunt. My passion overflows and I’m not always sympathetic when debating with others, especially about topics that I am greatly passionate about. The current climate of our country has conjured up many of these debates lately. It is quite hard to find refuge from all of the atrocities and craziness that is happening in the World. For someone like me who is a passionate empath it can really begin to takes its toll. When everywhere you turn you see suffering and injustice it can feel overwhelming and discouraging. For me, I am someone who needs to address injustice and call out falsities. If I know something is misguided and I have hard facts that might bring a better understanding to the issue, I have to speak up. If I don’t speak up it festers negatively in my soul. I have felt this way for as long as I have memory and instead of suppressing and letting it fester, I give validity to my insights. I often get asked why I care so much and I often wonder how some can care so little. It’s not always popular but it’s what is necessary to keep my soul at peace.
It can be exhausting at times yet in all of my empathetic pondering, I am constantly contemplative over how I can help in any of these situations. What can I do to affect any sort of real change amongst the enormity of these problems? Clarity came to me today as I was putting my baby to sleep. That Gandhi quote really began to resonate with me and I thought – wow that’s what Gandhi meant! What I can do, the change that I can truly affect, is in my day to day interactions with other humans. I can bring in as much light, love, and understanding as possible into my corner of the World. I can attempt open conversations in an effort to unlock dialogue and encourage facts over fear when discussing the intricacies of issues. I can continue reading and researching to educate myself on the reality and history that isn’t popular to tell. I can write because that is what absolutely sets my soul free. It is the place where I can sort out my feelings and begin to make sense of it all. I can find compassion in every nook and cranny that is piled into my day. I can teach my children to be open minded, accepting, and loving humans. I can teach them to value others even when they don’t share the same opinions and I can do the same. I can be kind. I can see the good in people. I can spread more light into the World using the gifts that I have been given.
There are some very heavy and tragic problems in our World today. Some call for more concrete action like contacting your legislatures and donating time or money to causes that need your help. But for many of the issues, the only way that I know to combat the heaviness is by being the change that I wish to see in the World. Being the person that I wish I saw when I turned on the news or pulled up a social media post. Being open-minded yet compassionate and relentless against fear while always seeking facts. Being someone attempting to facilitate change through a series of small actions, in hopes that these actions will start to ripple out from me and into the World and then eventually, hopefully, creating a small amount of goodness somewhere.
What would it be like if we all just started with ourselves? What if we all began to do the hard work of examining our behavior and seeing where we might need to soften and where we might need to stand up? What if we began to see each interaction as a means to affect small change? What if we were able to put our egos aside and begin to create opportunities that left people and places better than we found them? What if we actually began to be the change that we wanted to see in the World? It might seem like some idealistic hippy garbage to some but if you really think about it, really consider what you actually have control over – it’s yourself and your actions. What if we used ourselves, our actions, and our gifts as a catalyst for small but significant change? What if the answer was so simple that we were all overlooking it? What if it all just begins with you and me?