Responding to What Moves Us – How to Create Change
This holiday season finds us in a mix of tumultuous world events, tragedies and uncertainties. There’s anger, frustration, blame and arrogance over the particular problems that have pierced through our day-to-day lives and rifled our awareness. We are roused to action or dowsed into hopelessness. We see and feel the pain that gets through our filters and finds a way to touch us. That pain might be for Newtown. It might be for the children dying in Afghanistan. It might be for the Aids victims in Africa. It might be for our own families, friends, coworkers. Or for people whom we know suffer deeply, but remain invisible and misunderstood to most.
Regardless of what it is, what touches us, does so for a reason.
We are connected in different ways to different pain and circumstances around the world. This connectedness spans across space and time, culture and experience. It bridges centuries of lifetimes, past lives, and springs from a connection between spirits. Those connections may have been formed long before we arrived for this present term on earth.
We are affected by the things that have our name on them.
How or why our name is written on them we may not know. It may not make sense. The connections may seem illogical. After all, who knows why a heart responds to a tragedy a world away, but is not moved by the murder victim reported on the local nightly news? Who knows what it is that calls out to us, sometimes so sharply, with such conviction, that it motivates us to actually do something? Whatever that something might be.
Some may say we are simply inundated with reports of all that’s wrong around the world and that we self-filter because we cannot bear the weight of it all.
I think it’s more than that.
I think what moves us does so because as humans, we are one. But at the same time, we are not all called to respond to the same tragedy or situations.
We are called to listen to what moves us and respond to that.
Not carry the whole world. Just our part of it. The parts that have our name written on them. And to trust that as we do our part, other souls are doing theirs. We are one. One being, moving in different forms. Tending to our corners of the garden. As you carry your part of the world, remember to focus on what you do want to see happen. Don’t fight against. Fighting against is never as effective as fighting for something. We get more of what we focus on. We experience more of what we focus on. So choose your focus carefully.
As I’m writing this, the thought keeps coming back: Yes, but what about making a BIG difference? What about stepping out boldly, taking big risks, sacrificing, doing something amazing that changes the course of millions of lives? What about that? Shouldn’t you be advocating that?
Fifteen years ago, I would have said “absolutely.” But now, like so many, I’m a wife, mother, teacher, writer, carrying various threads of a well-woven life that cannot be dropped by a single passion without implicating and altering the lives of others. Living a life that makes a difference is no longer as simple as giving up everything you own and moving to a far away culture and serving there. It’s far more complicated than that. As it is for most of us who are married and have children.
I’m not sure, either, that anyone who did change the course of millions of lives started out to do so. That change came because one person chose to live their passion, responded to what moved them, and let the momentum of one small action after another, one risk after another, build until millions of lives were engaged and touched.
Should you give up your job, move to another culture? Maybe. If that’s what you feel clearly led to do.
Should you not do something just because you can’t do it “big” enough?
No. That’s why change starts with us. Within us. In our thoughts. Our minds. Our feelings.
In us responding to what moves us.
Change has to be personal for it to be effective. That’s how we human beings work.
One step at a time. One action by one person at a time.
When Mother Teresa was asked, “How do you love the whole world?” She replied, “One person at a time.”
That’s how we change the world.