From Bettering Ourselves to Bettering Our World: Permission to Take a Stand for Something
Editor’s Note: This post is inspired in part by an email exchange I’ve had over the past week with Lynn Fang of Upcycled Love. If you’re not reading her work, I highly recommend checking it out. Powerful and inspiring.
At some point in this Great Change that so much of the blogosphere is concerned with, the person sitting in front of the screen has to turn their attention from gazing into a mirror to gazing out their front door. Shifting from the internal to the external; from bettering him/herself to bettering something bigger.
Yes, personal change is the first step: Digging deep within ourselves to uncover those latent truths and inspirations; the reason(s) for being and loving and working and all those other things that make up our day-to-day. From there, you plot the course for changing those things that we believe can improve our own existence.
But at some point, this new-found awareness begets a bigger, broader responsibility in the world. It requires us to focus on what this innate connection we all have with ALL life calls on us to be and do: To elevate our consciousness and compassion to that of a global citizen… a global being sharing this planet we call home with seven billion other humans and millions of other species.
For if we don’t, the problems that blanket the airwaves will just keep on keeping on. Unchecked. Growing and morphing. Seething.
Most long-time readers of TNP know that we don’t have cable so I rely on radio – and in particular, NPR – for most of my news. But of late, what I hear has just dragged me to the point of utter frustration. It’s just story after story of dysfunction and destruction — the environment, politics, Middle East turmoil, suffering Africans, the tanked economy and markets… the list goes on. I feel like I could almost cave under the weight of the global burdens that befall us.
Yet with all that, I keep coming back to the notion that so many people appear to be unaware or not care. Or maybe they are aware but feel paralyzed by the scale and scope of the problems. Or maybe they don’t know how to channel their energy to help drive the change. My friend Jennifer thinks there are eight reasons why people don’t change.
The problems are so systemic. The system so skewed. The ethics so absent. David and Goliath does not even begin to describe what it is we are up against. Is it an “Us” versus “Them”? Perhaps.
Call it crazy, but I believe that most Americans continue to be ‘zombified’ by mainstream culture and media. The real and tangible impacts of our consumption and lack of global compassion are kept from seeing the light of day. People care more about “reality shows”, entertainment and sports than how the world is going down right outside their door.
I mean, how could anyone who is really ALIVE not care about things like Keystone XL? Troy Davis and capital punishment? Extinction of First Nation people and cultures? How could anyone not want to elevate their consciousness? Connect with the world and universe? Live for something bigger than them? Live in a way so that all life can prosper? Give of themselves to others?
So many people can’t educate themselves about real life — let alone get outraged and act to preserve its sacredness — because they are too preoccupied with the fabricated life (and the pursuit of it) that they have surrounded themselves with. At some level, I think capitalism has architected it this way to preserve its own ideology and ethos. And unfortunately, many governments are in its pocket.
It almost sounds like a radical stance and perspective. Maybe so.
So where am I going with all of this?
I am asking you to find ONE thing to take a stand for. ONE thing to get channel some positive outrage against. ONE thing that you can lend your time, resources, action to changing for the better.
Where to start? Well, right outside your door in your own community. If not there, then somewhere else in this world. Here are some campaigns that have impacted me personally and that I’ve contributed to in some way, shape or form:
- Stopping the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from the tarsands of Canada into the U.S.
- Stopping the obliteration of the native peoples of Brazil at the hands of the Belo Monte dam project
- Doing away with capital punishment
To help you get the right tools in your Take-A-Stand Tool Belt, check out these amazing stories/resources:
- Center for a New American Dream
- Democracy School
- New Rules Project
- Pachamama Alliance
- Transition U.S.
- YES! Magazine
Earlier this week, I posed the following on my Twitter account:
In one tweet, can you describe your perspective on the state of the world? In a second tweet, describe what you are doing to challenge it.
No one responded. Perhaps people just missed it or glazed it over amidst all the other tweets out there. Or maybe people chose not to reply because it made them uncomfortable. I’m not sure.
What do you think? Feel free to leave your thoughts as a comment below.
Enjoyed this post? Feel free to share it with your circle using the Facebook and/or Twitter buttons below. Not a subscriber to The New Pursuit? Subscribe today. Thanks.