Real change is an inside job

It’s funny how sometimes the simplest things in life can bring the greatest wonder.

One of the more enjoyable aspects of retirement is having time for frank and open conversations with friends and strangers. My elderly neighbour and I bike to our local coffee shop twice a week and chat away a couple of hours. Our chinwags are most enjoyable. Her perspective on life is intelligent and interesting. I always leave with a sense of well-being from having had an excellent healthy, robust conversation and I am grateful to have such a friend with whom I can download, upload and explode. And I hope I am that person for her too. 

Over time we have become familiar faces to those who regularly walk past the café. And they often stop to chat. Today a couple of bikers stopped and sat at our table. Once the small talk was over, the conversation moved to our country’s deteriorating health and well-being. One of the bikers became a little agitated and angry. “It’s pointless talking about it; there is absolutely nothing we can do.” I felt the powerlessness contained within her words with all my heart. I, too, had been there.

In 2019, when hate was unleashed, we lost our innocence after two consecutive mass shootings on mosques in Christchurch. As an ordinary person, I felt pretty broken and disturbed by this incident; distressed by our seemingly unlimited capacity for human depravity. My ‘ordinariness’ rendered me powerless to think I could influence any change. My belief and hope for peace and a better world became fragile and tenuous. I believe this is how many people feel in New Zealand today – powerless, tired and too ordinary to fight for a more cohesive, tolerant and truthful society.

The day following the Christchurch massacre, I wandered down to my local park. I sat for a while pondering my feelings of powerlessness when I suddenly became aware of litter on the ground around me. Why had I never noticed it before? At that moment, I knew there was something I could do to make a change, and for me, it started with picking up rubbish. A menial task, the simplest of activities – but it was something I could physically do. Plus, I had the time, and it contributed to my community, not to mention the environment. In my small way, I was doing something to change the world. Although it was a small gesture in the grand scheme of things, I certainly won the fight in terms of ridding myself of feeling ineffective and powerless.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. Sometimes the simplest things are the most profound. The only thing I can change, or control, as an individual is my behaviour, not anybody else’s. But as I told my biker friend, it is possible to change the world, but to change the world, you must change yourself first. Change your mentality, habits, and actions – connecting with body, mind and spirit. It’s an inside job, a matter for the heart—small steps at a time.

There is always another trauma or drama in the external world that will test the limits of your sovereignty. Whether it’s a pandemic, politics, multinational corporations and billionaires wielding influence over the masses or global warming, your response should always be the same.

Be still and connect with your heart. [Awakening Energy]

Look beyond what the world is offering and telling you. Instead, search for what your heart is offering. Change yourself, and you will change the world. Even the tiniest of gestures can make a sizeable impact. It’s that simple.





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