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Be the change you want to see – it all starts with self

Practice Random Acts of Kindness

I’ve been wanting to get this post out of my head and through my fingers for a while – there is so much “ugly”/”bad”/”hate fuelled”/”selfish” behaviour in the world right now and the sheer amount of these behaviours around the world feels honestly overwhelming.

And I’m sure that you hate what’s going on in the world with a passion. I know that I do.

Right now, around the world, “bad” things are happening – Jewish Soldiers abusing Palestinians, ISIS Salafist Takfiri* abusing and terrorising their surrounding Muslim population and generally bombing around the world, Russia shelling and bombing Ukraine, the current UK government making economically bankrupt choices leading to massive inequality and deprivation.

That’s to name but a few things going on that make our world right now that make it seem so bleak and negative. So, how can we re-frame this into a more positive outlook?

I’ve come to think that “Hate” as a concept is actually a neutral thing; it can be an extremely potent force for Change. For instance, if one person hates something enough, they will be moved to make a Choice and Change that thing. It is the Choice that provides the positive or negative action, not the fact that Hate is the driving factor.

So, what can one person do against this seeming tide of relentless crap? Remember that we think of change in terms of the people that have driven it, “someone” took that first step.

All of these people were “just one person” when they started out on their path to affect big change (both good and bad): Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Aung San Suu Kyi, Malala Yousafzai, Adolf Hitler, Ian Duncan Smith, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Robert Mugabe, Steve Jobs, Pol Pot, Ghengis Khan, Abraham Lincon, Lhamo Thondup (The 14th (and current) Dalai Lama), Adam Braun, Tony Robbins, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar.

The list goes on and on. History is littered with single people that made a difference. Sometimes the path chosen leads to massively bad things, more often than not however, it leads to great works of good. What’s to stop you from joining them?

Michael Jackson had the right idea… at least in his music. Jackson was well known for creating songs with conscience. “Man in the Mirror” (1987) and the later “Earth Song” (1995) are themes about Change on the grand scale having to start very small – with the Self.

Any and all Change has to start with the Self – Self is the only person that we can 100% effect. By an individual making a small change, and being an example, we can then affect others. The kicker there is that anyone we then interact has to then want to make a change in themselves.

If you are ready to make a change, you have to also realise that Fear of Change is a big factor for others. (Good Ol’ Amygdala!). But, to change the world, all any one person has to do is make a start and have the faith in themselves and in the Universe that the change is possible.

After all, what we want already exists (bear with me), but focus is needed to make it real.

This is all to do with Quantum Theory.

The three main Quantum Theory pillars, put very very simply, are based around the principles that

  • “At an atomic level, everything is energy”, (Quanta)
  • “Everything is connected” (Entanglement), and
  • “Something is only real when we choose to observe it” (“Superposition” and the “Observer Effect” – See the “Schrödinger’s Cat” thought experiment)

The Many-Worlds Interpretation of the consequences of Superposition states that “At any given moment in time, there are an infinite number of possibilities occurring, and that all of them already exist and are happening simultaneously. Each possibility happens in its own space and can’t be seen by others. We only see the possibility we focus on.”

So, if every possible version of every person exists somewhere, we simply choose to focus on the best possible versions of ourselves as what is real.  (For the Terry Prattchet Fans out there, he referred to this concept as “going down the other leg of the trousers of Time”)

But how, I hear you cry? It’s all very related to letting it go and also to resistance but the very first step is by being kind to ourselves.

I’ve spoken before about how we receive overwhelmingly negative messages about out bodies, our worth and our self from society and media and also in some cases from our parents and peers. We are told everyday that “life is hard and then you die”, “being fat is ugly”, “money doesn’t grow on trees”, “sex is evil”, “no-one will want you if you are …” etc etc.

Simply put, this messaging is not kind. It’s also not true, and as we internalise it, it keeps us trapped in a negative mindset, far less able to make any sort of change, let alone change for the better.

However, when we start being kind, firstly to ourselves and then to others, we open possibilities. It doesn’t have to be big: For ourselves, eating well and getting good sleep is a good start. Whilst in the wider world, small acts such as Holding open a door for the person following you, saying “thank you” to the bus driver, giving someone some small change in the supermarket check-out line when they are tuppence short.

These sorts of small and random acts of kindness ripple through the world. For instance, eating and sleeping well gives us the energy to make our day easier. Holding the door lowers the stress on the person following you, saying “thank you” makes the bus driver smile & giving pennies smooths out the buying process for everyone in the queue, de-stresses the person that was a touch short and also keeps the checkout person happy.

When change can start so small and be so simple, why would a person not choose to make the world a better place? That’s a huge philosophical question, but the TL;DR message is simple:
Be kind – Kindness to both self and others is the number one self-care act that will make the entire world a better place.

When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.
—The 14th Dalai Lama (1935)
Head Monk Of The Gelugpa Lineage Of Tibetan Buddhism

Leave me a comment about how you are going to make one small change for yourself that could grow to change the world. After all, once we know where we stand, we can start working on connecting those dots!

Catch you next time!

* (Takfiri – Arabic. Can be translated into English as “excommunicated.”  In Islamic law, takfir or takfeer (تكفير) refers to apostasy in Islam – The general consensus being among the leading Islamic Scholars is that ISIS are not following the Islamic faith at all.)

Image used, Practice Random Acts of Kindness by MarcieLew
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Intermission…

August was a very weird time – an all too brief 4 day visit from one of my partners, two funerals, a wedding and the Nineworlds Geekfest conference sandwiched in between them – All very exhausting emotional things – followed by a period of “brain fuzz” from “doing all the stuff”, so not much room for the inspiration needed to write to take effect.

I’ve wanted to write my next post (“You can’t do it wrong“) for the last three weeks, but my brain simply didn’t want to give me “words” of any shape.  I did manage to journal a little bit about one of the funerals (to aid creating white space in my brain) but I know there is way more in there that needs to come out. When I’ve not been at work (doing “the minimum needed to get by and keep projects moving”), I’ve spent most of my time either sleeping, fussing over my orchids/watching YouTube videos on Orchid care and finishing up re-watching S7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Now, I could chose to beat myself up over this seeming “waste of time”, and a few years ago I very much would have done, feeling all the guilt around “doing nothing” and I would have tried to force “things to work”, which would inevitably lead to life not working at all and even more “things not happening” in life as I wallowed and flailed.

However, taking the Mindful view on things, I simply acknowledge that having had a very emotion filled and time sapping beginning to August,  I needed some time to reset. And my doing that self-care and taking that time to get back in the flow is not something that is “bad” or “wrong”, it is something that just “is”. And I have no need at all to feel bad about that at all.

Take my work here for instance. I dedicated myself to producing world-changing content once a week, and my lack of words to the world since the beginning of August could be seen as a massive failure. I could sit here in a puddle of self-recrimination and self-doubt, allow that negativity to enable me to listen to my amygdala and simply give up on my writing and myself  – because changing the world takes effort… and that equals resistance.

I do know that for the last week or so, where my brain has been up and firing again, that I have been very subject to resistance. I’ve been wallowing, “filling up my eyes” in a rather drastic way, doing anything to seemingly avoid writing or creativity (Although I have been spending lots of time with my Orchids!).

However, using that resistance as my compass, and knowing that my time-out allowed my brain to heal, enough is enough and it’s time to push on through! It’s time to give thanks and forgiveness in my life, open up to abundance and start shining again.

I’m hoping that I’ve given you reassurance and food for thought. Have you had a time where you felt that everything was just too much? How did you cope then? And are you now working Mindfully and with Gratitude to accept that sometimes life hands you a shit sandwich (to quote Marie Forleo!) and that you have to deal and move along. Leave me a comment below, and we can start working on connecting those dots.

Catch you shortly!

Image used “Intermission (5/7)” by jnyemb
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Mindfulness – some thoughts

Zen - by Steve Hodgson

One of my day-job colleagues that knows I hold a generally “mindful” philosophy asked:

“Can mindfulness be used as a technique that can support people who might feel they are lacking morale as they go through change? Just have a team that are struggling. Lots will leave. They’re on a low ebb.”

This is my reply:
“Mindfulness is about self change and self acceptance. Showing up fully in the moment & being, kind, curious, compassionate and the best you can be in that moment. Also, knowing the universe will look after you and also, more importantly, give you what you are thinking…

So, yes, if someone is willing to make a step toward mindfulness it will help them, but the person has to be willing and open to the idea.

In our deeply scientific world, it can be dismissed as “a bunch of woo-woo” – “people” live inside their own box, don’t believe in “magic” and stick to their own personal negative scripts – constant worry about the future, never enough time, not enough money, etc etc…

People shy away from self-analysis and keep blinkers on their minds because to analyse “self” can be painful, we are very much taught to “accept our lot” and “trudge on” / “make the best of it”

However, “words shape our world” – Mindset change to “positive language internal monologue” and fully engaging in the current activity really does bring good things. (This is to do with the way the Limbic brain (which has no language or communication skills beyond “feels”) and the Rational/Analytical brain interact)

It’s work to change the way one thinks, thinking is deeply programmed from when we learn to talk pretty much… but it’s very rewarding when one does. If nothing else, being positive towards the world makes one happier for sure!”

I like dropping pebbles in the pond of the Universe, creating ripples is good thing. 🙂 Has this post created ripples of thought for you? Leave me a comment below and we can start working toward connecting those dots.

Catch you next week!

Image https://www.flickr.com/photos/craiglea/4806744754 – Zen by Steve Hodgson
Used Under Creative Commons Licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/