How Can I Make a Difference in the World?
I wrote the article that follows on 11/11/20, but I did not publish it.
I felt it wasn’t ready — I felt I wasn’t ready. Now, two months later, I see that this is the right time, that this is the moment in which I am called to do something big, something bigger than I believe myself capable of doing. But I am going to do it anyway because if I want others to rise beyond their comfort zones, I must do so myself.
I am afraid of what our country has just shown us. I am afraid of the magnitude of hate I saw on January 6th, of what it represents, of the next thing it will manifest. It’s not as if this hate is new, but in recent years it has been stoked and glorified, justified, and honored. This hate is born of fear — fear of “otherness,” of the unknown, of the misunderstood, and the imagined consequences of NOT hating and NOT acting on that hate.
But nothing good comes of hate, and if humanity is to survive, the fear driving the hate must be replaced with compassion for those we do not know or understand. The great leaders of our time Gandhi, King, the Dalai Lama, Mandela, Mother Teresa showed love in the face of adversity, honor amid pain, integrity, as they withstood the worst hate could bestow upon them. We must find a way to channel this love even as part of us may prefer to rage in anger against the hate and those who champion it.
We must be bigger than the fear and the hate, the anger, and the chaos. We must BE LOVE.
I wasn’t ready to celebrate the new year on January 1st, but I am ready to celebrate it tomorrow, January 11th, 2021. I cannot say why, but I have always felt connected to occurrences of 1’s and 11’s — tomorrow is both. Tomorrow at 1:11 pm CST, I will take 1 minute and 11 seconds to send love out to our world. I will stop. I will close my eyes and pay attention to my breath, in and out, in and out. And I will focus all my attention on feeling love in my heart for the rest of humanity — no matter their color or beliefs, religion or gender, practices or location, or any category or divider — I will simply love.
January 11th is also special to me because it is the birthday of my great aunt Syd, who passed many years ago. She lived with my family when I was growing up, and she was the most loving, kind, and generous person I have ever know. Something about her was wise and yet innocent, pure and simple and good. Tomorrow I will call to my mind and my heart memories of her capacity to love to stimulate my own.
I will also summon compassion for others into my heart by first welcoming my own suffering. Human suffering is universal — there is not a person alive or dead who has not suffered, and I know I can feel love for anyone and everyone who has suffered because I know that pain. I will call forward the feelings of tenderness, love, and compassion I have known in my life for the suffering of myself and others, and I will project it outward.
Yesterday I read a line in a book by Thich Nhat Hahn (How to Relax) and it led to this article and this desire to project love… “The ground for action is to be, and the quality of being determines the quality of doing.” This same book talks about how any mindfulness or meditation is like a gift of peace to the world, but also how many people practicing at the same time amplifies that gift.
The incremental effect of community practice reminded me of the closing ritual I participated in at the end of a Michael Meade Mosaic Voices retreat. Over a hundred of us stood with outstretched arms and sent love to people who needed care, protection, and relief from suffering. Afterward, I was euphoric for hours, the headiness of our collective effort resounding in my head and my heart. I knew we made a difference then; I know we can make a difference now.
Wherever you may be on January 11th at 1:11 pm CST, I invite you to join me for 1 minute and 11 seconds of love and compassion. I will engage in this offering of love each day this week, Monday through Sunday at 1:11 pm. If you would like to join me virtually, you can register to do this at The Whole Wellness Project, LLC.
If you would rather observe your moments of love at 1:11 pm in your time zone, that’s great too, because all love is good love and there will be others practicing with you in your part of the world. There are always people practicing their moments alongside us, we just don’t know it, but they are there, of that I am certain.
One last thing… the article that follows is a call to women everywhere to begin to change their relationship with themselves to spark a grassroots movement in the world at large. I believe with a fiery sense of urgency that we must each pick up the threads of destruction all around us and begin to weave lives that are healthier, more resilient, and more joyous if there is any hope of righting our world.
My call is a call to people who identify as women for a simple reason. I know I can help women learn to be self-compassionate and take care of their multiple dimensions of wellness. This in no way means I do not think the same is crucial for men, it just means I don’t have the skills, wisdom, or knowledge to do the same for them. Yet I urge all men to do the same using whatever resources they can find.
WISE* Women’s Call to Action
Ten months ago, in a very different world, I started The Whole Wellness Project, LLC. I intended to join together women in my community — Rogers Park, a small Chicago neighborhood — to connect, collaborate, and cooperate to optimize their wellness and that of their neighbors, friends, and family. But now I see the call is bigger, the need is greater, and I must open more, offer more, think outside myself. I must create a virtual community of women committed to embracing the whole wellness mission because the world needs us to rise and meet the challenges of our times.
We are living and dying through a pandemic, against the backdrop of racial injustice and social inequity. It is forcing some of us to work faster and harder than ever before. But it is also forcing a good majority of us to slow down, isolate, and go within. This is not an accident; it’s what the world needs.
The world needs us to wake up, to see the chaos and the havoc modern society has created…. mass shootings, hate crimes, systemic racism, polarized world views, the demonization of the “other,” addiction, obesity, chronic disease, escalating numbers of refugees, oceans of waste, climate change, planetary destruction, political upheaval, economic polarity, food scarcity, disconnection and anger, cyberbullying, wildfires, locust swarms, species extinction…
Am I being too serious? Scaring you? Maybe I am, but the truth is my olive branch.
We are increasingly caught up in the fray and standing still feels impossible amidst the tornados, hurricanes… tsunamis of increasingly horrific trends that reflect our world as it careens from one crisis to another…
What can one person do? … Nothing?
I say “Everything!”
Only YOU can stop the madness. Only YOU can right (and write) your own life. Only you can choose where you stand… for the chaos of the world, as it exists today, or against it.
If you would stand against it, you must value yourself as an individual and ask yourself “What would it look like to honor my needs… to be well, to feel well, to do well?” I’m on a mission to create a tribe of women who want to be well and be whole so they can grow their energy, power, and compassion and invest it to change the world, make a difference, help those in need, and heal all of us… from the inside out.
What do I want you to do…?
I want you to ACT…
To commit, collaborate, cooperate, connect,
To recognize and understand, that your choice NOW, at this time, to accept responsibility for your wholeness and wellness is the biggest and most important thing you can do, the CRUCIAL journey that you can undertake to contribute to the thrival of humanity.
Spell-checker wants me to change that word…”thrival,” but I won’t do it because it is exactly what I mean.
This journey begins at home, inside each of our hearts and minds, deep in our souls. It is a commitment made by one woman at a time. But not alone.
Together, we can…..
- Say yes to ourselves and no to the chaos around us.
- Help each other find our way through the darkness.
- Explore what it feels like to be well.
- Gather the fractured pieces and parts of our multiple selves.
- Move toward becoming whole.
- Become wholly ourselves.
- Make a bigger difference in our world.
I know we can do this, and with your help, I know I can keep doing this.
What do I want you to do…?
I want you to take the first step, a baby step, a micro-step. I want you to make your own wellness a priority because even if you can’t see it today, that step and those that follow will empower us to help and to heal our tortured world.
My dream for our Tribe…
Together, as WISE* Women, we:
- Soul by Soul, We Become Whole.
Change begins within. Let’s make this journey together. Will you join me?