Last weekend I was a facilitator, along with T. Thorn Coyle and Morpheus Ravenna, at a weekend intensive called Answering the Call; Battle Goddesses in Times of Change. The weekend was a sequence of ritual, self defense training, and discussions on how to become more resilient as a community.
A key theme of this work was Awakening the Hero’s Heart. The core question here was, “What if it were up to you?” This question has stayed with me all week and I find myself wanting to pass it on.
We often think of solving the problems of our world as something somebody else will do. Someone bigger, more powerful, more educated, more wealthy. Surely just little old us can’t solve the world’s problems.
The problem is, if we all assume that “somebody else” is going to change the world, well…. you can see where this is going.
I don’t think we stand a chance if we wait around for a “bigger, more qualified” hero to save the day. Even Batman misses stuff, and frankly, he could use our help. I believe each and every one of us must pull the sword from the stone – or the sorting hat, as it were. We are all the chosen one, and we all have unique gifts to bring to this world. No one can do it all, but we can all do a little.
But how, when we are so weighed down with the details of our daily survival?
I believe world change must happen organically. If we can incorporate small changes into the lives we are already living, make choices that are in alignment with our values, this will go a long way toward reshaping the world. You don’t need to restructure your entire life to become an activist. Activists are crucial and I am so thankful there are people that feel activism is their calling, but ultimately it is the everyday changes that every one of us can do on an ongoing basis that will be the crux of real, lasting change.
Where we begin with this can be daunting, and I certainly don’t claim to know all the answers, but there are three pieces that I find helpful:
Courage, Awareness, Intention.
Courage: We can all summon our hero’s heart and look into the face of that which terrifies us. Let us remember, to have courage is not to be without fear, but to take action in the face of fear. Acknowledging our fear is the first step to understanding solutions. When we sweep these things under the carpet, we sweep a part of ourselves under the carpet. As long as we are in denial, there are pieces of us left sleeping, disempowered, disconnected. When we acknowledge our fear, look it in the face, and offer it our compassion, something powerful happens. We awaken. And we begin to see solutions within the problems. We find a small jewel that we can work with to make the situation a little bit better. Imagine if everyone on this planet were to take one action to make a situation a little bit better.
Awareness: This is part of awakening, and we can begin by spending a little bit of time each day checking in with ourselves. In meditation, in contemplation, we get present with ourselves, and follow our emotions as far as we can. In so doing, we come to a place where we realize what we truly feel. And that can be scary. But it also gets us in touch with what matters to us. When we are reminded what truly matters to us, we can begin making choices that support these values. And when we take action in accordance with our values, we shape the word in accordance with our values.
Intention: This is where we act. This is where we connect our awareness with our actions. This is where we have the opportunity to make decisions from a place of power. We can decide to shop at the farmer’s market. We can make holiday gifts instead of buy them. We can buy gifts on Etsy. We can consider the idea that buying something from a craftsperson may be more expensive, but it will also likely last a lot longer than cheap plastic crap made by slaves in Indonesia. We can get to know the people we do business with, so that we know we are supporting someone who will then spend the money we give them in conscientious ways. We can celebrate the steps we do take and not berate ourselves for the steps we haven’t taken yet. And we can keep taking steps. We can choose to craft our lives as the works of art they are, polishing these jewels of hope with the grit of our intention.
I believe that, by activating courage, awareness, and intention, the tendrils of our hearts curl out like vines and wrap around every aspect of our lives, and from these tendrils the flowers of our ideals may bloom.
So rise up, for you are my hero. And you. And you. And you. And you…….