I have no idea how you might be feeling about the current state of play here in New Zealand or around the world. Personally, I have had to take a serious sabbatical from the news because it is all just too much. Doom and gloom have given way to fear and a feeling of helplessness that has brought me to tears of late.
As a result of this, I’ve recently found it easy to find many fabulous excuses to just quietly go about my business, and not bother caring about people outside of my immediate circle of friends and family. Making a difference seems like a loaded and impossible prospect. Mean and destructive people are everywhere. Bad things continue to happen to good people. Our planet is choking and I am part of the problem as much as I am part of the solution.
So is it time to cash in my chips and stop fighting the good fight? Am I just one little person without a voice or the means to make a difference? Are things so dire that quietly conceding defeat and waiting for the worst to happen and accepting it, is my only rational option?
Ripples of kindness are far reaching and none of us can ever fully grasp just how much our positive activism, however we go about it, actually is. A simple and random act of kindness as small as smiling at a stranger or holding a door can change the course of a person’s day and trigger innumerable positive moments in the days and lives of others.
So why am I bothering to share this particulary loaded post today?
So this happened:
I went to a local fruit and veg shop to pick up some fresh local produce at reasonable prices. A woman stopped to admire James and I confided that I was absolutely exhausted with four children and all the other stuff on my plate. A little tear came to her eye and she told me a long and personal story about having two “miracle” children after serious gynecological issues. I apologized earnestly to her for seeming unappreciative of my large family, as children were absolutely a blessing.
She was obviously touched and buoyed by the human interaction and I suspect she went about the rest of her day in a brightened mood and anyone she may come across would likely benefit from that.
I realised that I am totally blessed in countless ways, not the least of which being the fact I am healthy, loud, outgoing and genuinely enjoy engaging with people.
From there I went to meet a couple of pathological overachieving friends and talk about actively changing our world and making it a better place. They plan on engaging people on issues ranging from simple to complex. We discussed things as straightforward as planting a garden or composting, and as multifaceted as rolling out a nation wide campaign set to affect a million people through tech, sustainability or positive social activism.
Then I stopped in to visit a dear friend who was busy in the kitchen with another awesome human making magic and delicious food together. We decided we were going to get together once a month to cook and then share our fantastic food with friends or strangers and they would be blown away by our awesome while we all felt pretty good about cooking AND sharing.
I felt much better after that.
So if you are feeling overwhelmed and asking yourself “what can I possibly do?” I’d like to start by sharing some ideas.
- Reuse more of your stuff. Upcycle, repurpose, donate, fix or give away things rather than throwing things out. Crafty people are the best at this!
- Waste less. Eat more left-overs, be a bit more thoughtful about waste when you are cooking for your family or a crowd.
- Grow something. This is one of my favourite things, even though I have a track record of failed gardening attempts I keep trying. My granddad is an amazing gardener, and is producing enough for himself and many friends and neighbours well into his 80’s. Planting a citrus tree, or a box full of herbs to place on your kitchen windowsill is still growing something, and if heaps of people do a bit, the combined result is actually mind-bogglingly cool!
- Say something genuine and kind to someone you Love. Seriously, if you do this all the time anyway, keep doing it, but if you’re having a bit of a downer day, take the time to make the effort to share some heart-felt and positive words and you’re planting some awesome right in your own social circle.
- Smile at a stranger or let someone in traffic (safely) or say thank you with a wave if someone lets you in.
- Clean out your pantry and donate some cans that you don’t think you will ever use. This is a double whammy because you get a cleaner pantry and you give something to someone who needs it.
- If you are a foodie like me, get together with some other food obsessed people and spend an afternoon cooking and bring the fruits or our labours directly to a friend in need, or drop them off to one of the pay it forward initiatives in our area. Looking forward to getting together with Anna and Freddy in the coming weeks to do this, and I’ll totally YouTube it if I can manage to get a couple of moments footage without us flexing our trade-mark colourful vocabularies (I like to keep things G rated online as you know)
This list could go on in perpetuity because every day we are all given thousands of chances to do something good or constructive. Don’t feel overwhelmed, and realize that the time you spend making excuses not to do something is probably enough time to just go ahead and complete a task, however seemingly insignificant, that will plant a little seed of fabulous in the universe.
SO in conclusion YES, the world is totally messed up. But if we all start doing what we can with what we have where we are, then it really will get better.
Thanks for tuning in and please let me know your thoughts on little and big things we can do to make things better.
3 thoughts on “Don’t Let That Stop You”
Dee you need to tell every sustainability manager in this country to keep fighting the fight (is that the right way to put it?) because this is exactly the way we/they feel every day. We often get together and cry on each other’s shoulders about how hard it all is to make a difference, to steer our corporates on the right path etc. It’s good to remind ourselves that lots of little ripples make waves.
Sophie… I think you are WONDERFUL! Can’t wait to see you at the EV thing in a couple of weeks! I’m the short, loud, buxom lady with the Canadian accent in case there is any chance you don’t recognise me 🙂
You have nailed it Dee! It’s ground up change at the community level that is the best way for individuals and communities to change how the world behaves.