When we feel overwhelmed by thing going on in the world it can be all too easy to feel like shutting it all out. This is where we face humanity’s Shadow and we have to decide if we’re going to step up to the plate and take action/ make a change, or if we’re just going to shut our eyes to it/ pretend it’s someone else’s problem/ hope for the best.
The Shadow is often made up of the most wounded, damaged or repressed parts of our psyche, but it can also help to make us aware of where our values lie by showing what we react to the most strongly.
Some of the biggest problems in our world persist because people don’t want to admit they exist, because they think it’s someone else’s ‘problem’, or because they can’t see the bigger picture. Another reason is that while the larger solution is identified it is impossible to implement on a one-person level. It can be all too easy to become dejected and feel like our efforts won’t make a difference when faced with this ‘bigger picture’ kind of view.
When you set goals you have the ‘bigger plan’ view, but you also have to break it down into smaller goals, steps or even micro-steps. One of the things I’ve had to learn through chronic illness is pacing. This means breaking down my goals into smaller and smaller, more manageable steps. Factoring in changes, setbacks and improvements is also important. Pacing, in this interpretation of the word, would be a perfect example to use for breaking down the ‘bigger plan’ view. You can’t implement it all at once, and it may mean delegating or getting help, or changing the plan as circumstances change, but it does progress. You have to allow for the ‘plan’ to evolve – like illnesses that fluctuate the ‘bigger picture’ is constantly shifting and changing. Sometimes there will be setbacks so you reassess and plan differently, or sometimes you’ll progress and can move on a couple of steps further. It’s all about being flexible and working with what already Is.
It’s similar when faced with the larger problems in society and the world – when faced with it all at once many people get overwhelmed; they throw their hands up and and they feel like there’s nothing they can do to make a difference. But if we look at things from the, “What CAN I do?” level then things start to shift. Now we’re in the one-person level of assessing; now we’re breaking the ‘bigger picture’ down into something more realistically achievable. On a one-person level we can identify micro-steps and -goals that can contribute to the bigger whole. And depending on our resources or skill set we can factor in what we CAN do. And the more people who do this, the more people taking micro-steps and coming together, is one bigger step on the path; one step closer to wider change.
Perhaps you have limited resources of your own but you’re great at organising events and can raise awareness or raise money. Perhaps you are an artist or photographer and can portray imagery that captures the mind and heart. Perhaps you’re a wordsmith who can help people see things differently and inspire them to be a part of the change. Maybe you’re a teacher and can educate the next generation on better ethics, responsibility and environmentalism. Maybe you can change to a more conscious way of living, or sponsor good causes or petition for change.
Whatever you do please try to inspire. Whether it’s leading by example, educating and raising awareness, helping people see, feel or think differently, make sure you inspire. Nothing turns people off quicker than feeling like they’re being lectured, being told they’re ‘wrong’ or inconsiderate, or made to feel like the problem is just too big or overwhelming for their contribution to make an actual difference. Inspire!
Facts have their place, but bombarding people with them doesn’t often elicit an inspired response. Outrage and anger are also not helpful as they only incite more negativity (see my post Reclaiming Sacred Anger – Leave Behind the Rage).
What people need, if enough are going to come together to bring about widespread change, is inspiration, motivation and encouragement. They need to know there are things they can do on a one-person level. They need to know that by doing these things they are doing good in the world. They need to see how, where and why they are helping. Spread the word, tell the hard stories, but do it so people are inspired and motivated, so they know there is something they can do. Show them what they can do. Show them what you do, give easy steps to start making changes; break it down for them.
Some may say this is spoon-feeding, but just as all children must learn to adapt and build up to bigger things so must we. Break it down, keep it simple and most of all, inspire. Inspire the change you want to see created in the world, and be a living example of it.
(c) Michelle Gilberthorpe, She Holds The Bowl, 2017