“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” ~ Elie Wiesel
I have a challenge for you, dear readers – I want you to embrace your Inner Activist.
If you seek a more spiritual life, or a more balanced or mindful one then it is not enough just to practice self-care, meditate, eat healthy, do yoga or pray and think that’s all you need to do. As someone who is moving to a more conscious way of being it is also important to use your voice and your actions in order to create to a better world.
Follow your passions, contribute your energy, act!
What do you care about? Bigger things like global warming, plastic use reduction, clean energy, racism, gun control, equality for all, safe food, clean water and air, social justice, access to education, health care, families, elder care, human rights, animal rights, saving wild spaces and species? Smaller things like protecting an old tree from property developers, saving your local library, recording oral histories from elderly community members, teaching migrants to read and write, stopping a local beach from eroding, cleaning up your local waterways, petitioning for public toilets to be installed at the park near you, getting disabled or pram-friendly access for public transport, making drinking fountains available in the inner city. People like you have changed the world, because they cared and because they dared to become involved.
There is no time to stand by and wait for someone else to fix things. We need to stand up for the things that we value and speak out against the injustices, inequalities and issues that go against our values.
Your voice matters. Contributing to the conversations and actions that can change the world matters. Please don’t think that someone else will fix things. Don’t count on governments, politicians, big business and global organisations. Real change always comes from grass-roots movements, from many people adding their individual energy to create momentum and progress and measurable outcomes.
Many of us were brought up to believe that it is rude to speak up, to make waves, to make others uncomfortable or to rock the boat. We’ve been taught that it’s better not to get involved, not to make ourselves a target, not to ruffle feathers. And that’s how injustice and inequalities flourish. Indifference and lack of action are actually a silent condoning of the things you fail to speak up about or act upon. Of course, I advocate personal safety always! But if it’s safe to speak up then do so.
Define what activism means for you. For some people it is speaking out, literally. Joining rallies and protests or blockades or affirmative action groups. For some people it’s writing letters or sharing blog posts or social media. For some people it’s becoming involved with a local group whose values match your own and adding your energy to their existing work. For some people it’s starting their own local group or action. Or maybe you’ll be a solo activist – picking up trash and putting it in the bin, planting trees, reusing and recycling, finding meaningful ways to put your beliefs into action. Every dollar you spend has a voice too, in the energy company you choose or the food you buy. Let your dollars be more aligned with your values.
Can’t find the courage yet to use your voice? That’s okay. Support a person or group whose voice you believe in. Follow them on social media. Give financial or other support if you can. There are already so many good people in the world doing great work. The more you look and realise that’s true the more hopeful you’ll become.
Being an activist is simply being a good citizen of the world – one who cares about the community around us and the planet that sustains us. We are the change that the world needs. It’s us! No-one else is coming to save us or our planet. The power is already in you. I urge you to use it, just as Greta Thunberg, a 16 year-old Swedish climate change activist is doing:
Because, you might not be facing medical challenges but your situation may be similar to mine. You might be living a total crapfest right now. Maybe yours is bad news. Poor results. No support. No money. Failure. Experts telling you it can’t be done. Well-meaning friends and family giving you sympathy and telling you to become resigned to your circumstances.
Don’t believe them.
Dig hard til you find your own truth. Your own strength. Your own answers. Know that it is never over until you reach the end.
Keep walking your road, or find a new road. Rest if you must. But most importantly, hold a vision of what you want in your heart and use your grit to push your way through to a better outcome.
How do you find your grit? Dig your toes in. Push against your circumstances. Keep pushing. Even as you cry and sigh and wonder what the heck you’re doing. Keep looking for answers. For better ways. For alternatives. For new perspectives. Trust that help will come.
Don’t give up on yourself.
Don’t give up on your dreams.
Don’t take it personally if not a single person stands shoulder to shoulder with you right now.
Just keep going.
Because most often that’s how miracles happen. That’s how dreams come true. That’s how everything transforms. That’s how you find the strength to change what can be changed and the grace to accept what will be.
I believe in you. I know that grit and strength is in you. Dig deeper. You’ll find it. And it will transform you when you do.
Sending you so much love and encouragement, Nicole