While helping a wise woman grapple to find the right words to do some courageous truth-telling in a relationship, the question came up about whether working on these seemingly small issues in our personal lives makes any difference when the whole world seems to need so much help?
We thought about it together, and then she said:
“All this nonsense and noise feels like a low-grade migraine that drags on the human spirit … We are being called to a deeper way of being.
When we master these things at the personal level first, we create the grounding within ourselves to speak light into the darkness at higher and higher levels.”
I agree with her.
We start small and build our way up.
If I can’t speak honestly and directly with the people I love, how can I do it with people I dislike?
If I can’t bridge differences with my friends, how do I expect politicians to do it on a global scale?
If I can’t protect children from bullying in my classroom, how do I expect world leaders to protect the rights of human beings around the world?
Healing your pain, matters.
Opening your heart, matters.
Developing inner clarity, compassion and power, matters.
Committing to a vision of a better way, matters.
In all the teaching, training and therapy work that I do, I remind people over and again that we change the world when we change ourselves.
Remember: you are someone else’s “culture”; how you show up, IS someone else’s environment. When we take responsibility for ourselves and focus our individual circles of influence, we become agents of positive change in the world.
This means doing the Healing-Work that we need to free ourselves from the legacy of abuse, interpersonal violence and internalized oppression that so many of us have suffered under.
This means doing the Heart-Work needed to strengthen our emotional and relational IQ so that we can become alchemists who –
turn enemies into allies
turn rage into passion, power and clarity
turn obstacles into opportunities
turn debates into transformative dialogues
turn sadness into bittersweet surrender
This means doing the Hope-Work needed to imagine and reach for a world that works for all people and life on the planet. While each of you might imagine your own various futures, at the moment my big wish looks like this:
Meaningful, nurturing relationships — with ourselves, with others and with life around the world
The protection of life and eco-systems on the planet
The alleviation of unnecessary suffering
Economic systems that support universal human values, that serve the needs of the people they are meant to support and help all people thrive.
Educational systems grounded in humane learning conditions and tending to whole people.
Depolarized political systems, focused on both critical and creative thinking, harnessing a creative synergy of the best of liberal, independent and conservative ideas — and everything in between and beyond.
Restorative justice systems based on accountability, empathy for all, forgiveness, learning, rehabilitation and meaningful, safe reintegration whenever possible.
Health care systems prioritized and organized around health, healing and our collective well-being, not rapacious profit or greed.
Everything that I offer in therapy, in classes, in trainings, or in my online programming centers around giving you the tools, insights and strategies you need to engage in your own healing work, heart-work and hope-work.
Internalize the skills of transformation, nonviolence and open-heartedness on the personal level first. Then, standing on a strong, inner foundation, you’ll transform your relationships, your cultures and the broader systems that frame human lives.
There are no petty problems. No trivial issues.
Step into your most healed, loving and empowered self.
Just do your work.