Can we actually change the world?
I think so.
I’m serious—I believe that every single person has to ability to affect change, and the more individuals who attempt it, the more compounded and wide spread the effects. However, I also know that it can be hard to find a way to even start. We might want to help, but then the world’s problems loom large—so overwhelming that we feel powerless and frozen. Where on earth does a person even start?
I’ve read a lot books on writing over the past two years, and a common theme—or a common piece of advice given, is to write about what you know. I would take that advice a step further and tell you to write what you’re passionate about. We all have our things, the interests that light a fire in our belly and push us to pursue what we love. People’s range of interest can vary from gardening, to art, to space exploration, to math, to horses, to coding, to hospitality, to reading, to mechanics… You catch my drift, right? Well, the truth is, knowing what we care about most is often the best place to start on the journey of discovering how we might affect change. If we first focus on what we know—on what we are passionate about, it often leads us where we need to be.
In my life, I first zeroed in on mental health because of how my son has and still suffers. It took years for me to realize the importance of mental health to cultural change, but I eventually made it my focus to try and raise money and awareness. I believe that a mental health renaissance and revolution will not only improve the lives of people who suffer with mental illnesses, but it will also improve the world as a whole. So, you’ll hear a lot about mental health from me, and in my shop I have a line of art dedicated to raising money toward it. Now, this doesn’t mean mental health is the only focus of my heart, I also have a transgender sibling who only just recently, after fifty years of staying silent, finally told her family (me included) who she really was. I’m super proud of her. And I’ve heard her talk about some of the struggles of facing the prejudice in our world today. Her story and plenty others led me toward fighting against social and racial injustice and I created a line of art to help come alongside two organizations who are currently on the ground working toward building a better, more diverse world culture. And then I also have an intense love of gardening and being outdoors, so my heart is very drawn to environmentalism. But, beyond being an avid recycler and trying to live more sustainably on a farm, I’ve yet to find my way in this area fully—I’m working on how I can do more for change here too. Above all, my faith, which is an integral part of who I am, calls me to love and so my passion in all of these areas is love; love for God, for my family, for others, and for the earth. Anyway—I tell you all this to demonstrate how your own life, interests, and passions can lead you to places where you can affect change.
Now, please know that I celebrate the fact that your views, faith, or passions will be entirely different from mine. It would be sad if they were not, so many worthy causes would miss out otherwise. Perhaps you’re someone who believes that being politically active is the only way to change the world, or you’re someone whose heart leans toward education and the change it brings, or your heart is to simply feed the hungry, or your someone who steers toward animal rights and activism… Every cause is worthy, and the spectrum is broad, but that doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Do some soul searching, start small, find the things you know, the things where you are at in your own life right now, and then explore your passions around them. I promise, this kind of search will eventually lead to a place where you feel you can affect change. Then you focus on that one, two, or even three or more if you’re ambitious, and you go out and change the world.
P.S. Remember it’s a journey. I did not discover all the things that moved me overnight. Have grace with yourself, and take on only what you can handle. And then have grace for others as well, they might choose a different cause than you, let them, the world need them to.