If you don't like the way the world is, change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time. -Marian Wright Edelman
I have been contemplating change a lot lately. There is much in our world that must change, and much that often appears to just keep repeating and be resistant to change. It can be exhausting and disheartening.
The beginning of change is awareness. However, a gap between awareness and action is commonly experienced. This gap arises in both the smallest and the biggest of changes. Making those big changes needed in the world requires sustaining attention long enough for the layers that comprise those complex and wicked problems (e.g., systemic racism) to be revealed and illuminated. But we too often look away, or just check out from fatigue. Participation in change requires an expanding and energizing of consciousness. We need to be able to see both the real and immediate physical human experience, AND to see beyond the material and the personal to something bigger and transcendent. Opening our eyes to allow more into our vision creates space for greater clarity to emerge. Turning down the volume on distractions allows us to hear the calling of purpose.
What is our obligation for participating in change? Marian Wright Edelman has also said that "service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time." Hearing the calling of our purpose to serve, and allowing that calling to guide our steps, is our task. Layered and complex change requires one inspired and strategic step at a time. However, when millions of people each take one step, that energy can shake the foundation of embedded structures and movement can happen. Millions of people taking one step, then another and another and another until the structure crumbles and falls. FEEL THAT. The dismantling of systemic racism requires that we each tune in to our obligation and our interconnected purpose of transforming the world toward love and justice. Listen for greater awareness to help you discern YOUR next step toward change, and then take that step. Feel the power of collective change, millions of feet on the ground, stepping and stomping and shaking racism at its core. What will your next step be?
With Peace, Love, and Soulfulness,
Dr. Shelly Harrell