Happy August Revolutionaries!! I am reflecting today on the feelings that arise when we consider and begin starting something new. This summer my daughter and her friends have been obsessed with trying new rides at Wonderland. They are often both excited and scared and sometimes they “chicken out” a few times before they actually get up the nerve to do it. I think the same feelings are true for adults in scenarios like starting new jobs, new relationships or in creating new habits and ways of being. It takes something to get beyond fear and to believe in our greater purpose and the power we have within ourselves.
As adult, I find it’s easy to be paralyzed by pragmatism and to become complacent because of our own relative comfort. It’s easy to acknowledge the enormous things we find problematic in the world: climate change, racism, oppression, corporate greed, homelessness, food insecurity, and more. It takes a special mindfulness and strength though to consciously live as a disruptor to those things and to stay relentlessly focused on building the world and the life that we dream about. To live in a way that creates change in every relation and interaction. To bring good energy and positive impact to every day and every person that we meet.
This summer I’ve been inspired by some incredible people whose lives are examples of this kind of spirit and courage. In July, I had the enormous privilege of hearing 83-year-old Mavis Staples, an iconic singer, and civil rights activist. Her concert felt like part religious experience, a part rallying cry, part dance party. She implored the audience to be fueled by the love we share and to keep “taking us there”. I think about the change she has seen in her lifetime and how her work and friendship with Martin Luther King Jr impacted the world in such positive ways.
Later in the summer, I was fortunate to hear the exquisite entertainer Alicia Keys. Her humility and willingness to come up and play a whole set on the grass, where we were in the cheap seats, is something that really stood out to me. She wanted everyone to feel her energy up close. She implored the audience in her new song Skydive that “if we fall down, gotta get up”. To close the night, she encouraged everyone to hold on to the good vibes we shared and to not let anyone take that spirit and energy.
Last week, I was blessed to be invited to the Institute for Change Leaders “Layton Activism Award Celebration” hosted by the powerhouse policy wonk Olivia Chow. Again, I was filled up by the personal stories shared by friends and family of Jack Layton, a man who breathed his values into life in our country. That day, I was touched by his spirit; a role model of mine who preached the power of love, hope, and optimism. It was a palpable reminder that ordinary people have successfully and continue to make a monumental change. It was incredible to be fueled by his legacy and the purpose and energy embodied by the people and organizations in that room. I encourage you to check out https://www.changeleaders.ca/ to learn more.
Lastly, I recently read an Angela Davis quote that my friend Tee Garnett posted, it says: “You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” This quote embodies the energy of Mavis Staples, Alicia Keys, the people in the Change Leaders meeting, and YOU the Revolutionaries who keep believing in how our love can change the world.
So, as we begin year two of Revolution Now may we all be sparked with the feelings of new beginnings. May we be energized by each other and conscious of the ways we work to make a transformative social and environmental change in our every single day.
Let’s Go Change The World,