August 23, 2017

Think Small: Focus

Keeping with the small is mighty notion, the following quotes have resonated with me this past week. The first, from the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in Westminster Abbey, speaks directly to focus. By focusing our efforts inwards, on our selves (small and powerful), rather than outwards on others or the greater world (large and domineering), we may be (I would say will be) more effective at creating the change we wish to see. The small gesture ripple effect in action, as it were.
     When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world.
     As I grew older and wiser I discovered the world would not change – So I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country, but it too seemed immovable.
     As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.
     And now I realize as I lie on my deathbed, if I had only changed myself first, then by example I might have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement I would then have been able to better my country,
     And who knows, I might have even changed the world.
The next passage is from the essay One-Story House by Rebecca Solnit, published in the collection A Field Guide to Getting Lost. I interpret her words as a plea to re-evaluate the notion of "enough," and to focus inwards in this assessment rather than by comparison to our skewed and faulty perceptions of what's out there, on the other side of the fence. The grass isn't necessarily greener. The grass may not even exist.  But, really, I am butchering what she says so well. So here it is.
... maybe there's one thing to say, about the capitalism of the heart, the belief that the essences of life too can be seized and hoarded, that you can corner the market on confidence, stage a hostile takeover of happiness. It's based on scarcity economics, the notion or perhaps the feeling that there's not enough to go around, and the belief that the intangible phenomena exist in a fixed quantity to be scrambled for, rather than that you can only increase them by giving them away.
And finally, I leave you with thoughts from Felicia Semple, creator of The Craft Sessions.
I believe that the little things we do in our everyday are actually the big things, the meaningful things. I believe that big change in the world happens over time because of these tiny acts slowly changing our culture and creating the conditions for big shifts to occur. These acts are about us standing up and saying what we want the world to look like, saying what we believe.

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