Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Change the World Bug

(okay, if you're one of those who really likes my work sometimes but mostly finds me a bit irritating, you should probably stop right now, because the only reason I'm publishing this is so that those of you who love me and like peeking into my brain can indulge your voyeurism in the following ramble)

Why do I want to change the world? It's nothing but an angst-creating, unsettling, demanding pain in the neck sometimes.

So why? Because people are still unkind to one another. To say the least. And it's not getting us anywhere to let that keep happening. That starts to scratch it.

You see, it bugs me. Day and night. I can't seem to just settle into life and let it happen and shrug and think, well, what can I do anyway? It really does drive me to distraction that our leaders are so ridiculous and our priorities so skewed that we can't seem to begin the untangling without bickering about who holds what part of the string. The illusion of self interest that we all indulge to our undoing.

I can't just leave it.

I tried really hard. I did pull it off for awhile. What changed? Why did I become decreasingly able to tow the status quo? Why did this bug hit me and not the girl in the cubicle next door? SHE's earning six figures right now, thank you, and you should see her gorgeous house. I'm struggling to be taken seriously in a whole new field and job, in non-profit at a non-profit salary, while my husband looks for work. It's hardly fair.

And can I change the world? Probably not. I'm starting late and not nearly as talented as I'd hoped to be. Nor as skilled as I'd like to be. (yes, my loves, thank you. I know. I rock. It's just, you know, I have very, very high standards).

Be content with my small corner and all that. Got it. Meditated on it. Accept it in principle. Not satisfied.

Maybe I won't make an impact. Am I okay with that? If I die without ever feeling that my life significantly contributed to humanity's sanity, beyond my corner, will I feel as though I've failed life? Maybe.

I can't help but grieve the waste of my years of fear-based, habitual behaviour, ignorant decision making, failure to reach for love, failure to appreciate love, resentment, waiting, doing-what's-in-front-without-looking-around. Years when I didn't pay nearly enough attention to any of the right things, and paid far to much attention to things that didn't matter.

I can never have those years back, just take their learning forward. Once these aspects of myself became apparent and intolerable to me, I began to work on weeding them out. I am far, far, from finished. A decade into my practice, my fear doesn't rule me. I see it now, even when I can't control all my behaviours that it drives. I know my fear and it's just part of who I am. I know my courage, too. Neither of them are in charge. I am.

But even so, at this point, will I really be willing to do what it takes to make a meaningful impact? I'm busy now, with kids and all that. I'm kind of tired. Wearing down. Changing the world is demanding and I'm not the only one at stake anymore. I keep thinking, when the kids are a bit older...but is that just false consolation for settling in? Has my potential passed its shelf life?

I can hope that my best work is before me, that I can be part of spreading compassionate pragmatism, or sanity, or whatever. An individual in a stadium seat can be, in a moment, part of a wave.

I'd rather start a wave than be swept up, yet swept up I am.