Tonight, I’ve started testing a new brand. My project formerly known as “Engaging In Your Self”, “Personal Engagement” and “Heartspace” is now going to be called “Be Your Own Hero”. Tonight I made a new meme for it based on a quote from John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men:
“As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment.”
Here’s the meme I made:
Be your own hero. Let it all remain and stop…
Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
There are a lot of people working to change the world right now. They’re caught up in writing the Great Handbook, building the Perfect Website, organizing the Ultimate Protest, and securing the Most Support for whatever they’re doing. Everyone thinks they’re doing their part, hopes they have the most effect, and wants to make a difference.
I’m one of these people. For most than two decades of my life I’ve been working to change change the world. Starting as a young man, I was involved with movements for environmental justice, self-empowerment, anti-racism, and youth voice. My career has built on that action, and has focused on youth engagement, student voice, and community empowerment. I have continued volunteering and donating my resources towards those causes too.
I’m at a point in my life when much of this action seems like its no longer effective, and some part of me struggles with whether it actually was. I even wonder who reads this blog anymore, since I rarely hear from anyone.
In my 20s, I heard a lot of older people harp on the notion of acting locally and really focusing energy on local change. I blew that out of the water with my world-focused work through Freechild and SoundOut, as well as my national and international consulting practice. Now, I understand why they insisted on acting locally; otherwise, you feel like you’re yelling into a vacuum.
The noisy, noisy world doesn’t allow us a lot of room for comfort, if we’re engaged authentically within ourselves. It insists we learn to get quiet and do small things, rather than trying to scream over the din of daily life.
This work of changing the world reminds me of the lesson about the seekers: “Not knowing how close the truth is to them, Beings seek for it afar — what a pity! They are like those who, being in the midst of water, Cry out for water, feeling thirst.”
The world is already changing, and a new world is being born every day! Let’s take comfort in that, and allow everything to be what it already is. The world is changing, changing, changing… Is there anything more we need to do?
Today I’m going to write about the roots of engagement, or why we become engaged. Talking recently with a colleague, she asked what to do about the weak spots in our engagements. I explained that there really are no “weak” spots in engagement. I mean, really, when there’s something that I want to be sustainably, richly engaged in, I do that. That is the same with everyone, whether or not we’re conscious of that.
We don’t often think about what we’re engaging in before or while we’re engaged in it. Instead, its often in reflection that we look back and make the connection – “Hey, I was engaged in that!”
“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.”
—Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Sinking Deep In
I am discovering that engagement largely happens with those things that are deep enough to sink into, as opposed to the immediate choices we simply choose in the moment. If I can choose in an instant, I may not be truly capable of engaging in it.
If the same is true for you, you may not be capable of engaging in sudden things, like a fast food meal, a grocery store aisle conversation, or singing a song around the campfire, especially if those are spur of the moment choices that mean little and have little impact on your longer life. If, however, you feel deeply about those things, consider them with meaning and purpose, and connect them to your longer arch of life, happiness, and purpose, then you may be able to engage in them.
Ultimately, this is the tie-around with the rest of our lives: When we learn to think about it, we often expect ourselves to engage in an instant, in every moment of activity we experience. Understanding what we do with this post though, maybe we should reconsider this: Instead of making every moment engaging, we should allow ourselves to simply live in them. Along then way, we can strive to establish deeper, richer connections through learning, living, loving, and growing, and ultimately can eschew momentary blips of connectivity in order to foster lifelong engagement within ourselves and throughout the world around us.
3 Reasons to Engage in Anything
Hope. When Dr. King’s team stood in circle to reflect and pray after their civil rights activism, every they’d finish with by stacking their hands in the middle of the circle, and they’d chant “Keep Hope ALIVE!” It was a not-so-subtle reminder that hopefulness is driven by engagement.
Truth. At the heart of all our commitments, possibilities, actions and abilities is engagement. Since engagement is the sustained connection we experience to the worlds within and around ourselves, its the truth at the core of our realities. If we stopped engaging in the world around us and within us, we’d cease to exist!
Justice. Engagement is the ultimate form of justice, whether we’re engaging in ourselves or in the world around us. It is justice because, ultimately, we are the only people in charge of our engagement. We are the controllers of the deepest parts of our engagements who nobody, anywhere can harm or take away from. Engagement brings justice because it allows us to connect most deeply, truly, hopefully and sustainably.
Learning to release the tension, pressure, or stress of the daily choices we make might help us hold the engagements we do have in longer, wider, and deeper ways more clearly within our hearts and minds and throughout our lives. Maybe.