The world is in a state. Where do we even begin? What the $#%* can we do to make the situation better, now?! How are we going to change the world?
We start by starting. Start with anything! Start with caring, and feeling like you can actually make a difference; start by finding good little things you can do in any day that bring you happiness while you do them. Start by seeing the possibilities, and taking a first step.
There has been so much bad news around lately it all feels totally overwhelming. It’s natural to feel powerless in the face of these challenges, and, at the same time, feel too small to make any real difference. Any sense of personal joy goes completely out the window, and the idea of doing things that make you happy surely can’t be that important, given all the terribly important things going on out there.
But all of us, communities and individuals, are the world’s hope. What we do can make a difference – to our little patch, to the greater world and to our own happiness. We can be this hope, for there are infinite possibilities to the greatness we can achieve when we are active in creating our lives; and open to the wonder, the game changing ideas, the possibility of real good, positive change.
Doing simple things that make a difference in your world is a wonderful way to feel happy; when you’re feeling happy you can achieve so much more, you can do almost anything.
If you’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed, I understand. But I hope you don’t feel like you have to be stuck there, not knowing where or how to do something that will make a difference; of course you can make a great difference in this world, your world – we all can.
Now is the time to feel like we can all do something good.
What if we all thought of each other, and the planet, as if we were dear friends? When we truly care about something we want to nourish it, support it and see it do well. Living with our hearts open and acting on good intentions we can be the caring change we all want to see.
This will probably mean we all have to live in a way that is a bit more hands on; taking care in the living of our lives. But I’m not worried about that, because living in this way comes with the bonus of opening our eyes not only to what needs doing, but also to the good that is already going on around us. We will see new ways we can contribute to that kind of good action we all need.
Do good, feel good; feel good, do good – Gretchen Rubin.
Make a difference in your own way, in your own life, and you will can find your power – by living your truth. The simple things you do to green your little patch will benefit you, and others. Even more so if you share your ideas. Doing good things makes us happy, which in turn inspires us (and others) to do more good things. Win, win all round.
I read a lot about happiness over the summer, and have realised that I’m way happier when I’m doing things, rather than just thinking about the things I should do. When all I do is think, I can feel like I am getting nowhere, and in fact, that’s kind of what ends up happening. Thinking too much just paralyses me. So I am keeping my thoughts simple, and instead just trying to put in action the ideas that pop into my head – actually putting my best foot forward towards getting good things done.
Doing things makes you happy. And happiness is a great motivator; achieving something simple and feeling good about it is great fuel to help you do the next, great thing.
What do I mean? Well, when something bothers you take a simple step to try and fix it. In life this often looks like emptying the trash or recycling even if it isn’t your turn; or putting another person’s dirty socks in the washing machine to get them off the lounge room floor. And when this thing is something much bigger, like the world really needs us all to care a whole lot more right now, then these little actions will be about the things you can do in the living of your life today that will help the earth, rather than hurt it.
Remember these actions can be simple, this is key, because when something feels simple, it also feels like way less effort, dare I say, even effortless (which I know we all need in our busy lives).
That little thing, like taking a shopping bag with me every time, and always saying no to a plastic bag (or just using my arms, if I have forgotten one) – no problem, I can do that!
Problems can be really vast I know; everything can’t just be fixed with one step in one minute – but what we really need to do is make a start, and get the momentum of change going. Just start with one step you can take care of right now, in the next 5 minutes. Can you find a small way to do good, and feel good?
Let’s make small changes, good ones and see what we can grow from there.
What can you do today if you’re stumped for ideas? Open your eyes to possibility is number one, closely followed by giving a damn and putting some of your thoughts into actions.
You get to decide what this looks like for you! Does it look like joining an organisation, or making your voice heard; is it talking to a neighbour, or emailing your thoughts to a politician? Does it look like planting a tree or some flowers in your garden, or choosing to buy your food without plastic? Is it making your own bread to share with your family, and saving a single use plastic bag (plus fresh bread and a delicious smelling house)? Or is it catching the water you use to wash your hands or vegetables and using it to water a plant, rather than it just going down the drain? Is it going to a farmer’s market and talking to the people who grow your food, connecting with the process of where your food comes from and learning about what is in season? Or is volunteering or donating somewhere where there is need? Is it changing energy providers or banks or superannuation funds to ones whose ethics and intentions are more aligned with yours? Maybe it’s getting your daily exercise in by riding or walking somewhere, instead of taking the car.
We can all do something and it doesn’t have to be, or feel, huge for it to make a positive difference. Keep it simple and let the feeling of making a little difference make you happy!
The simple things I am doing today are walking to school instead of driving, catching water from the kitchen sink and taking it out to the garden, baking something good (I hope) with some not-so-tasty pumpkin so that it doesn’t go to waste and taking my reusable coffee cup and all my own bags when I go shopping – yes, including ones for the fruit and vegetables – there’s no way around it, those little bags you put your veggies in are plastic too, ‘reusable’ or not! I’m choosing ingredients that are local and in season, and then figuring out what the hell I’m going to make with them, and with that hopefully making some wonderful new discoveries too.
I’m talking to my kids about how what they want to buy creates demand, and how they can use that power to make good choices. I’m giving them a lunchbox free from packaging, as standard, every day.
I’m choosing to pay a teeny bit more for our power to be 100% renewable – because a few dollars a week is just a cup of coffee to me (really) and of course I want to use and encourage renewable energy. I’m examining my bank’s climate policy and finding out where they are investing their money.
And I’m talking to you about it all, so that hopefully you feel encouraged to do the same.
‘Doing better’ is just about making positive and active choices, and keeping your thoughts about it simple so that you actually make those changes. Think about it simply, and it’s more likely to feel effortless.
Effortless change to you might mean sitting down and planning about the best way to work some new things into your life. Or if you’re like me, it might mean you need to stop thinking it as much, and just get to it.
However you get there, know that you giving a damn does make a difference to us all.
Whatever changes you make that work well for you, tell your friends; your ideas can help inspire them to make positive changes too – together we’ll be even stronger, and create more change.
I don’t have a recipe for you this time, and I hope that’s okay. I hope that these thoughts can nourish you instead, and inspire something positive in your day. There are so many ideas of ways to do good out there, and I want to share some that work for me, with you, over the coming weeks; they will be simple, so you can effortlessly make this good way of life your own.
Now, I’m off to water a tree, pick some basil and hang out the third load of washing in the sun. And, figure out what to do with that pumpkin that needs eating. If it turns out to be anything good, I’ll let you know.
If you have any simple good things that you do in your everyday life to make your world a better place, then please share them here so we can all know, and maybe do them ourselves! You’re awesome, and together we’re the start of something big. Just look at us go!