I Wanted To Change The World
When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.
When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.
Author: Unknown Monk 1100 A.D.
I’ve shared this poem with multiple people this week, because its message has been resonating with me a lot lately. I want to change the world just as much as anyone. I’ve had help in translating that desire into my mission, which is to bring love and knowledge to the doubtful, the worried, and the afraid, so that they may find their power, realize that everything is ok, and become the healers of their communities. I like my mission because it’s much easier to wrap my head around than simply changing the world. How? Where do I start? Well, if I’m changing the world by bringing love and knowledge to the doubtful, the worried, and the afraid, the first person I will encounter who fits that description is myself. Like the author of the above poem, though, I didn’t realize this at first. As a result of some combination of a poor awareness of boundaries, a strong sense of compassion, and a Berkeley public elementary school social justice education, my problem-solving brain has had its attention occupied with external problems for most of my life. I only started looking inward in 2009 as a result of a break-up that triggered my inner child’s pain from my biological parents’ divorce. Existential pain is what finally turned my gaze inward. It’s been a long journey: even after learning to turn my gaze inward, it’s taken over 11 years to peel through layers of psychospiritual gunk to start realizing what power I potentially have access to if I continue to remember this truth: Heal myself first, because if I don’t, it’s going to be a lot harder to heal anyone else. Healing is like climbing out of a pit. As I start seeing over the edge of my wounding, I start really understanding what my wounding is and what wholeness feels like. And I’ll tell you one thing: wholeness feels a lot more powerful than what I’ve felt for most of my life.
Upcoming Course – Thursdays, 12-1pm PST, May 6 – June 10, 2021: “Befriend the Change – A 6-week course uncovering the connection between personal work and social change”
Are you distressed by all the division and conflict that exists between people today? Do you find yourself avoiding “touchy subjects” like COVID, systemic racism, and climate change with certain family members or friends? Does all this leave you feeling hopeless for humanity’s future? On May 1, 1992, Rodney King asked, “Can we all get along?” Today, 29 years later, it seems like the answer is no. But what if the solution to humanity’s problems were actually simpler than you thought? On May 6, 2021, join us for a six-week online course on how personal growth and healthy relationship skills can save the world. Befriend the Change. Click here for more info.
Nauser Bear is a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT#123099, licensed with the BBS as Nicholas Reynolds) in California. To work with Nauser, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, call (510) 394-5373, or schedule a free 20-minute consultation by clicking here.
Disclaimer: This blog and comments on it do not constitute medical or mental health advice. If you are in need of support and live in California, contact me to set up a consult to see if working together is a fit. Otherwise, seek mental health support in your area. If you are in danger of hurting yourself or someone else, please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention hotline, which is available 24/7, at 800-273-8255.