Saturday, September 8, 2012

Change Yourself, Change the World

My gosh!
This is when that shirt wasn't faded!
Must be ... uhm ...
20 years ago?
How have I changed?
Being ensconced in shelters, food banks, poverty assistance programs, as a user;

Observing the same systems as an advocate;

Pondering the systems I was brought up in, or, more truthfully had to survive through from infancy thru major portions of adulthood;

As my voice grows to its full timber, character, and expression, I find myself looking for ways-and-means to alter ... transform ... change what I perceive to be unhealthy, unbalanced, and not-working in my communities.

My strongest belief is "if I keep doing things the same way, expecting different results, I am crazy-making."

A question that occurs, is "How many times do you try something before concluding it's crazy-making?"

I have no definitive answer for that.

I believe it's okay, and not earth-shattering to have no answer.  To not know something.  And yet to still go on.

No matter what paradigm you choose to peruse, no matter the belief system, the methodology, the ways-and-means -- of health, art, life, work, play, sleep, food, community, relations, ... what-have-you -- no one thing seems to work for everybody.

Yet, most of us walk around with a belief that there is a right way and a wrong way, and if we find the right way, all is well with the world.  I see it modeled not only in service agencies, but in corporate, educational and familial relations.

The right/wrong ways that have been forced on me, proposed to me, offered to me, given to me, and that I've been invited haven't yet made "the world a better place to live in" from my viewpoint.

Highly eclectic, I pick and choose what seems to flow and flourish for me.  (Yes, those terms are specific.  For information on Flourish, check out Martin E. P. Seligman, his book published in 2011; and the website   For Flow, check out and  Mihály Csíkszentmihályi)

These are concepts I was drawn to before I had the "words" provided by Seligman and Csíkszentmihályi. 

As well, I advocate for awareness.  And recognizing choice, in fact, not only recognizing choice, actively using it on a moment-to-moment basis.

So, what you may ask, does this have to do with transforming homelessness, poverty, and abuse?

For me everything.

Listening to, watching, interacting with my street peers; those in the social services that offer help and assistance; and watching the local (neighborhood, town, county) to general (state, continent) to global (worldwide) expressions of those looking at the situations from whatever perspective they have; I'm seeing things that strike chords of injustice, terrorization, and depression in my heart, I wonder,

"How do I change this?"  "How do I work with others to change this?"   "What can I do to show  others some of the many ways to feel balance, well-being, and joie-de-vivre in life?"   And, "What can I do to share with others what I've learned?  The things that have allowed me to claim and act on my power, my *voice*, my birthright of living?"

I see people dealing with symptoms.  And yes, symptoms need to be dealt with.

However, they do not resolve the issues.

So what in tarnation do we do?  Or in this case, what do I do?

I cheer on services that make even the slightest bit of difference to nourishing and helping a person Flourish.

I back people, places, and events with my volunteer time.

I talk about what I perceive makes things Flourish and Flow on my communication tools (mostly social media, however, since I do volunteer work, in-person is also valuable sharing time).

I am express my ideas, concepts, feelings and explorations, no matter what others may consider them (good or bad) because we teach each other every minute.  By what we do and how we act.  By sharing what we think worked and didn't work for us.  By be-ing.  It's how humans teach each other.  It's how our core beliefs are built when we are young, and it's how we can change them as we continue to grow.

I take advantage of the one-on-one moments that occur in my life circles; as well as generating group workshops/events that foster my awareness along with modelling for others how I do it for myself.

The things I see that enable people to make transformations in their lives; no matter their strata, their housing situation, their economic situation, their physical health situation, their relations; are tools that build and give reinforcement to their sense of self: their interdependence, their uniqueness, their power, their expression, their acceptance of themselves and that they affect/effect their world.

I don't know why.  Frankly, I don't give a damn, Scarlet.  I know that various tools work, because I've used them to transform from a *victim mentality* to a *I-am-woman/human/energy/hear-me-roar" mentality.

These tools are many.  And they may vary from person to person. (And are going to take more than just this blog post to enumerate!)

I believe one of the ways to resolve the issues of homelessness, poverty and abuse is to model positive emotion, nourish means of activating and sustaining self-confidence and self-awareness, generating feeling safe and secure within yourself as this allows you to treat others humanely, and recognizing you can transform your brain (neurobiology/neuropsychology -- see "The Woman Who Changed Her Brain" by Barbara Arrowsmith-Young).

Yes, I think myself and my street peers need to be fed tangible food, need to have tangible shelter, and means of tanbigle communication with the world beyond the streets.

I applaud all the services, advocates, agencies and other people who perform this herculean task.

I invite you to take it further.

If you are a service provider ... I invite you to consider how you personally need flourishing events in your own lives, and to provide them for yourselves.

Not only do you benefit, you transform from doing the same things over and over, hoping for that different result. You illumine the success you achieve and provide a nourishng living model for those you're trying to help to pattern themselves after.

Frankly, you cannot give that benefit if you do not have it.  Even with the best of intentions, one gives what they have ultimately.  And if you have despair, pity, and/or scorn it shows through in what you give.

Need ideas on flourishing events?  I guarantee you won't like all my ideas, however, I come up with enough of them to keep a journals overflowing.  And to keep me busy concocting workshops, peer interactions, and self-transformation.  If I turn up empty on ideas that spark you, I can always point you to others who generate more ... it's a ...

Flourishing Flow.

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