At the beginning of the Art of Change-making, we were given space to consider our questions. Initially, I wasn’t sure. I began to write, “Where do I begin?”. Where indeed. When faced with the daunting issue of change, it’s not easy to know where to start. Change can mean many things and it can happen in many ways. I thought about change-makers who inspire me. What unique qualities do I see that they, as individuals, groups of people or even organisations share? For the most part, they are human, they are ordinary, they could be anybody. But what they do possess is a spark, a certain energy that sets them apart from others and, more importantly, a vision. Those with an understanding of the way things are and a clear idea of the way things could (/should) be are the ones who make things happen. I believe that those who have affected social change in the past, as well as “being the change they want to see in the world”, have the power to see the change they want to be.
The questions I began the course with were a bit all over the place:
How do I choose to live?
How should I live?
How do I want to live?
I asked these questions of all aspects of my life: personal, ethical, moral, active, on the inside and on the outside. I asked myself what were the differences between the answers to those three questions and what changes should I make to move from one towards another, and how? Again, where would I begin? I endeavoured to reflect on these questions over the course of the Art of Change-making and to try to figure out what positive change means to me on a personal level, so that I could carry this into the wider world.
Over the course of the Art of Change-making, we broke off into groups, where those of us with common ideals discussed some of our questions and our visions for change. A question that resonated with me at this time was:
Is there a truth in the world related to the truth in ourselves?
I believe, with my whole heart, that there is and I think that it is this truth that we, as humans, must connect with if we are to see a positive future. It is the truth of being, of humanity and of love. How do we connect to that truth? How do we help others to connect to it? These are big questions, but not impossible ones. Truth will always prevail, we just need to help people to see it.
The Art of Change-making was a privileged space in which we were given the freedom to examine our self. Spending a lot of time exploring our own values and reflecting on what is really important to us allowed me to really get in touch with me. The age of communication and entertainment makes for easy distraction and I often feel I have to make an effort to spend time with my own thoughts and feelings, when it should be second nature to do this. It was apparent that self exploration is something I need to do more of. I was beginning to find answers to my first questions!
The course sought to bridge the gap between thoughts and actions. Striking a balance between the two is an important skill as a change-maker, too much of one and not enough of the other can lead to overthinking things and getting nothing done, or leaping blindly into activity without proper consideration of what you are doing. People should strive to deeply understand and develop foresight around their cause if they are to take successful action…they should try to see their vision! By visualising the changes you want to see, it makes accomplishing change that bit easier.
I still carry the questions I began with and try to reflect on them and make changes to my life. Thinking about what my questions are results in me asking even more questions.
Do I have the same questions as others?
How do those of us with similar questions connect with one another in order to answer our questions together?
How will we turn our questions in to actions?
I feel as if the Art of Change-making helped to answer these questions. Many of us have similar goals and objectives. We need to make the effort to connect with one another, through platforms such as the Art of Change-making or contact-making seminars on similar themes. By doing this we can share our motivations, ideas and capacities and develop our collective vision. The Art of Change-making begins with the individual, but it takes the power of connection to really make a difference to the world.
I feel so lucky to have been afforded this time and the opportunity to work with positive, nurturing change-makers (some of those with a clear vision!). The meeting of such diverse people, with many different ideas and approaches to the theme of change, allowed for some really positive connections and exciting collective ideas. My working group had a strong motivation for a common objective and committed to working towards change together, through the Art of Change-making and beyond.