Mahatma Gandhi once said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
I first heard this quote many years ago and it took a little longer for the deeper meaning of it to sink in. At the time, I was working for a small organization. Each week we’d hold our staff meetings and I’d leave discouraged and disappointed because I didn’t think we were hearing each other or connecting at the depth I’d hoped for. My judgment was that the others didn’t want to connect.
I chewed on my judgment for several months, became more disgruntled and judgmental.
Then, one morning as I was waking up, I started grumbling about how we’d have another staff meeting that wouldn’t be connecting or enjoyable, and a voice rang through my head: “Mary, if you want to connect, connect.”
And, I responded in my head, “They don’t want to connect!”
And, the voice said again: “If you want to connect, connect.”
“How can I connect with people who don’t want to connect?!” with a lot of self-righteous anger, frustration, judgment and blame.
“What do you want again?”
“I want to connect.”
“Then, connect…regardless of what other people do. Be the connection, Mary, if connection is important to you.”
And I got an inner kaboom. I got it. I understood the wisdom that if I truly wanted connection, I could bring it. And if I waited for other people to bring it to me, especially if I was waiting while in judgment of them, I could be waiting a very long time, maybe even a lifetime.
Have you ever had that kind of kaboom? The one that tells you that you’ve been waiting for something outside yourself that you already hold within you?
I went to our staff meeting that day with a commitment to connect and I felt mostly happy with how I’d accomplished my goal. I set that intention for the next several months as well and I began to enjoy our time together more and more; besides greater connection, I also felt greater trust. After some time, a member of the team said to me, “I’ve really been enjoying our staff meetings lately. Have you?”
I had my first (and many more to come as I continued to expand my Nonviolent Communication consciousness) tangible experience of shifting my behaviors and having a positive impact on others, of being the change I want to see in the world.
It was empowering and inspiring.
Consider what the quality of experience you most long for in your life and in the world…love, support, caring, equality, connection, nurturing….or something else. And, what is one tangible thing you can do to bring it.
Then, watch for the magic that could be the result.
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