As if our world wasn’t turbulent enough, we are now faced with news that Russia has invaded Ukraine. And that should matter to you immeasurably, because the fall of Ukraine would mean another democracy succumbing to authoritarian power.
Many of us feel helpless in the face of so much dire news. How can I make a difference? I’m just one person after all.
About twelve years ago, a random taxi ride in Miami, Florida led my husband and I to start a non-profit called Be the Power of One. The concept was simple, really. One person’s actions, combined with the actions of many others, can affect significant, positive change in the world. That’s the power of one.
So what are some of the things you can do to affect change? Here are some ideas:
Of course you knew I had to start with this. Meditation reminds us that we are all connected. Meditation helps us to become more compassionate. Meditation leads us to respond instead of react. You can’t control the people around you, but you can control how you choose to respond to them.
Don’t give up hope
Being hopeful doesn’t mean you have to delude yourself into thinking everything is just fine. It’s more like realism, recognizing and accepting the obstacles in life and working towards the best possible outcome. Hope is about potential, the ability to see what is possible. So, in order to make a difference, you must first embrace hope.
Lovingkindness was the topic of one my recent blog posts. It’s the equivalent of sending thoughts and prayers to those in need. Yes, I know, the world needs more than just your thoughts and prayers, but it’s something every one of us can do, and if every one of us did, there would be no more war.
Contribute your resources to a reputable charity
That can be in the form of a monetary donation, time or supplies. There are a lot of charities out there, some not so reputable, so be sure to do your homework on Charity Navigator.
Keep up on current events
Choose your news sources wisely. Do your research. Listen to well-respected, centrist media outlets and get your information from several sources. Be cautious about information that is spread on social media. One much-loved weapon of dictators and autocrats is disinformation.
Teach your children well
Teach them compassion. Teach them to speak their truth. Teach them the value of education. They are our future.
Keep a beginner’s mind
Buddhist monk Shunryu Suzuki wisely said, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” Be open to new viewpoints.
Talk productively to those that are different than you
Open up your sphere of influence by sitting down with someone from a completely different background – whether that’s politically, racially, ethnically, economically, who they love, or any other of the myriad ways we are different. It can help to set some guidelines, so the conversation doesn’t devolve into shouting. Check out Living Room Conversations for ideas on topics and guidelines.
Stand up for human dignity
Many of the world’s conflicts are related to the withholding of basic human rights. Dictators use this as a way to control people. Hate speech riles those of like minds. Make sure everyone knows your stand on human rights by calling out all hateful actions, everything from racist/sexist jokes to unfair employment practices.