The World Can Only Change From Within

“Now is the time for the tribes of Sydney to gather, collaborate, be entertained and accelerate this revolution toward a more kind, conscious and sustainable world.” – Jono Fisher, Wake Up Sydney

This weekend I was lucky enough to attend a conference called Time for Renewal: The World Can Only Change From Within. It was held by Wake Up Sydney!, whose mission is to inspire a kindness revolution for ourselves, each other and the natural world. It was two days of music, inspirational speakers, meditation, and workshops focusing on how to be kinder to ourselves. It was a truly amazing experience for me to discover a whole “kindness community” I never even knew existed and to realise I really seriously need to start doing more kindnesses for myself. Here are the biggest lessons I took away from it all …

Don’t wait for a Big D.
Big Ds are the life challenges that everyone is faced with at some point – death, diagnosis, disaster, divorce, depression, disease, downturn, destruction… They are things that rock us to the very core, make us question who we are and why we are here. If we survive these Big Ds, we are forever changed. The suffering they cause breaks us open to answer the greater questions of our existence. If we had not experienced them, we would not have been forced to get to face truths about ourselves and our lives. They require us to develop new ways of being in the world. Hopefully they make us live a more grateful, more purposeful, more kindful life. But why wait for a Big D to live this way? Why not be consciously aware each day of the preciousness of life? Why not start thinking right now about what we want to achieve in our lifetime and how we want to be remembered?

Live all the seasons.
Everyone wants to be happy. But even the happiest of people experience anger, sadness, frustration, regret … Just like summertime comes and goes, so too does happiness. No one can live a summer life all the time. We must accept negative emotions for what they are and think about what we can learn from them. This lesson really hit home for me. When someone very close to me died a couple of years ago, I felt very much like I should try to remember the happy memories and not wallow in sadness because that was not what they would want. However, denying the negative feelings was not making me happy. In fact, the suppressed sadness was like a weight on my chest, making it hard to breathe, hard to sleep, hard to do anything much at all. Then a friend of mine gave me the most wonderful gift – he gave me permission to be sad. He told me sometimes really sad things happen, and you just have to let yourself be sad about it. So I did. And at first there was so much sadness I thought maybe I would never pull myself out of that well again, but after a long time of allowing myself to sit with that sadness without pushing it away I felt it gradually ebb away on its own. Trust that you are strong enough and resilient enough to get through any negative emotions and that embracing them will allow you to emerge more appreciative and more positive.

Make time for stillness.
Inner peace does not mean happiness all day every day. In practical terms it means embracing the moment regardless of the challenges it presents with an open heart and a quiet mind. In order to develop a quiet mind, we must make time for stillness in whatever form fills us up. It doesn’t have to be sitting cross-legged with eyes closed saying “ommm” (although this works great for many people) – it could be listening to beautiful music, writing in a journal, walking in nature, people-watching at a cafe… Whatever makes your mind calmer and clearer and allows you to gain perspective. Make it a priority by deciding that your own wellbeing will come before all else, because it is the foundation for success in every other aspect of life.

Realise everything you have ever done was the right thing.
Wow. Really? But what about …? And even that time …? Yes. Every decision we make takes us in a new direction and helps us to change, learn and grow. The moments we don’t want to face are the ones that offer the chance to heal like no other moment can. The past has brought you to right here and now, armed with all the lessons you need to go forward. It is not possible to change anything that has already happened, but it is very possible to change your perspective of it. Did someone stomp all over your heart, and you are left angry and resentful that you didn’t see it coming? Why not re-frame the scenario to be incredibly grateful to that person for showing their true colours and setting you free to find someone who will give you 110% like you deserve? The greatest gift you can give to the world is your very best self, and that means accepting yourself and your past completely. That way you can move forward with a peaceful mind and channel all your energy into what you are meant to contribute to the world.

Stay on your own mat.
Sometimes when attending an exercise class its hard not to look around at other people and compare your own flexibility, or speed, or strength to theirs. But really, these comparisons don’t help us to perform better and usually end up making us feel bad about ourselves because there will always be someone who has more flexibility, speed or strength than us. The same is true in life – everyone is on their own path, with their own strengths and weaknesses. So we need to stop comparing ourselves to others and keep our focus on our own mat. Forget about what everyone else is doing, and concentrate on being the best version of yourself.

Be grateful for bees.
As I said in the introduction to the previous post by gorgeous Lesh, one of the most striking moments of the whole conference for me was being told that one bee works their whole lifetime in order to produce just a quarter of a teaspoon of honey. If we want to be truly kind to ourselves, that means rediscovering the rhythms of mother nature and recognising that we are connected to all creatures. We have a responsibility to not only feed our bodies with the cleanest, most nourishing foods but also to consider whether we are taking only what we need and doing so in a truly kind and ethical way. And that leads me to …

This week’s kindness challenge: Make food choices that are kind to animals and planet earth. Check out Lesh’s guest post for lots of simple, practical ideas (and check out her blog for awesome vego recipes if you are so inclined!)

22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Patricia
    Jul 27, 2011 @ 00:15:50

    “Stay on your own mat” Life is so much nicer when we just live our own life and not try to be someone other than who we are. Thanks for the reminder.


  2. 12 Novels in 12 Months
    Jul 27, 2011 @ 05:11:36

    Thanks for sharing all the lessons that you learned or were reaffirmed for you. It’s so easy for me to get sucked into being perfect and proper all the time that I forget that life is messy. I know I’m happiest when I’m open to what Life has to offer me.

    Thanks for these reminders!


    • happydancecat
      Jul 29, 2011 @ 21:42:47

      It’s important to embrace lifes messiness not just for happiness but also creativity! I think the most interesting writing embraces the dark and light of the human experience.


  3. Patty
    Jul 27, 2011 @ 06:46:34

    Beautiful post. Thanks so very much for your insight.


  4. Trackback: Conference on Kindness in Australia
  5. Lesh @ TheMindfulFoodie
    Jul 29, 2011 @ 11:55:52

    Hello lovely, I love how you have articulated every single point! You write extremely well and with so much passion. All points hit home for me, but one in particular gave me the good reminder that I needed. Thank you, thank you, you gorgeous gal. Have a fabulous weekend. I intend to spend mine staying on my mat! 😉


    • happydancecat
      Jul 29, 2011 @ 21:53:02

      Aww thanks Lesh. Your mat is a friggin awesome place to be! You are achieving amazing things just by being yourself, sharing your love of food, animals and planet earth. 🙂


  6. positivityiskey
    Jul 29, 2011 @ 20:31:00

    Your insights are amazing – this is the wisdom of an ‘old soul’. Where does it come from? Keep up the wonderful, thought provoking posts. They are greaty appreciated and encourage us all to think about life in a more reflective and positive way.



    • happydancecat
      Jul 30, 2011 @ 07:40:06

      Thankyou mum. 🙂 The insights were distilled from a pool of old souls with lots and lots of wisdom! But I’m glad they made you feel reflective and positive.


  7. Watching Seasons
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 06:44:53

    I particularly enjoyed your advice under ‘Make time for stillness’. Thank you!


  8. Debbie
    Aug 01, 2011 @ 14:52:43

    Having experienced about 2/3’s of the big D’s, I finally made room for stillness a few years ago. Sage advice. Thank you.


    • happydancecat
      Aug 06, 2011 @ 13:51:16

      Good on you, Debbie. It was really an ah-ha moment when the speakers talked about how its inevitable that we will experience some big D’s in our lives, and yet we are always taken by surprise and usually unable or unwilling to effectively deal with them.


  9. roger elsinger
    Aug 02, 2011 @ 00:39:26

    Just discovered you through “themolesworthdiaries” blog …..
    Greetings from Albuquerque, New Mexico …. the high desert southwest.
    Thank you for engaging in this virtual presence …


  10. Pocket Perspectives
    Aug 06, 2011 @ 06:39:28

    What a wonderful blog and philosophy you have…and ahh yes, the big d’s…difficult, but I have so much more kindness and wisdom from getting through them. Thank you so much for your special insights… I’m right in here with you in the kindness commitment…my blog is full of “kindness” posts/images…kindness is my motivation these day. Please feel welcome to stop by my own blog… smiles to you, kathy


    • happydancecat
      Aug 06, 2011 @ 15:46:51

      Yes, you can’t escape the big D’s, so you may aswell learn something from them! Lovely to discover another kindness crusader. Your blog is beautiful Kathy. It truly provided me with so much inspiration today and I’ve been running very low lately! So thankyou.


  11. An Embarrassment of Freedom
    Aug 07, 2011 @ 14:59:22

    Scattering kindness as we go through our days is a great way to promote new roots of kindness to grow despite all the negativity in the world. Being kind to oneself, staying on one’s own mat as you say, let’s us breathe calmer and makes life sweeter. I enjoyed your post and the responses it inspired.


  12. Trackback: The True Meaning of Success (Wisdom from My Grandpa) « yearofkindness

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