In the global swirl of events marked by upheaval and utter chaos, I have been given to reflect upon how fragile the ground under us has become .
A few weeks ago, while practicing at a yoga studio in a southeastern town of the United States, I came across a poster that was hung in the women’s locker room.
It seemed innocent enough.
An illustration of a carefree woman riding her bicycle, her limbs dangling in space, a tiara on her head, was accompanied by the following text : “If I had a magic wand, I believe I could cure the world.” Amusing? Disarming? Charming?
At the same time, international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney was waging a campaign to free Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian national Baher Mohammed – arrested in Egypt as being enemies of the state for propagating terrorist propaganda. Her sustained legal efforts resulted in the pardon that was subsequently accorded by Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on the eve of the major Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
That’s the tricky thing about the message of the feel-good twinkly toes poster.
The magic wand is a hoax.
Thinking that all we have to do is wiggle our noses, wave our batons and look cute is a seemingly innocuous way of saying that imaginary power and wishful thinking is enough- all we as women have to do to fulfill our part in the social conversation. Whoa! The power of intention gone terribly awry. Instead of empowering us, these little prompts keeps us locked in Cinderella fairy tales, they keep us infantile, denying change by propagating the thinking that women can’t really be taken seriously as agents of change. When the propagating becomes self-muttered and then repeated, for other women to chant and learn, there’s a problem.
Creating the change we want to see in our societies requires decisive and intelligent action, strong conviction, reliable information and footwork. Look at Angela Merkel. Whether or not you like her immigration policies, she is taking the heat for the brave and pioneer stand she has taken on welcoming refugees of the Syrian civil war, a war that has created the largest planetary phenomenon of displaced persons the world has seen since World War II. Read this chilling fact : Each day, 9,500 civilians are forced to flee their homes in Syria – one family every minute. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, IDMC, as of the end of 2014, 38 million people around the world had been forced to flee their homes by conflict and violence.
My adopted godfather told me that we as women must do our part to help bring about meaningful social change. Our actions manifest in our homes, in our families, in our communities, in the workplace. They speak about how we treat ourselves and how we treat others, how we step forward or fall back, silent and sullen.
In the world of wellness – my professional domain – it is largely held that prevention is worth a pound of cure. Ignoring the realities and the facts of the world and the state of affairs will not go far in achieving either prevention or cure. We’ll just keep getting sicker.
It’s hard not be overwhelmed by the daunting size of world problems. But, that doesn’t or hasn’t stopped my circle of women from getting involved and making their voices heard. I am proud to know environmental leaders, political leaders, academics and artists, homemakers and herbalists all looking to effect change. They are all looking to do one thing, some thing, anything that can contribute to the world we live in today and the one we leave to our children, to the next generation.
I refuse to think that the legacy to which we aspire is that we have become self-serving, so bloated by advertising and accumulation and selfies and spin that we can’t or won’t look past the glib.
Take up Autumn’s invitation for shedding and change.
When you see messages that dumb us down, particularly in the world of wellness where you can run into some real nonsense and belly-gazing, the antithesis of self-awareness, slap yourself on the cheek, remind yourself that it is our collective awakening, and not our careless apathy, that will fuel a better tomorrow.
Do one small thing, every day, to take care of your world.
We may have low visibility and not know where the final destination will take us, but it’s effort, not magic wands, that will lead us homeward through the haze.