What Kind of World Do You Want to Live in?

When I finally started writing for Fierce Kindness in early February, none of us knew what lay ahead re: COVID, lockdown and the upending of our lives; we’re all doing our best to navigate this new world.

This week I’ve been reflecting on how our world has changed. So this article might get a little political (with a small p – no party politics!). And I hope you read this anyway…

The COVID crisis has highlighted systemic inequality in our societies as the poorest are hit hardest. This is often, but not always, people of colour and immigrants.

On world leaders

We’ve seen that some world leaders have handled the COVID situation significantly better than others. And some have sought to take advantage.

Right now, there are challenges to democracy as some countries and leaders attempt to grasp more power – Hong Kong and Hungary to name a couple. The distraction offered by the crisis has also allowed authoritarian presidents like Bolsonaro in Brazil to step up his deadly campaign against remaining indigenous tribes that block logging of the Amazon rainforest.

And in addition:

The state of uncertainty is compounded – especially in the US – by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and more – because of the colour of their skin.

And it’s not just America.

In Canada for example, the deaths of Regis Korchinski-Paquet and indigenous woman Chantel Moore – during mental wellness checks – at the hands of the police leave (so far) unanswered questions.

All this comes on the heels of the #MeToo movement which highlighted deep-seated anti-female prejudice – and showed that people in power will happily abuse it.

On a more positive note…

It’s been interesting to see how governments have managed to house the homeless, give out payments to support people and businesses who have lost income during the crisis.

And it’s been wonderful to see the positive impact on the environment from cutting back on industry, flying and military operations. (Did you know that the military are one of the biggest producers of carbon emissions?)

What I see in the last little while is that people around the world are waking up. We are all more politically aware now than we were before COVID. How could we not be?

So. A key goal at Fierce Kindness is to help us all be happier.

But it’s hard to be happy when our world is in such a delicate place. It’s hard to be happy when people are stressed, afraid, frustrated, angry, concerned, confused – or all of these.

So it’s essential to remember to be kind and gentle with ourselves – and others.

And while there may be a lot wrong with the world right now, there’s also a lot that’s right – and part of what’s right is YOU.

Frances Moore Lappe Quote About our WorldSo, this week, as curfews are imposed all over America, as “anti-racist” becomes a common expression, I encourage you to educate yourself about what’s going on in our world. Have an opinion, but keep an open mind. Have some difficult conversations that stretch your thoughts – and beliefs – in new ways.

Fierce Kindness is about making a choice to be compassionate towards ourselves, others and our planet. And it’s also about taking courageous action.

I’m reminded of the French Revolution in 1789. While it was a bloody affair and there was a lot of in-fighting and injustice, it was the people who organized and made change.

The slogan, Liberté, égalité, fraternité seems particularly relevant right now: Freedom, equality, brotherhood. Although I prefer “Community” instead of the last.

This week, I want you to remember your opinion matters. You matter. How you live your life, the choices you make, who you support, what you say and what you do – it all makes a difference.

I’ll leave you with some questions to ponder:

  • What kind of world do you want to live in?
  • Where can you begin to make a difference? (however small)
  • What are some personal things you can do?

It’s not just “charity” that starts at home – change does too

And if you’re looking for more of a challenge, perhaps you’ll:

  • Choose one thing to learn more about – whether it’s the environment, abuse of power, what it means to be anti-racist, #metoo and sexism or something else.

It could be as simple as googling any of the names or things I’ve mentioned in this newsletter. Check for yourself.

Remember that you have power to influence our world through your words, actions – and choices.

I read that for change to happen, it takes 20% of people to be vocal. I’m not sure it’s that easy, but it’s definitely a start.

Love, Emma-Louise x

And some resources you may find helpful include:

  • I’ve ordered the book: “Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness” by Anastasia Higginbotham which The New York Times describes as “An honest explanation about how power and privilege factor into the lives of white children, at the expense of other groups, and how they can help seek justice.” It’s aimed at 8-12 year olds, so I’m hoping it’ll make sense to me 😉
  • This website aims to guide us to use more conscious language: The Conscious Style Guide  has a number of resources and links to help us understand issues more deeply in the areas of ethnicity, gender, ageism, ability/disability and more.
  • This article: 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
  • The Representation Project (challenging gender stereotypes)
  • To learn more about mental health, addiction, homelessness, indigenous issues and more these .pdf Visions Magazine issues from the Canadian Mental Health Association provide personal stories and viewpoints from health care providers and receivers, family as well as experts. The articles apply beyond Canadian borders, are thoughtfully and inclusively done and really make you think.
Change the world, start with you!

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And if you know of helpful resources, share in the comments below.

Image of Butterfly and Flower by LedyX via Shutterstock

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