Yes it has been a while. Ironically, the sheer mass of events, information and happenings locally and globally have made it very difficult to isolate my thoughts – uprisings in the Middle East, ideas sparked by the TEDxWaterloo experience, my recent vacation to a still Castro run Cuba, my 33rd birthday and, on the same day, the devastating earthquake and resulting tsunamis in Japan. I’ve been questioning the very notion of democracy and freedom and coming to grips with the sometimes cruel realities of nature. The world is in flux – especially today.
17 year old sailor Abbey Sunderland, who attempted to solo circumnavigate the globe in January 2010, ended her TEDxWaterloo presentation with, “When your rouge wave hits, what will you do?” At the time, I likened her words more to my everyday “rouge waves” rather than the literally mammoth one brewing across the globe. By March 11th, as I was sitting on a beach feeling really lucky just to be birthday girl me while others were just trying to survive in Japan – it occurred to me that the real question should be, “When a rouge wave hits others, what I am going to do to help?” Surprisingly, that’s when things got complicated. I tried to figure out not only how to help, but who to help. After all, there are so many people and places in need of all kinds of things, where do I start?
Does building a better world for ourselves and others start at home or “out there?” Is fighting for arts funding in my backyard just as important as helping people to fight for their right to free speech? Is donating money just as good as time? Is it all for nothing anyway? Is there a middle ground in all this?
In the end I do think that it is all worthly of our time and attention, that “there” and “here” are equally important. That no effort to make things better is a waste of time – period. Focusing our efforts on different things is not a waste, there are simply a lot of things/issues/ideas/people to care about. So pick the arts, disaster relief, human rights advocacy or make your child’s school a better place or your street a little bit cleaner. Discovering what we care about individually and collectively will help all of us to build happy and thriving groups, communities, countries and ultimately a larger global family. One is not complete without the others. And if we’re successful, we’ll get to ride those “rouge waves” together. It will still be a rough ride, you’ll definitely lose your hat and most likely your boom, but it’s always easier when you are not alone.
How to get started:
KW Volunteer Action Center>
The Red Cross>
GAP Adventures Volunteer Trips>
Engineers without Borders Canada>
– More to come on democracy, freedom and all things truly confounding in the coming weeks.