Becoming a Catalyst for Change



I want to change the world in a big way.


I really do.


This has been something I’ve felt since a young age.


The problem is, I get so overwhelmed thinking about how I am going to do that.


Where do I start? What (of the many) causes do I support with my efforts? How the hell am I really going to change the world?


It’s so hard to know where to begin. Everything feels so confusing, the world feels mega disheartening, and life feels like it’s crumbling around us sometimes, especially right now. There’s so much injustice in the world, so much poverty, cruelty, and lack of true love and peace.


How do I teach people how to be kind? How do I teach people how to choose love over hate? How can I help show others how they can wake up right now and begin becoming a catalyst with me? A momentum for change.


I want to be the change I want to see in the world.


I embody the ideals of Gandhi, Buddha, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and all other holy and enlightened beings that have walked this planet. War, terror, and hate will never be able to take over my heart.


Yet, how do I help the world embody this, too?


Changing the World One Heart at a Time


Who in this world do you think’s heart would be the hardest to inspire change?


Right now, Vladmir Putin comes to mind. And you know, the more I think about him, the more I wonder about his childhood and how he grew up.


I’m reading Oprah’s new co-written book, “What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing” and it’s based on the idea (and scientific studies) that it’s not about “what’s wrong with us” but about “what happened to us.” It’s a shift in perspective from seeing ourselves and others as “broken, fucked up, or unhealthy” because there’s just something wrong with us or them. And instead, being curious. What happened to me or someone else that has caused them to create these behaviors, patterns, beliefs, and thought processes?


So even with Putin, I’m curious… what happened to him?


After doing a quick Google search, I learned that his childhood was absolutely devastating.


Trauma is Universal

Putin was born into the Second World War.


A story from his autobiography accounts, “Once my mother fainted from hunger. People thought she had died, and they laid her out with the corpses. Luckily Mama woke up in time and started moaning.”


As a child, Putin was not a world leader with the goal of total domination. He was a little boy, scared, hungry, and living through total devastation.


You can imagine how those wounds have hardened.


As a boy, Putin was bullied. And now he is the bully.


It’s interesting isn’t it, how our childhood shapes our whole lives?


I wonder what would have been different if Putin had a different childhood experience, or even received really effective therapy in early adulthood.


I recount Putin in this way not to make you fall in love with him, but to help people understand how deeply rooted we are in our own pain and trauma. It’s not easy to see people in this way and trust me, I get it. I lived on the side of blame for far too long (as many do) and it can be much easier to simply blame people for the way they are, but the reality is, that’s not the whole picture.


A lot of what happens to us in early childhood development is not our fault. How could it be when we are children? Our entire life is pretty much dependent on the people around us. We have very little sovereignty. And without loving guides holding space for our emotions, we can become little tyrants because we aren’t getting what we need.


And then those moments of acting out or expressing our emotions fully (because we have a need and it isn’t being met) then becomes punished, chastised, and told it’s “wrong or bad” to behave that way.


This creates trauma and cycles that carry into adulthood.


How to Heal Injustices


The way to healing, I’ve found, is to be able to see yourself and others in a softer light. To stop blaming people for who they are and instead be curious about them and how and why they are who they are.


I no longer subscribe to the idea that we can solve world hunger or create world peace.


While lovely ideas, they just aren’t realistic or possible because there will always be duality. Bad, evil, horrible people and circumstances are always going to exist. Because without the dark, there is no light. Without knowing what true devastation is, we wouldn’t know what true love is.


The way to heal injustices, according to me, is to be able to hold both of these sides of the spectrum lightly. Not putting too much weight on either end of the spectrum. And finding my center somewhere in the middle. Simply standing sturdy in the middle, holding both dark and light with grace, empathy, and compassion.


In this way, I can navigate whatever the circumstances are and I’m not totally derailed when I see suffering or thrust into martyrdom when I do something good for humanity. I am simply being and doing as my best self.


Living in this way, I’ve found, provides a sustainable source of light for others to follow, too. Being able to hold both goodness and evil is a true gift and it is a gift of leaders.


Finding the balance and harmony in life creates a leadership that feels good to people. It provides hope and practicality, love and transparency. You can be a witness to pain and suffering without letting it overcome you and you can contribute to love and peace without being fully consumed by it.


In this way, you are able to stand on a firm foundation of solid ground and grow flowers from exactly where your feet are planted.


Choosing Love and Compassion


We have a choice every day. We can choose to act, speak, and live from a place of love and kindness or a place of fear and hate.


If you’re like me, the darkness may have been your comfort zone in the past. I lived in the dark, I lived asleep. And it took work to see the light and consistently choose happiness, peace, and love every day. Many of us start there. Consumed by all that is “bad” and “wrong” in the world. And although it may feel like where you need to be, I can promise you, that once you get a taste of the other side, you’ll want to explore it more.


The trouble is, although it’s important to choose light and love, you also can’t live only there. It can become just as toxic as choosing to stay asleep in the dark.


The world is not only anything and so when you get caught up in trying to live only in one way, you’re going to run into some problems. And likely, you will ignore these problems because when you live in only love and light, “problems are bad.”


The truth is, though, that problems are part of our human experience.


Letting problems take over you is not great, but making room for your problems and facing them head on with confidence and courage is when you really start becoming a warrior. And you can choose to attack your problems with love and compassion. You can choose to work through your problems with a lightness and fun that we were never taught to use when dealing with hard stuff. You can even dance right through the pain, woes, and tribulations and find joy in your journey.


The choice is always yours when it comes to how you want to deal with things. The important thing is that you deal with them. And your highest self is totally capable of conquering every aspect of your journey with love and compassion. Making this choice as often as possible is, to me, what changes the world.