By Tim E. Renzelmann
Much has happened since last week that has caused me to reflect a bit more deeply on what this advice to “Be an Ameri-CAN (and not an Ameri-CAN’T)” that I often hear from my dad really means.
I will eventually get back to this list that I started last week:
THINGS WE CAN DO:
1. Maintain/Develop a Healthy Routine X
2. Focus on the Present
3. Nurture Meaningful Relationships
4. Strengthen Social Connections
5. Exercise Your Body X
6. Express Gratitude
7. Appreciate Nature
8. Perform Random Acts of Kindness
9. Play, Laugh & Have Fun X
10. Learn Something New
11. Find Balanced Variety
12. Finish What You Started
13. Have Something to Look Forward To X
14. Pay Attention X
X = “Can Do’s” described in Part I
But following the disturbing and deeply disheartening events of this past week I found myself reflecting on a “Can Do” (and perhaps “MUST DO”) that I am adding to his list:
15. Be the Change You Want to See in the World
Gandhi is often credited with the saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” But from what I understand, he didn’t actually say that. Instead, he said something much more profound and meaningful.
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Admittedly, I am a simple man with a simple mind... and I tend to oversimplify some things while complicating others. I like the simple and clear direction to “be the change you want to see in the world.” But few things in life worth doing are easy.
It is too easy to look at the actions and violence of others, whether they be racists or looters, and determine how their beliefs and their actions must change. The real change... the meaningful change... will only come when we each look deeply within ourselves and examine with total honesty that within each of us that CAN (and must) change!
To be a truly good Ameri-CAN (and not an Ameri-CAN’T) we CAN (and must) stop judging others, we CAN (and must) stop complaining about others and begin reflecting on ourselves, we CAN (and must) take action in the only world over which we have any control: ourselves!