X is for Xenacious
Updated: Sep 27, 2021
I didn’t know this until recently, but apparently I am xenacious! (someone yearning for change)
“Be the change you wish to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi
We are only going to see change if we are prepared to change ourselves. Change begins from within and then spreads via our interactions with others just like mycelium, the mass of branching, thread-like hyphae from fungi. Mycelium grows and spreads through the soil and when conditions are favourable it produces fruit. These new mushrooms produce spores which spread via the wind and the cycle starts again.
Taking this analogy further, latest research shows that as mycelium spreads and comes in contact with the roots of trees, as well as seeking nourishment, they become interconnected so much so that it is possible for them to ‘send messages’ along the network of the roots (Nature's internet!). The mycelium functions as a feeding structure of a fungus (just like the words we feed each other and ourselves). Mycelium makes up for the fungus’ lack of mobility by its ability to grow rapidly throughout a food source. Further parallels can be seen in today’s technological world where it is possible for our words to travel easily and have an impact far and wide even if our movements are restricted in the current climate.
The mycelium and trees live in a symbiotic relationship with each other. This is where the analogy fails however, as unlike them, we are not always so helpful to each other, failing to recognise that we are also interconnected and what we do to or for one person, we do to or for humanity as a whole.
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.” Wayne W Dyer
Once again change begins with ourselves. If we talk to ourselves negatively and focus on all the things that we perceive as going wrong in our lives, our negative-based language will contribute to dragging us in a downward spiral. If, on the other hand, the words we use are positive and uplifting, and we have an ‘attitude of gratitude’ and focus on the things that are good and positive in our lives, the way we interact with others and the responses we get in return will be entirely different. Long story short, our words and attitudes have a direct impact on our thoughts, emotions, relationships and environment per se.
“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.”
Max de Pree
How can we change the world?
“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela
We are not called to effect massive changes recognised globally, but if we consciously practise small incremental changes and are mindful of our interactions with others then we will begin to effect a change on our immediate environment and just like with Random Acts of Kindness and the Pay it Forward movement, our small changes in attitude and lifestyle , which may seem insignificant to us, can have a ‘butterfly effect’* and spread out past our natural boundaries, via others to have an effect on people we may never meet. (*The butterfly effect is the concept that small things can have non-linear impacts on a complex system.)
“Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself.” Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi
These days we often hear people say how they wish things would change and go back to how we were before. But the world was not ok in the first place; we are slowly destroying it with our greed.
'The world has enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed.' Mahatma Gandhi
I personally am deeply saddened to think about how we have lost a unique opportunity to rebuild and change the world for the better as we seek to “live with Covid-19”. During our initial lockdown we saw signs of pollution reduction and nature flourishing, but because of the capitalistic society we live in, virtually all the ‘powers that be’ are looking to stimulate the economy as fast as possible or prop it up rather than looking to put in place long term measures that will restore a more beneficial relationship with our planet and reduce the impacts of stress.
“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Albert Einstein
Can you imagine the change that could take place if the world wasn’t weighted in favour of the rich or if the rich chose to forgo their tax advantages and invested in making the world a better place for everyone knowing that in so doing they were still helping themselves?
Everyone can make a difference to our own lives and the lives of others (remember the starfish story?). That difference however small will have a profound contribution to the ‘greater good’ and make the planet a better place for everyone. We can all be part of a movement to change the future by simply changing our attitudes and actions.
“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living” Gail Sheehy
If you want to explore this subject further, here are a few links to get you started:
“To create a better world, create a better you” Nisandeh Neta