I’ve written before about the fact that I am not perfect. (I know—shocker!) For example:
- I once stood by as a sales person made racist remarks during a sales meeting. (I wanted to say, “If you have to preface your statement with ‘I know this isn’t PC, but,’ don’t say it!” But I didn’t.)
- I’ve taken my career so seriously that it upset the health of my family.
- I complain too much—especially when people don’t meet my (unrealistically?) high expectations.
- I sometimes pull out of commitments at the last minute, because I’d rather be reading in bed.
I’ve done—and continue to do—plenty of things of which I’m not proud.
Am I Worthy?
I think about this, and I wonder, who am I to call myself a social activist? I’m not Gandhi or Mother Theresa. I still live in a biggish house while writing about simple living. (Hearing Dee Williams, author of The Big Tiny, speak last night gave me even more perspective on what it really means to live simply.) I barely scrape together ten minutes of formal mindfulness practice each day, yet I’m giving lectures and presentations on mindfulness in education. I’m a health coach, but I just ate a pumpkin cheesecake bar (so good!). And I want to end injustice in this country, but I haven’t taken the time to really get to know those who truly suffer injustice.
The end of my stream of consciousness ends with: Am I worthy? Do I have what it takes to be a “social activist?” Or should I just go back to watching TV?
The Common Good
This morning, I finished Jim Wallis’ little ebook Conservatives, Liberals, and the Fight for America’s Future. I found it when searching online for writings on the “common good.” Our politicians—and most of us, really—have lost sight of the common good. Doing something “for the common good” means to do something that benefits all. Not just people with money and power. Not just your own interests.
While reading this book, I realized (again) that everybody can—and should—contribute to the common good. We don’t have to be perfect to do good! In fact, according to Wallis, “the common good and the quality of our life together will finally be determined by the personal decisions we all make.”
The epilogue includes a list of “Ten Personal Decisions for the Common Good.” They are all excellent and many overlap with the calls to action in my forthcoming book. But my favorite one is this:
Ask yourself what in the world today most breaks your heart and offends your sense of justice. Decide to help change that and join with others who are committed to transforming that injustice.
Transform That Injustice
It doesn’t say anything about having certain qualifications or meeting specific standards to make change. No, it’s about diving it and “transforming that injustice.” For me, that’s ensuring that all children are given the best possible start in life to improve their mental health outcomes. That’s why I’m lecturing about mindfulness in education. That’s why I write about having “enough,” but not using more than your share. That’s why I spent thousands of dollars to become a health coach so I can help others manage their stress and have a happier and healthier home life.
If we wait for perfection to start transforming that injustice, it will never happen. And we don’t have to wait! Perfection is an illusion. We are fallible humans who make mistakes, don’t live up to ideals, and continuously disappoint ourselves and others.
Now’s the time to start or recommit ourselves to transforming that injustice, imperfect as we may be.
What injustice will you be transforming?