From an informative 2011 article in The New York Times:
Perhaps you’ve noticed a bumper sticker that purports to quote [Gandhi]: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” When you first come across it, this does sound like something Gandhi would have said. But when you think about it a little, it starts to sound more like ... a bumper sticker...
Sure enough, it turns out there is no reliable documentary evidence for the quotation. The closest verifiable remark we have from Gandhi is this: “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. ... We need not wait to see what others do.”
Well, another reminder...things are not always as they seem. But just because Gandhi did not say that exact quote, nor did Nelson Mandela, Henry David Thoreau, the Buddha, or any other number of notable thinkers actually say exactly the quotes that appear on mugs, t-shirts, and memes, doesn't mean the sentiment isn't valuable. It just means we have to work a little harder to a) document our sources, and b) apply ourselves to the actions that keep us from sliding into the torpor of bumper-sticker activism.
Note from Captain Obvious: If you want to be the change you wish to see in the world, you are going to have to change. What's more, you may end up having to change in ways you don't think you want to change, or in ways that feel uncomfortable to you. There is no escape from the completeness of your intention to change when you actually sincerely ask for change.
So, today, really try to identify one thing you will do to be the change you wish to see in the world...something that actually involves YOU CHANGING. What will it be? Putting a note in your phone to bring re-usable grocery bags? Literally sitting down and being quiet instead of sharing your opinion when a person who has less privilege than you starts talking? Setting a timer to ensure you take showers of fewer than 5 minutes in duration? What will it be? Because to be the change, well, you have to be the change. It starts at home in your own body, actions, and space, and then rather than ending there, it proceeds forth from there.
I'm planning to make a big change in my life in 2017. Through two new projects, I plan to shift more fully into the role of advisor and support for the many people who are doing the beneficial work of creating and sustaining sacred circles and spaces. Watch this space next week when I announce:
- my new Patreon page where you will be invited to help me develop and test Priestess, my forthcoming book about methods for living a sustainable life of sacred service
- a monthly video conference class to help assist people who are building Pagan and polytheist temples. This class, called "Raise the Temple" will be offered by donation with 100% of proceeds benefitting CAYA Pagan Congregation, a nonprofit 501(c)3 Pagan, polytheist church.