The Kenyan Nomad

The Kenyan Nomad

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Change Begins

Why do I return to the topic of change so often? Because stagnancy scares me. It bores me, it infuriates me, I absolutely hate it. I'm not the person I was 5 years ago, and 5 years from now, I'm sure there'll be many more changes in my life. These changes can be and have been both internal and external, but mainly focused on myself.

Recently though, I've been thinking about the need to create change in the society I live in, for a couple of reasons; one being that most of our society is still stuck in the past as far as certain things go, like attitudes toward women and sexuality. The other reason is that when I look at the people around me, I recognise attitudes that I either had in the past, or would be terrified to be stuck with now, and that drives me to action. This reminds me of a book I'd read a few years ago, called "The Gift of Peace" which I won for some academic achievement in high school. One of the things this book talked about was that things that bother us about other people are actually due to us recognising the attitudes within ourselves. This resonated with me, and I think it's very true. Those who know me best know that I have a certain degree of dogmatism; and I absolutely hate it! True enough, one of the qualities that angers me the most in other people is their dogmatism, but especially with regard to traditions and practices that have no part to play in today's world and yet persist like a nasty cold. 

I've definitely been feeling the frustration of dealing with societal dogmatism; it's always easier to deal with in individuals, but trying to advance the way a society thinks and operates seems like an uphill battle. I'm sure we've all had times where we're frustrated with the lack of changes around us, and have absolutely no idea how to proceed. I vented these frustrations out to a good friend, and the message he sent me was so perfect that I had to share it with all of you. I'll let him do the rest of the talking: 

I believe that to incite change you must first do what others will not, and that is to live day and night with that which you desire etched in your mind. An intaglio. When people press up against you, that thing is impressed upon them. People are right in the sense that no one does that effectively on their own, but that is not what you should be trying to do. Speak your mind when the need arises. Call out those that need to be called out, but remember too that often a gentle word or the right analogy will move a mountain. Fire, earth, water, wind - in different ways all have the energy to change the landscape that we walk, and all of them are us. Choose the property that counters that ignorance and be it. That is your right, just as it is your right to challenge those who would claim you are anything less than you are, for any reason. Be what you are, and others of like mind will find you, and then you are not alone. But, above all, meet people where they are and do not fault them for it. Even if their position wounds us deeply who are we to judge? We do not know the things which have brought them to this place, and if we want to be the thing that leads them from it we do not have the luxury of assumption. 

-Dylan Orlady

PS: Dylan also happens to be an awesome photographer; check out his work here! Dylan Orlady Instagram

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