Walking our talk

There’s a thread you follow.
It goes amongst things that change.
But it doesn’t change. 
People wonder what you are pursuing. 
You have to explain about the thread. 
But it is hard for others to see. 
While you hold it, you can’t get lost. 
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
Or die; and you suffer and get old. 
Nothing you can do can stop time’s unfolding. 
Don’t ever let go of the thread.

William Stafford

Holding an intention to ‘be the change you wish to see’ is an invitation to embody the changes we long to see in the world through our relationships with ourselves, with others and with the other-than-human world. It sounds so simple and yet it is perhaps our greatest challenge as human beings.

Walking our talk requires us to commit to taking responsibility for co-creating the world we long for. And this in turn requires us to cultivate the self-love and compassion needed to forgive ourselves and others when ‘being the change we wish to see’ is simply beyond our limits. Simply put, radical self-responsibility is about taking responsibility for where and when we are unable to act in deeply loving ways, to others and to our-self.

We will live in a very different world when we are all able to take responsibility for our own limitations around love, rather than unconsciously feeling guilty about not being able to fully 'walk our talk' and then needing to make other people wrong so as to avoid feeling the pain of our guilt.

As we learn to feel compassion for our limits to love everyone and everything - and the cultural conditions that led to this, we tend to find ourselves less in need of ‘othering’ those and that which we find hard to love, and more able to take responsibility for our inability to love everyone and everything.

Walking our talk and being the change we want to see in the world is also sometimes referred to as ‘prefigurative politics’.

This refers to the practice of enacting our desired approaches and relationships, rather than blaming, or waiting for, others to implement change on our behalf. 

This is what is being pointed to within black feminist's rallying call: 'The personal is the political'.

Being the change we want to see in the world and prefigurative politics can often require us to act in counter-cultural ways that risk us being projected onto and potentially marginalised.

This is why it is so essential that access to support around inner-led change is made widely available to all - so that we all become increasingly empowered to walk our talk and be the change we want to see in the world.

Image credits

Header: With thanks to Saad Chaudhry on Unsplash

Photo by Khadeeja Yasser on Unsplash