social for the sole (soul)

As an avid social media user, I am still by no means ignorant of the negative impact that digital technologies can have on societies, communities and individuals when it is misused and abused.

I understand and sympathise with those who have been harmed by it. Those who have been and are victims of cyber-bullying, those who have been subjected to predatory advances, young people who have lost themselves in narcissism by using platforms such as Instagram for superficial self-gratification.

I also commend people such as Essena O’Neill, whose brave initiative ‘Let’s Be Game Changers’ arose from the pain she experienced through the ‘fame’ and popularity she gained as a model on social media. If you haven’t yet, read her story here, it’s an intriguing one.

So yes, I am not ignorant at all to the above. I just prefer to focus my energies on the positive social change that can result from inspired, well-intentioned social campaigns. This is where technology can truly shine, where creative ideas, engaging stories and uplifting messages can be shared. Where philanthropy can be on each and every one of our agendas, not only because of greater accessibility but also because of greater awareness which evokes that bead of compassion that lies within all of us.

This is social change in the online sphere that is powerful enough to generate social change in the real world in which we live.

I recently stumbled on a perfect example of this during an evening of scouring Instagram for inspiration. I discovered a beautiful organisation called Sole Hope which works to alleviate foot-related diseases which greatly impact children and communities in Uganda, by offering medical relief, education, jobs and financial support.

Founders Asher and Dru Collie felt called to do something after watching a YouTube video on the devastating impact on ‘jiggers’ which breed in the feet of African children causing them great pain, leading to disease and paralysis. Theirs is an inspired story of wanting to create positive social change. 

What forms part of the Sole Hope project is the idea that an old pair of jeans can be recycled to produce a pair of denim closed-toed shoes that an African child can wear to protect their feet from further infection. What a truly powerful message in that what seems so common and basic to our everyday lives, can in fact make an enormous difference to the lives of those in impoverished communities. How very blessed we are.

I immediately followed the Sole Hope Instagram account upon seeing the work that they do through the inspired and moving imagery in their posts. I’ll admit that some of the photos began to appear blurry through my tears. How amazing that social media has the ability to connect us so instantaneously to such humanitarian causes. How even the smallest organisations now have the opportunity to raise awareness without the necessary funds required to activate large scale above-the-line advertising campaigns.

Sole Hope are one of many fantastic organisations around the world creating social change and I am grateful that through social media, I was able to learn about their story. It is social for the sole yes, but also for the soul.

In this digital age, we have the power to communicate with more people than ever before, so why not use this power to empower others? There is only so much blame we can attribute to the physical constructs of media and technology, the rest is up to us. How do we best serve the tools provided to us? How do we maximise their potential to generate constructive conversation, ideas and values? How do we as global citizens incite positive social change, both online and offline?

solehope.org

social for the sole (soul)

these wounds

Oh these wounds, they’ve reopened
I might cry from the pain
Once so clear, not so broken
Yet it’s happened again

I walked with a mask, hid behind it each day
Stuck in my ways, neglecting the core
Now the monster’s unleashed, unexpected
I fear greater impact than ever before

A new season begins but my body’s rejected
Outside and inside, without harmony
The smaller I am, the smaller I feel
So far removed from whom I’m set to be

So this is a hurdle, a serious trial
A test of my strength, power of faith
The monster relentless at leading me down
Still I live with the hope that I will be saved

I’m giving it all, the ache and the hurt
I surrender to Him as I’m on my knees
I won’t let is waver, I will hold on
For only His grace can set me free.

these wounds

velocity

Just like that, a new year is again upon us, and with it comes a new opportunity to think, act, work, live and simply, be better than ever before. 

We all know how easy resolutions are to make and less so to put into action, hence I thought to write (type) my intentions in a somewhat public arena, hoping to force my own accountability.  

For reference, last year I vowed that in 2015 I would:

1. Be more in the moment.

2. Take better care of myself.

3. Proactively work towards achieving my goals.

Being the highly self-critical person that I can be, I am somewhat inclined to simply copy and paste the above into every single day of 2016 and then add more items to the agenda. However that would perhaps negate those 2 original points – ironic right?

As much as I love lists, I also love words. Words and their power on the mindset – the energies in the universe that we share and receive.

My goal for this year is not so much to tick off all the items on my never-ending list of things I want to do or be in life, but rather to just keep going with what I’m already doing. To maintain but build momentum where I can. To embrace velocity. Such a great word.

As part of this, I am striving to read more books. Knowledge is power as they say and reading has always made me feel more empowered. So, I’ve just started reading Velocity: The Seven New Laws For A World Gone Digital by Ajaz Ahmed and Stefan Olander. I had bought it at a book sale a couple of years ago – as I have penchant for collecting works that centre around business, entrepreneurship, self-improvement and positive psychology – only to store it out of sight before actually reading it. I’m a believer that art sometimes finds you (or vice versa) at the time you need it most.

First chapter in and I’m still interested (it usually only takes the first two pages to lose me) as the content resonates. The theme of velocity resonates. I agree that “the best way to contribute to the future is by giving our all to the present” and that by mastering the principles of Speed, Direction, Acceleration and Discipline, you can find success and fulfilment in your work, but also in your personal life.

“Velocity is also about optimism. It’s a positive force that gives you the mindset and tools to create a better future.”

This is where I want to focus my 2016. I want to ride that wave of optimism where everything I do now is helping shape and create the future I desire for myself. Yes there will be forks in the road, sticks in the mud etc etc, but in embracing velocity, I can also enact the changes necessary to get me to where I ultimately want to go. It is all about positive momentum which seeks contentment not only at the end of the journey, but throughout it.

“Good things don’t come to those who wait. But to those who move.”

velocity

the road towards the 30th

I had started this blog to mark a new season in my personal life – beginning from my 28th year on this earth and looking forward to the future with greater optimism and (here’s hoping) wisdom.

Fast forward a year or so and I’m sitting only a few months away from entering my third decade.

Why does counting the years matter so much?  Or perhaps it’s not that I’m caught up in ‘getting older’ but that acknowledging my age provides a framework for how I see my life at its current moment and where I see it going.

In truth, I’m happy with the progress so far.  I’m happy that I’m learning to accept what is within and outside of my control.  I’m happy that slowly but surely, I am finding contentment in what I have whilst working for what I want.

Is this a promising start for my new chapter?  I feel that it is.  At least, writing it down makes it feel real. And makes me accountable. And keeps me motivated.

I think I’m finally growing up.

 

the road towards the 30th

the change within

It is commonly understood that significant change can occur in a very short period of time, after all, ‘the only thing constant is change’ as they say.  I wonder then, why I am always so surprised when I am confronted by it.

Having recently made a vow to myself to be more self-caring (rather, necessarily selfish), I’ve begun to be more distrustful of others who seem to be letting me down more and more these days.  I’ve been foolish to expect to see my qualities in others (not that all mine are good) as I have experienced just how much my kind intentions have been taken advantage of.

I have held myself back time and time again from pursuing personal goals to protect the best interests of others.  I have given others the benefit of the doubt believing they would come through for me, too naive to realise their own selfish motives.  I have exhausted my own energies to help and to care for others, neglecting my own quest for progress, fulfillment and contentment.

However, amidst the external changes now surrounding me, I have become more aware of what they actually mean for me.  And my gut is telling me at this very moment, they mean nothing.  Because even though forces outside of you evolve, it doesn’t mean that you do. You have to make a conscious decision to either embrace the change, resist it or completely reject it.

As the optimist, I can see the long-term benefits, I can anticipate the excitement that will follow this change.  But the pessimist in me questions how the change impacts on me personally – it may be for the greater good yes, but will it be so for me?

Fear of change of is of course a means to an end, but how do I differentiate that from simply preparing myself to deal with the possible pitfalls of said change?

Have I just created a problem for myself with this new self-centred strategy?  Should I return to my overtly humble and selfless ways?

the change within