Written by Lauren
Greetings from the smallest state in America, ‘lil Rhode Island! I have reassessed what my values are during this transitional period of my life, post-undergrad career, and have just begun some ventures. At the University of Rhode Island, their motto was always the ironic, “Think big, we do!”. Now, living in the little city of Providence, circled by world-renowned Ivy leagues, arts, and history and like-minded roommates & co-workers have created a niche that has impacted me in positive ways for utilizing a supportive liberated community that enables self-discovery. Some of the world’s largest innovators, thinkers, and philanthropists have positively driven me towards circumstances that truly reside with me…whether that is a local writers workshop or art show, or local bands and events where the proceeds are donated to a philanthropic organization.
I have reflected on the person I am becoming and the best most authentic version for my highest good! I feel confident about transitioning into my 20s, how my potential actions, intentions, and values have a global effect. Maintaining self-awareness, and this seemingly powerfully positive Pollyanna mindset takes practice every day. Alas, there are mental and physical health benefits to this! I have to acknowledge unencouraging over doubtful thoughts, then choose what to listen to and believe. This is not being in denial over certain world crises or personal issues, but putting them into a manageable and mindful perspective, so that I don’t lose my marbles over things that I have minimal power over.
For example, if I let my apocalyptic anxiety take over about the Pacific Garbage patch, whales washing ashore at Australia, or unjust human displacement in Europe, to begin the long list of causes that is embedded into the dark, malevolent energy of Earth that I wish I can fully control or help but is unattainable and unsupportive for the impact that I can and do have control over within my itty-bitty city. All I can control is what how I choose to RESPOND to my immediate surroundings. My reaction would be an emotional surge of heavy emotions or rage initially when I hear of how Rhode Island had the surprisingly largest number of illegal sex traffic workers in 2017 (But compare ratios to larger states, and states that are willing to actually help the cause this may be a biased statistic)…lashing out at pimps violently would not be an irrational clouded reaction.
Instead, I have chosen to actively volunteer at a local nonprofit group that advocates for women’s rights, equitability, and educational attainment by donating to issues and institutions similar to this one. Being actively involved for women’s rights is extremely fulfilling and feels relevant to larger scales of recent exposed women’s issues that have been displayed through the women’s movement in recent years, and in court-mandated issues on the news. I volunteer for their events and participate on the communications committee. Putting in active work towards a cause for human rights is fulfilling and eases these anxieties and adds a sense of power gained to the situation.
This past Holiday, on January 21st, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. is a relevant and important reminder of the civil rights movement that is still being peacefully fought for today; “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -MLKJR
With all of the noise occurring on this ever-changing, overpopulating planet…it is easy to initially feel overwhelmed. If you are an optimistic, big-hearted, empath similar to myself, and want to fulfill certain cracks and crevices in your heart and the world where there is unjust, inequitable inhumane shattered pieces…perhaps responding by supporting a few charities can soothe the impact where your time and money is going to aide in a resolution. As a recent college grad, my finances disable me from donating copious amounts of money to all of my favorite charities, whether they include environmental/sustainability issues, wildlife support, women’s rights issues, or war and poverty on the opposite end of the world. The idea of this USED to overwhelm the heck out of me! Until I realized recently this past year, that I can only control myself, and my responses to my surroundings. Therefore, I have chosen to participate in as many ways as possible to all aspects of my life by being mindful of my purchases.
Sometimes it feels like there may not be enough time or money to take all of these actions, as a recent college graduate, and with certain boundaries like racial and economic injustices are legitimate.. but not making a choice to positively and sustainably impact your surroundings and taking care of yourself and life, is a choice because we have more control than we think. Next time you stop by for your morning coffee, try a local coffee shop that offers sustainable, reusable, or recyclable straws with discounts for travel mugs! Bring shopping bags to stores or use your two hands to carry your few items out (if you have those limbs). Think local farmers markets and charity art shows, it adds more charisma and quality to your purchase! This can shift the entire economic stock market of supply/demand and eventually lead to more affordable differences. You can even donate a minimum amount to a cause you love, if you are extremely low on time and money, like the Sierra Club!
This includes benefits of receiving cool calendars in the mail reminding you of your impact!
Being mindful on your intentions of where you give and receive your time can have a lasting health impact on you as well! Donating your time or money to a charity has physical health impacts; self-confidence, self-esteem, life satisfaction, and physical immune benefits as well. Think of where you live, the demographics, surroundings and keep in mind how there are copious amounts of opportunities that you can support just in the city or town that you live in on a daily basis. It is about your responses to issues that are seemingly larger than you, not reactions. Choose to respond to any daily circumstance that doesn’t give you freedom and ease with a response of conscious awareness. Keep in mind that you can make a difference by your thinking and create a truly positive effect and good vibrations in your environment that can create a rippling butterfly effect on the world, and it starts with you! From your thoughts, actions, behaviors and time placement. You can add your time, impact, and passions right from the city you reside in, even if you’re the opposite end of the world!