Lasting changes and improvements are made through the cumulative effects of individual actions. Heroic figures grasp the opportunities of movements and perform in a way that catches the imagination of a civilization and mobilizes a collective response, be even these actions ultimately receive their power from the responses of ordinary people.
— Shaun McNiff in Trust the Process
“Ordinary people.” Hey, that’s us.
“Individual actions.” We do this every day.
Is there power in the individual actions of ordinary people? I believe there is. I believe that each of us, through what we create each day, bring something of value to the world. In countless tiny ways, we create the existence around us. Artistic creation is but one aspect of the lives we create each day.
A while ago I received this quote on my Yogi tea bag, “Our thoughts are forming the world.” I set it aside, I didn’t get it at the time. I mean really, the world is made up of things not thoughts, my logical mind protested. Sometime later I realized that all of these things around us, with the exception of nature, began as thoughts. Someone thought they could create a light bulb. Someone thought they could capture light with chemicals, and later with electronic circuits, to create a camera. Someone thought they would build a building, or a town, or a country. Our world is changed, formed, by thoughts which begin in the minds of individuals.
It’s not just the big invention-type thoughts that matter though, those are only tangible examples to show the concept that things start as thoughts. For everything we do, our actions start as thoughts. Our practice of creativity helps to form those thoughts, helps to link ideas in new ways. Our practice of creativity gives us power: new ideas lead to new actions which change the world within or around us in a million tiny ways.
“Every one of us has something distinct to offer to the all-encompassing process of creativity,” McNiff goes on to say later in the book. Do you see how it is true? McNiff wrote his book, I read it today and re-interpret it here, you read and re-interpret it again. You think about it, form your own opinion. Each connection, each thought, is part of the overall creative process.
A creative process which is available to ordinary people. Sparking change which begins and ends with ordinary people. People like you and me.
Consider your power, as an ordinary person taking individual action, no matter how big or small. How will you use it today?