by Kathie England

Remembering the Value of Small Steps

In this fifth post about our journey of taking 1000 small steps to impact the outcome of the presidential election on November 3, 2020, I share more ideas about the value of small steps.
First – let’s look at the flaw in the logic of “bigness” described by Charles Eisenstein in an article I read in the Winter 2016 issue of UTNE READER.

For Big Problems, Small Solutions – Now more than ever, we must recognize the logic of “‘bigness” devalues the personal and seemingly small when it comes to making a difference.

Article by Charles Eisenstein (excerpted from his upcoming book, Scaling Down)

Shortly after last year’s election, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, American poet and author of Women Who Run with the Wolves, wrote an inspiring piece titled “We Were Made for These Times.” Every time I have read her words, I am energized and encouraged not to slip into thinking that only bigness can create the change we seek.

“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of the poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.”

“What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.”

This perspective reminds me of the March 20, 2017 post about random acts of kindness written by my sister, Judy Caforio. She was motivated to offer this idea when her friends said they felt uncomfortable with my suggestion in the introduction to My 1000 Small Steps to take “small political steps.”
I recently heard an interview on NPR with Mohsin Hamid, the author of Discontent and Its Civilizations. Born in Pakistan, Hamid has lived and written in many cities throughout the world including Lahore, Pakistan, New York, and London. The interviewer, Steve Inskeep, asked Hamid about the lessons Pakistanis have learned from their experience that are transferable to those of us who live in the United States, especially at this time in our history.

Hamid replied: “The biggest lesson is you get the country you work for. If you sit back and simply allow your country to be, it is highly unlikely to be the kind of country you want. You have to be active. And many Pakistanis are struggling for political rights. People are risking their lives in some cases. And I think in America, something similar is called for – real activism and real passion to protect democracy.”

What kind of country are you willing to work for?

What small step will you take today to create the kind of country you want?