The odds are that you, like me, spend most of your time feeling not very important. Our votes change nothing. Big corporations and international agreements move the world in direction we are powerless to resist. If you aren’t a chart topping best selling, box office breaking in the news and on the magazine covers kind of person, you know that what you say and do doesn’t add up to much. You know this because it is reinforced every single day, mostly by the media. There’s the great and the good, who set the agenda and make the decisions that matter, and there’s the rest of us.
Most of our ancestors would not have spent their lives feeling so small. When your world is a tribe, a village, even a small town, your scope for mattering is much improved. If you’ve living the marginal, tribal life then any one person’s choices or actions can make or break, kill or save for a whole community. For most of human history, our choices mattered greatly to the survival options of our nearest and dearest. We evolved with our opinions counting for something to create this culture that treats most of us as interchangeable and irrelevant.
However, the ‘irrelevant’ 99% of us represent a lot of life lived and choices made. When you look at what we do collectively, we clearly do have a lot of potential for power, much of which we squander because we’re so busy buying the idea that what we do doesn’t make much odds. If we all pulled in the same direction, everything would change.
My invitation to you, is to have an ego trip. Start treating your personal choices as though you were making decisions for all of humanity. Start acting like you are a king or queen and that the fate of many lies in your hands. See each choice you make as powerful and important, and hang on to that no matter what you hear to the contrary.
For a start, this one life is the life you have, and your experience of it is the most important thing that will ever be available to you while you live. You are entitled to take that seriously. Within your own life, your choices are of vast importance, and you do have the power to make changes. Even if the wider political scene isn’t going the right way, you can act to resist, and will feel happier for upholding your own values even if it does seem like a drop in the ocean compared to what’s needed. There is always the possibility that if more people act with you, larger scales of change become possible, and in living what you believe you will encourage and inspire others to do the same. Small stones thrown into ponds can make huge ripples.
In Paganism we tend to say that we are all our own priests and priestesses. We take spiritual roles that would once have belonged to rulers. Arguably, democracy puts all of us in a position of sovereign relationship with the land. So why not embrace that fully and take that sense of power and significance into the rest of our lives, to make changes?
We are continually bombarded with messages of our own irrelevance. Every news item that tells us how somewhere, far away, other people are making choices that will affect our lives, tells us that we are lesser. We do not have the power. Feeling powerless, we are encouraged to think we have no choice but to go along with what we are told. We always have choices. We do have power. We need to claim it.