“Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvelous power, which held sway over all the island, and over many other islands also and parts of the continent.” -Plato (from Timaeus, 360 BC)
“Fair Atlantis, peerless country,
Lulled within the ocean’s arms,
Lying beautiful and shining
Far beneath the storm’s alarms;
Never war or plague came near thee;
In thy halls were love and ease;
Now above thee, lost Atlantis,
Roll the ever restless seas.”
– Edith Willis Linn Forbes (1865-1945) (excerpt: The Lost Atlantis)
If Atlantis did indeed exist, what do you think it was like? What is utopia to you? What would your ideal world be like? How would it look, smell, sound? How would it it feel? What would your life be like there? How would you spend your days? Why would these things make it ideal to you?
When was the last time you asked yourself these questions? Or, have you ever asked yourself these questions? We spend so much of our time and energy reacting and responding to experiences and stimulus as life unfolds before us. It can be overwhelming to constantly be taken on the roller coaster ride of circumstances and all the emotions that go along with them. The world right now, as it stands, is in turmoil. We are as divided as ever, in politics, religion, and social structures, and we are lacking human connection to an astonishing degree. More than ever it seems, we have so much information coming at us from all directions that we are responding and reacting to at enormous rates, and some of the stimulus is down right terrifying. If ever there was a time in history to ask yourself some hard questions about what it is you really want, now is it!
If we are to be the change that we want to see in the world, as Ghandi suggests, why do many of us not spend even a few moments sitting and asking ourselves what change that is exactly? We ask ourselves questions, like “how can I be more environmentally concious?”, “what can I do to give back to my community?” And while these are really good and important questions too, they have no larger framework. They just nicely fit within our existing system. We settle for doing as little as possible so as to not rock the boat, but still make a positive contribution. I’m guilty of this too. In such a tumultuous time in history, should we not be asking ourselves the bigger questions? The ones that children aren’t inhibited to ask. “If I was the Queen of the World, what would I do? How would I change things?” “If I could wave my magic wand and make the world however I wanted it to be, how would it be?” “If I could do anything, what would I do?” Children ask these questions of themselves because they don’t feel the gravity of the consequences. They might make all the clouds marshmallows and have chocolate growing on trees. They may wish for endless summer afternoons and never needing to go to bed. Children don’t carry the weight of responsibility that an adult does when they consider the entire population of the planet and all the creatures upon it. This may be why we don’t ask this question of ourselves, but isn’t it precisely why we should?
If change is what you truly want for this world and yourself, isn’t it worth your time to really think about the big picture? Instead of starting with small ideas and trying to fit them into an existing societal structure, why not think on a larger scale first and then work our way into the details. I understand how overwhelming this idea can be, but if we keep our thinking too practical, to realistic and ultimately, average, we don’t open ourselves up to true inspirational and innovative ideas. If ever out of the box thinking was called for, now is the time, and one can not truly think outside of that box while they are still firmly planted within it.
If you think that the ideas you may come up with are just too big, or too out there, and no one would ever take you seriously, I implore you to take a moment to look back at history and see that most of the great change makers applied outside of the box thinking, and that was what changed the world as we know it. Think of ancient Greece when Pythagoras shared his theory that the world was round. Can you even imagine the reaction he must have gotten in that time when everyone believed the world to be flat? Can you imagine how different things would be if he hadn’t been brave enough to present a new, and deeply unpopular idea to the world? What about Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison creating the lightbulb? Inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s discovery that lightning and tiny electric sparks were the same thing, and could be harnessed and used to create an electrical charge that could create light. Can you even imagine the kinds of things people must have been saying about what impossible and ridiculous ideas those were? What about Kate Sheppard? Can you imagine leading the women’s suffrage movement and being responsible for New Zealand becoming the first self-governing colony in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections? Just think about that for a minute. Women’s right to vote did not exist anywhere in the world at that time and one woman had the idea and the gumption to directly oppose a world-wide view and accepted societal standard around the globe in order to change it! I mean, holy shit! Amidst enormous opposition, doubt, fear and hoards of haters, she sparked a global shift that we are still benefitting from to this day.
We are all capable of so much more than we ever allow ourselves to consider. We are all too busy trying to find a way to fit into the existing systems and standards and eek out a place for ourselves in a world that many of us are deeply at odds with. We want change and we are more than capable of change, but we are going to have to get passionate, take a break from Netflix, get past the fear and doubt and do the work. We are going to have to get re-aquainted with our bravery and grit. That may seem daunting, but if each of us went after it, I mean really went after it, and we helped each other and supported each other along the way, instead of doubting new ideas that are difficult to comprehend, we could indeed be the change and create our new world together.
VINTAGE: Tunic top (swiped from my Mother’s closet when I was a teenager), and skirt from Ruby Slipper. Rajasthani textile belt, Kuchi necklace, cuffs and Turkish rings from my travels.
CONTEMPORARY FASHION: Gladiator sandals by Gypsy Soul Designs, Clear quartz Mystic Phantom Necklace by BCP Jewelry (Barbara Pellegrino). Faux septum ring, nose ring and triple stone ring from Urban Waves.