You Could Make This Place Beautiful
It is hard to work out what makes sense anymore, isn’t it?
I know I’m not the only one trembling at the idiocy, greed and self-interest of our politicians and those in power, as we stumble onwards, losing species daily, adding more and more carbon to our world, robbing our children of a future.
I am distracted from writing my new book by news of children held in detention, refugees self-immolating on Manus, whales washed up on shores, ravaged from the inside by plastic. And those are just the headlines on any given day.
Just breathe. Go for a swim. Read a fucking poem, I self-soothe.
I find I have to turn away intermittently from the media lest I get crushed by it all. Humans were not meant for this level of bombardment; this torture of always-being-in-the-know.
I’m about to try hibernate for some weeks to finish writing my new book, The Sabbatical. I’m afraid of all the terrible things that will happen while I’m not looking – which must be the height of some inflated omnipotent fantasy (that things will fall apart while I’m not on watch, as if I have any control over any of it… )
Before I do, I wanted to share a story that always gives me strength and faith to keep working for a better world, even when it seems pointless and hopeless.
Joanne Fedler is an internationally bestselling author of 10 books, writing mentor and publisher. In the past seven years, she’s facilitated 12 writing retreats all over the world, mentored hundreds of writers (both face to face and in her online writing courses), set up her own publishing company, Joanne Fedler Media, and published four debut authors (with many lined up to follow). She’s passionate about publishing midlife memoirs and knows how to help people succeed in reaching their goal to become a published author.
It’s the story of the 100th monkey, which I love because it reminds me that we don’t need everyone to make a change, just enough people to tip the scales. Many years ago, I rewrote the 100th monkey story as the introduction to a book I began (and didn’t finish).
Here is my version:
The year is 1952.
On the island of Koshima, scientists were, as they had been for thirty odd years, observing the native Japanese monkeys in their wild habitat.
As scientists do, they had to fuck with nature.
They dropped sweet potatoes in the sand to see what the monkeys would do with them.
The monkeys liked the taste of the sweet potatoes, but it was clear, they didn’t enjoy the dirt that stuck to them.
In comes Imo. A female (naturally), who took her sweet potatoes to a nearby stream, washed them, and was satisfied. Sweet potatoes taste so much better without dirt on them. She taught this technique to her mother. Her friends and playmates soon learned to do the same and they taught their mothers and friends.
The monkeys slowly taught one another to wash the potatoes, and the scientists watched. Between 1952 to 1958 monkeys who came into contact with those who had learned to wash their potatoes, began to wash them too.
Then something happened.
It was not a small thing.
On a certain autumn day, when a critical mass of potato-washing monkeys had been reached, suddenly every single monkey on the island began to wash his or her potatoes – whether taught or not.
What is even more startling is that colonies of monkeys on neighbouring islands and the mainland troop of monkeys at Takasakiyama also began to wash their potatoes.
Did you get that?
It means that when a certain critical number achieves a particular awareness, this new awareness creates a new reality.
This reality is communicated at an energetic level.
In other words, when enough of us get it right, that’s when things will change.
We still have time to make this place beautiful.
Come and Join Joanne for the next 7 Day Free Writing Challenge
Where do we start when we want to write?
How about right here?
I designed this 7 Day Free Writing Challenge for people just like you who have always wanted to write but don’t know where or how to begin the journey.