Become a Change Agent, For Real

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During Taylor Conroy’s speakeasy “Disrupting Philanthropy: Make F*cking Impact”, I was introduced to the word minga. In Quechua, an indigenous language of Ecuador, minga means the coming together of a community for the betterment of all. Community members can call a minga in times of need, and people come from miles away to support each other.

While we may not realize it, we ourselves are all part of a Wanderlust minga. We have traveled from both close and far, and put our lives, children, and work on hold to support each other in exploring our higher power, love, spirituality, and the unknown. In Buddhism, Buddha asserts that we cannot find enlightenment without a sangha, or community. At Wanderlust, we find community in our shared interests, open dialogues, collective ohms, and mutual respect for each other’s journey

I left Taylor’s speakeasy, inspired to the point of tears, to spread the love and communal spirit of Wanderlust in a meaningful way. Taylor’s company, Change Heroes, does this on a daily basis by empowering individuals to call a Minga by organizing 33 friends to donate $3.33 a day for 3 months. What do all those 3’s add up to? The result is $10,000 raised in a mere three months to build sustainable schools in developing countries, and all at the expense of cutting out your daily latte.

So in 3 months, 33 individuals raise $10,000. Now let’s think about Wanderlust. In 5 days, more than 3,000 participants grace the Whistler Mountain each with an open heart and flexible mind and body. If we all gave up our coffees for these five days that would raise over $50,000, the equivalent of 5 new schools. When we realize our combined potential, the possibilities for impact are endless.

When you leave Wanderlust, you will forever be called to action as a part of the Wanderlust minga. Your impacts can strengthen a community, provide support for those in need, and inspire others to give back. Together we have the power of our Wanderlust minga, a network that will always exist to remind us that we are working towards something greater than our selves.

Rejoining your communities, here are two familiar ways you can spread the spirit of minga and create an impact:

1) Yoga – Use the openness, generosity, positivity bestowed upon you at Wanderlust to provide support for those in your yoga community at home. The practice of yoga thrives on a communal spirit, shared breath, and united energy in each class. There is a reason we all take time out of our days to get to class. While practicing at home may be easier, we have purpose to belong to a community where each member is dedicated to cultivating a healthy mind, body and spirit. I urge you to acknowledge the impact you can make in your next yoga class. Appreciate a fellow class member, give gratitude to your teacher, or spark a conversation with someone new.

2) Philanthropy: Become a change agent. What Taylor taught me is that we can all make a difference if we personalize our approach. Often the world’s problems seem insurmountable, and we may ask ourselves how one person can truly make a difference. The model at Change Heroes breaks down giving in an easy and meaningful way. I urge you to visit Change Heroes (http://www.changeheroes.com) even if just to realize the power of 33 people getting together to renounce their coffee for three months. Eventually this model of fundraising will proliferate to other causes, and we will all be calling our friends to action in ways that create real impact.

As I walked to class today, I hesitated as I passed a coffee shop, standing out as both a beacon of energy and of morning rituals. Giving up my coffee today and for the next 3 months means I am providing a tangible outcome that will provide schooling for 1000 children over the next 25 years. It also means that I’m a part of a minga, a community called to realize the needs of something bigger than my morning drowsiness. Go forth with the spirit and support of your Wanderlust minga to realize how you can make life a little bit better for someone else.

camCameron Cler began practicing yoga to elevate her flexibility and endurance for ballet, but soon the physical practice became like a way of life, complete with spiritual growth, mental flexibility and emotional acceptance. Now, the financial consultant and constant traveler is also a registered yoga teacher in San Francisco, who channels her inner yogi to mitigate the stress of working in the corporate world and of life in general. Her passion is cultivating wellness and sharing travel stories, yoga poses, healthy recipes, wellness apps, good books and restaurant recommendations with her friends, family and students.

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