by Denise Medved, Ageless Grace creator and founder, and WIN WIN Women Presenter for International Women’s Day
We all know there is a long list of things we can do personally to make a difference on this planet we call home. We understand that as individuals, we can make an impact for good on this Earth.
We can volunteer our time, talents and resources to a cause that ignites our passion; causes like the safety of children, the education of women and girls, food for the undernourished, equal human rights, clean water sources for everyone – or perhaps we can offer to remind each person of power or influence, in a text, an email or a letter, that we are all ONE; that what happens to my sister, happens to me; that what I deserve, all my sisters deserve, when I succeed, my sister succeeds.
When I was younger, I thought, what can I do? I’m just one person – with no influence, no power, no political or financial prestige, no public office. I watched my mother and my grandmother volunteer as a matter of daily life in our tiny, farming community in the Southern United States, where little more than two hundred people lived and worked.
They offered to serve on school committees, play the piano for a gathering, make a quilt or baby blanket, tell stories to children who needed attention or give time off to their mothers, who needed a break. I saw them cook meals for those who might need them, take a bouquet of flowers from their gardens to an elderly man or woman, sit and visit the lonely or sick; send greeting cards through the mail or deliver them on a doorstep, to almost anyone, for any occasion, with a personal, handwritten note of loving concern. I watched them take the time to talk to young women about life — and how to make good choices.
And finally, it dawned on me – my humble, not wealthy, not famous, mother and grandmother were changing the world for good, one person at a time, in the best way they knew how. They simply saw a need and stepped in to help.
My daring grandmother had her own general store in the 1920’s, long before it was considered a viable possibility for women to own a business. She thoughtfully and respectfully served each customer, regardless of race, color, age, education or economic status, in the order they arrived in her place of business, with care and compassion for their needs. She was unwavering in her unpopular belief that all people are created equal.
My mother taught primary school, served as the pianist in a rural church for 63 years, directed plays and concerts, tutored young women, formed committees of mothers, helped girls and families in need of food, clothing, school books and hope – and served as a model of service to her small community.
I was mightily blessed to have such impressive female role models.
And each of us, on this International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2023, have the privilege, and choice, to be a role model – even if for just ONE young woman or girl, ONE lonely older woman or ONE struggling mother.
Emily Dickinson, the American poet, wrote: “If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not have lived in vain. If I can ease one life the aching or cool one pain, or help one fainting robin unto his nest again, I shall not have lived in vain.”
I’m honored to know the Nashville singer/songwriter and performer, Jana Stanfield. She has written many inspirational songs and phrases that have stayed with me over the years, but I have one favorite that has become my personal theme song or mantra — and I do my best to play it in my head and heart every single day.
In her song ALL THE GOOD, which you can find online, she sings these words she wrote:
“I cannot do all the good that the world needs, but the world needs all the good I can do.”
Let me repeat that.
“I cannot do all the good that the world needs, but the world needs all the good I can do.”
That’s it – there are no other lyrics – she sings them with a background chorus of other singers in Chinese, Spanish, Hebrew, French, and a few other languages.
Those words light up my heart and my brain – and remind me that I DO have the personal power to makes choices to change the world for good…just like my mother and grandmother did, one person at a time.
More importantly, those song lyrics remind me that we are not alone.
“WE” are a family, a community, a village, a city; we are a university, a church, a hospital — we are a school, a gudwara. We are a nation, a continent and a entire planet of people.
3.9 billion women and girls are in the world today – and TOGETHER, WE THRIVE.
Together, we make a collective difference that matters, that lifts each other up to the possibilities of a better life and a better planet for us all.
It is TOGETHER that we RISE.
And that means, we need YOU…to take action, to join a group, to raise your hand or start a small circle of women.
In a recent meditation by author, activist, and spiritual leader, Marianne Williamson, she wrote:
“We don’t want to accept that what is, is what has to be. We want to pierce the veil of illusion that separates us from a world of infinite possibility. We want another kind of life for ourselves and for the world. We are considering that there might be another way – a door to miraculous realms, simply waiting to be opened.”
We don’t need to wait for someone else to make the first move. We don’t need to look to female movie stars, lawyers or journalists to step forward, although we are inspired by their Light.
WE can change where we are in small ways, every single, ordinary day, through simple, extraordinary actions. And that change will spread to the next community and the next; to the next town and the next; to the next woman, and the next, to the next little girl, and the next.
In the words of the inspired leader and peaceful activist, Mahatma Ghandi,
“BE the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Due to his humility and down-to-earth nature, the 11th President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam came to be known as the “People’s President”.
He is quoted often for saying:
“Where there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world.”
What I “do” in the world, my business life, my career and my passion, is devoted to improving brain function for all ages, to changing the model of aging in the world, so all of us, especially our children, understand that we can make simple, personal choices to provide cognitive resilience and reserve for the rest of our years here on earth, without fear or limitation. My wish is for all of us to live out our lives with optimal functionality, quality of life, and active participation in all we need to do and desire to do, in order to experience life at its fullest.
However, the work I do – the work that each one of you do – is simply a platform, a spring board, so we can care, connect and collaborate face-to-face, one-on-one, with other women who want to make a positive difference for ourselves, our families and our world.
Whether we are nurses, artists, teachers or mothers; volunteers, writers, dancers or singers, farmers or scientist – whatever it is we “do” in our daily lives – we ALL have opportunities every day to open a door to change, for good – all we need do is STEP IN, and say “How can I help?”
Perhaps just as importantly, we all know other women and girls in our families and our communitites that we can invite to join us, as we collaborate for positive change.
Yes, I am an optimist. Yet I’m an optimist who believes we can overcome the very real challenges, hardships, inequities and sometimes tedious work required to make changes for good – when we roll up our sleeves and do the work, one step at a time.
According to Dr. Paula Fellingham, Win Win Women Founder and one of the Global Directors for this day that celebrates women all over the world, “the goal of the International Women’s Day events is to educate, inspire, and honor women in India and worldwide, and to share the wisdom of experts, so that during and after the events, men and women, working together, can help LIFT the level of love, prosperity, and peace on Earth.”
No act of kindness, service or compassion is too small to make a large difference.
And where two or more of us are gathered together and committed to a change for good…possibilities WILL present themselves, and doors WILL open.
For it is TOGETHER that we rise.
Thank you! Now let me tell you how to access support for positive change where you live:
Win Win Women offers daily TV shows every week that can be accessed on your phone, featuring women experts from all over the world, providing information on every relevant topic imaginable. Simply go to www.winwinwomen.com and click on “watch our shows”.
There, you can also access the LIVING A GRACEFUL LIFE show offered by my company, Ageless Grace Brain Health, hosted by a young and inspirational female leader in the field of movement, emotional and cognitive health and quality of life, Tracey Gelb.
The show is live and interactive at 7pm Eastern Time on Monday evenings. You also have the option to view previously recorded sessions on topics that can improve your life and the lives of those you love.
I invite you to visit my website as well, for a free Ageless Grace class and free booklet of tips on graceful aging at www.agelessgrace.com.
Thank you for joining me – today is the beginning of our next step to changing the world for good, for TOGETHER WE THRIVE.
Nah-maste. The Light in me recognizes the Light in you.