Sowing seeds of change

Kaikoura, New Zealand. The 2016 earthquake lifted the sea bed significantly

We live in a complicated, turbulent world.

I guess it has always been complicated and turbulent. Every generation seems to think things have deteriorated a bit. But the world does seem particularly troubled at the moment, although I understand completely the perspective effect: we see the things close to us and assume that our experience is normative. Yet for many people around the world, their experience has been one of a level of turbulence that we simply can’t comprehend, and this has gone on for generations.

But I can only speak of what I know. And in the western society that is my milieu, we are in turbulence like we’ve never known. With this, there are lots of things that we need to object to and shout about.

It’s my belief that the best approach in these situations is to take the role of someone sowing seeds. We can protest loudly at the things we dislike and oppose. Sometimes, perhaps, we need to do this. Yet this strategy can backfire. By being known for what we oppose, we immediately clothe ourselves negatively. It’s a bad look. We are anti.

Sometimes, it pays to be strategic. Instead of being known for what we oppose, we should be known for what we stand for. The problem with this strategy is that, from our perspective, we have nowhere to vent our anger and discontent. We have to deal with these emotions internally, rather than spewing them out. Choosing to be known for what we are for is also a strategy that demands patience. We sow seeds. It takes time for those seeds to germinate and grow.

In the face of a struggling, turbulent world, we need to play the long game. It is tempting to go in there with a chainsaw and chop everything down. But while this may be cathartic, what we have chopped down will all just grow again. Instead, we must prepare the ground and sow seeds. We must tell people what we like, what we care about, what we endorse. Those seeds will then contain the life that is capable of reproducing itself.

If we deliver our message from a place of bringing people on board, suspending judgement, and being accepting of alternative opinions, then sometimes we will find a platform to sow seeds of change. As you sow, so shall you reap – at least I think that’s the correct quote? Sow positivity, and endorse people doing things the right way. Ignore, as much as you can, people doing bad things. The power of a seed is that it grows, and creates more seeds, and they grow, and so on. A sowing mentality has an incredible capacity for enacting change.

This applies to wine criticism, trivial as it is, as much as it does to real life. Tell people about the wines you like. Don’t be tempted to waste energy agonizing over what other writers and critics say. Don’t engage in tetchy debates, the like of which you can only lose. Victory may be slow to come, but it will surely come, if we persevere and prevent our gaze from being shifted. Sow seeds.

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