More Malala and less Kardashian, please (or …”when your dreams are powered by your heart…”)

If money was my only motivation, I would organize myself differently. – Placido Domingo

I went to sleep dreaming of Malawi, and all the things made possible when your dreams are powered by your heart. – from The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

You must not treat others with cruelty… you must fight – but through peace, and through dialogue, and education… I even want education for your (the Taliban’s) children as well. – Malala Yousafzi (from an interview with Jon Stewart)

***

Amid all the political jostlings and rivalries – the posturing and finger-pointing and self-serving nonsense – I have found reason for hope for our planet.  Two reasons, actually.  The reasons have names – Malala Yousafzai and William Kamkwamba. Where others might be motivated by the desire for wealth or fame or power, these two young people were, and are, motivated by the selfless desire to make the world a better place.

William – whose story can be found in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (http://www.amazon.com/The-Boy-Who-Harnessed-Wind/dp/0061730335/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1381549584&sr=1-1 ) – survived famine and drought, and being pulled from school because his family had no money to pay the school fees – to design a windmill that brought electricity to his community and water to his family’s crops. Although his invention brought him fame, and enabled him to return to school, fame was the last thing on his mind when he began gathering the scraps of material he needed for his windmill. He was driven by the yearning to learn, a curiosity to understand how things work, and the desire to make his family’s life easier.

Like William, education was and is very important to Malala Yousafzai. So important that she’s willing to risk her life for it.  So important that she almost DID lose her life for it.  A year ago Malala was shot at point blank range in the head by men who did not approve of her belief that girls in Pakistan should have access to the same education that boys have in her country. Did shooting Malala in the head stop her from speaking on behalf of the girls in her country? Nope.  Watch her in this interview with Jon Stewart:  http://www.upworthy.com/watch-this-incredible-young-woman-render-jon-stewart-speechless

William and Malala are the people I want to hear more about. These are the people I want to see pop up on my Yahoo News.  The shenanigans of our politicians and reality TV stars just do not interest me a whole lot anymore, you know?  I don’t feel ill will towards any of ’em. But I’m also determined not to give any of them the power to dictate the quality of my life.  As Ma Jode says in The Grapes of Wrath: “I ain’t never gonna be scared no more. I was, though. For a while it looked as though we was beat. Good and beat. Looked like we didn’t have nobody in the whole wide world but enemies. Like nobody was friendly no more. Made me feel kinda bad and scared too, like we was lost and nobody cared…. Rich fellas come up an’ they die, an’ their kids ain’t no good an’ they die out. But we keep a’comin’. We’re the people that live. They can’t wipe us out; they can’t lick us. We’ll go on forever, Pa, ’cause we’re the people.”

Money.  Eesh. Gloria Steinem says, “It is more rewarding to watch money change the world than watch it accumulate” – and this, for me, is true. Money holds no fascination for me. It never has, really. It is not an end in itself.  We can’t eat it, create a roof with it, or plant it in the garden and watch it grow. It’s just paper and whatever-else-they-put-in-there. The joy, for me, comes in exchanging that paper and whatever-else-they-put-in-there for things that really matter to me – school, experiences and adventures, music, art, books, providing the basics of Maslow’s pyramid to my family, and community.

As I’ve opened myself up to the infinite forms supply might take – and not limited my idea of supply to “money” – needs and wants have been met in extraordinary ways. I’ve had opportunities, for instance, to do things I always wanted to do, and, rather than having to pay to do these things, I have been given the opportunity to do them for free – and then been paid MYSELF for doing them! And, as I have made time for myself to do those creative pursuits that bring me joy, to express Soul – I have been offered money for those pursuits. I have proven, for myself, the truth of Marsha Sinetar’s words: “Do what you love and the money will follow.”

If he needs a million acres to make himself feel rich, seems to me he needs it ’cause he feels awful poor inside hisself, and if he’s poor in hisself, there ain’t no million acres gonna make him feel rich. – John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Wealth is in ideas – not money. – Robert Collier

God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies. Never ask for tomorrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment. – Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. – Matthew 6:21

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