Lessons from Dr. Who

I woke up this morning with some thoughts rumbling around.

Many of us are being called to step away from our boring lives and do something just a little bit more to make our worlds safe again. This is a call to change, one happening on a much larger and more obvious scale than previous occurrences. If you’ve ever wanted to participate in history, rather than reading about it, the time is now. We have LGBT rights to retain, systemic racism revealed that must be dismantled, a climate on the brink of devastation, and a huge number of people in danger of losing what little support they have for staying alive.

It’s overwhelming.

I’ve been watching a lot of Dr. Who lately, and there are some very good lessons in that series for those of us struggling with a world gone suddenly just a bit mad. Unsafe. Distressing. In the most desperate times he never gives up, never gives in, knowing that even if he dies, its for the best cause.

Here is a list of lessons from Dr. Who:

  • Value the relationships that support you. Whether its a Companion, a relative, or a friend if they look at you and say “YES!” you want them in your life.
  • Laugh. Because its funny and ridiculous, even when its distressing.
  • The good things in life don’t cancel out the bad, but the bad things don’t always spoil the good.
  • Knowledge itself isn’t power, but it can make you powerful. As the 4th Doctor said: “The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views.”
  • Don’t let fear restrict your actions; allow courage to liberate them. When overwhelmed by fear, try to breathe, relax your body, and then think about what you might do if you weren’t afraid. It’s silly, but you may even ask yourself what the Doctor would do?
  • Never be cruel. Never be cowardly. If you ever are: make amends. That’s it. Sometimes we aren’t our best selves, fear overwhelms us, or we lack the right information and we make a bad choice. Even the Doctor can’t go back in his own time stream, so we must move forward. Instead of ignoring our wrongdoing, or covering it up, we must make amends, even if that costs us more than the original scenario might have.
  • We are all important. There is no such thing as ordinary — that’s fear talking. We are all amazing, brilliant people. We all have the power to change the world for the better. Rosa Parks was just a woman before she refused to move. Ruby Bridges was just a little girl who wanted to go to school just as Malala was transformed into an activist because she was shot for going to school.
  • Sometimes — most times? — there isn’t a villain, just people trying to do what they think is right. Modern villains have become charming, sophisticated people (think Marvel’s Loki) who have their own moral compass. While some are supremely selfish, most of them think they are doing what is best for the world. In the aftermath of the election, this is the issue I think we are struggling with more than ever before.
  • Nothing is impossible, just highly unlikely. If you start with “I can’t” its much harder to get to “I will”. If you are 60 years old, it may feel impossible to fly to the moon . . . but it’s only highly unlikely.
  • The small things can be just as important as the large ones. Smelling a flower, watching a sunset, writing a letter to a friend are all small things, but they can change the course of events.
  • Your actions are your mark on the world. Step out of your comfort zone and push your boundaries a little bit.

And here is one from me: small changes lead to big differences. Rosa Parks was the first, but it was when she was joined by others that segregation was challenged, and eventually overturned. You aren’t alone; go find others of like mind and start makes the changes you want to see in the world.

You can do it, I know. Because you are fantastic!

Image result for dr who fantastic

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