A few nights ago, I watched the movie, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. It’s based on a true story about 13-year-old William Kamkwamba, a Malawian boy who saves his village from famine by figuring out from a science book how to build a wind turbine to pump water to irrigate their crops. His hardships are numerous and heart-wrenching, but he prevails despite almost no one believing he could do it, including his own father.
He was just an ordinary boy, yet he harnessed the wind. I imagine if you asked him, he might say he had no other choice. People in his village were starving; his own family was starving. And certainly, those dire circumstances must have prompted his action. But he also had to trust himself and tirelessly work to see his solution through, despite all odds.
The morning after watching the movie, as I began to wake up, I heard these words in my head: “We all can do great things.” I felt it was a message from outside me. A message to remind us to believe in ourselves.
Greatness usually doesn’t seem as grandiose as harnessing the wind when it’s in progress. Greatness for you today may include reading an article that inspires you to an act of kindness. It may mean helping your kids with online school despite your demanding job because you know how important education is to their future. Maybe you collect personal care items for homeless people, paint a beautiful picture, plant nourishing vegetables. All of these seemingly small actions contribute to a more loving world. Who is to say which tiny acts of greatness will lead to something so much bigger than we’d ever dreamed?
It’s our ego–or place of separation–that likes to make judgements about what is “good enough.” And if we listen to it, we can get caught in a fear-based spiral of doing nothing at all. And what if you find yourself in that stuck place? Having been there many times myself, here is some advice: move in the direction of your heart. What lights you up? What feels good even when you are just thinking about it? Do that! Because that thing you are truly passionate about is the thing you will keep doing, no matter difficult it becomes, no matter what anyone else thinks.
Perhaps the secret to harnessing the wind is to be more like the wind itself. The element of air teaches us to be persistent and adaptable. Wind prevails no matter how many people curse it (trust me, I know, I grew up in West Texas!). Wind shifts directions when it needs to. Air reminds us to trust that there is much more at work than we can see with our eyes. The element of air symbolizes the mind and the breath. Attuning our mind to our breath slows the mind-spin down and soothes the nervous system so we can hear our heart speak.
After seeing the film, I became curious about the real William Kamkwamba so I watched an interview with him on YouTube. His advice to others was simple and clear: “Trust yourself and believe. And whatever happens, don’t give up.” Just like the wind.