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All we need is love

For the World Upshift Movement, deep transformational social change starts from within
Justina Mutale

Main image: Justina Mutale, credit Micheal G. Spafford

This article first appeared in our International Women’s Day issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published on 08 March 2023. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

What difference would it make if it turned out we only need one thing to bring about a change in global consciousness – and that thing is love?

It would be a game-changer, according to the World Upshift Movement (WUM).

‘Sustainable change comes from the heart’, explains Maria Antinori, chair of WUM. ‘We know that from our own lives; why should it be different for humanity as a whole?’

At a reception at the House of Lords on 21 February, WUM gathered supporters from around the world to thank founding members and present its plans for the coming year. 

My Green Pod spoke to some of the women leaders and activists involved both at the reception and remotely for this special issue to mark International Women’s Day.

Retake the Streets

Sveva is an activist with Retake Roma. Every Saturday she joins teams of people picking up rubbish and taking care of their neighbourhood.

How is this miracle possible? ‘We don’t do this because anybody tells us to’, Sveva explains; ‘we want to do it! We love our city and feel responsible! This is our home and it’s up to us to take care of it.’ 

Alejandra works for Retake nationally, encouraging new Retake groups to emerge. ‘I really want to show people they can be  part of the solution’, Alejandra tells us, ‘that their voices count and that they can make a difference. Retake’s impact goes far beyond cleaning up the streets.’

As Sveva and Alejandra point out: ‘We encourage local people to plant flowers and shrubs, to water them regularly. We are working for an upshift in awareness, a change in attitude towards the local environment. It’s inspiring, it’s energising and it’s fun.’

Peace in our communities

The London event’s guest of honour was H.E. Dr Justina Mutale, Africa’s Woman of the Year in 2012 and president of the Justina Mutale Leadership Foundation.

‘Peacebuilding requires us to treat each other, despite our differences, with a degree of tolerance and respect’, Justina said. ‘That starts with the heart, with an awareness of our common humanity. The world desperately needs such an upshift and we need to recognise that there are things we can do in our daily lives to bring this about.’

Every voice counts

Refugee leader Maysa Ismael, a Chevening scholar, coordinator for the European Coalition of Migrants and Refugees and member of New Women Connectors, spoke at the reception about the need to create a more inclusive and equitable environment for migrant women to thrive. 

‘We need people to listen to our stories with their hearts, to really understand what we are saying and why we are saying it’, Maysa said. ‘That is why an upshift in awareness is so important – it helps create a safe space which can lead to transformational change in our lives and the contribution we can make. Sharing experiences is a powerful way to help the deeper understanding of issues such as migration, which will be needed even more in the future if the world is to be able to adapt to much higher levels of international migration due to climate change.’

Empowerment of women

Mirela Sula is helping women to find their voice and unlock their potential by connecting with their inner self, and by developing networking skills and offering professional training.

Through her organisation Global Woman Club, Mirela has created a unique community that helps women build their confidence, make friends and create a positive impact in the world.

‘We do all this from the heart’, Mirela says; ‘that is why we can leave a legacy in the lives of the women whose lives we touch and of all those around them, and it is why we are delighted to be partnering with the World Upshift Movement.’

Young people’s inner wisdom

Karen Stenning is the founder of Spirited Futures, a leadership academy for young trailblazers. She is working with young people to give them the skills they need to start new initiatives and bring lasting change to their communities.

As Karen told My Green Pod, ‘The world is changing ever so fast, and we need brilliant new leaders who are connected with their individual and unique skills, with their inner wisdom.’

‘Our academy is about giving them the courage and resilience to tackle some of the world’s toughest challenges’, Karen continued. ‘Our future leaders also want to work in partnership with current leaders. Working with the World Upshift Movement will help us bring these two groups together.’

Change from within

As a heart-led organisation, the World Upshift Movement places a lot of emphasis on taking care of our inner lives – our conscious human experiences.

UNIFY, one of WUM’s partner organisations, facilitates engagement in global unity events and meditations, including for International Peace Day and Earth Day.

Welcoming the creation of the World Upshift Movement, UNIFY’s executive director, Tammy Scarlett, said, ‘As well as uniting us across borders, synchronised collective experience such as our mass mediations can really help to inspire and mobilise community action which can have a really positive impact on people’s lives.’

Whether through meditation, mindfulness, prayer, singing or any other personal ritual, the team at World Upshift Movement believes that what really matters is that people can find a moment of inner peace to focus on their inner self, and the here and now.

As Maria Antinori explains, ‘We do believe that such an approach can benefit physical and emotional wellbeing, while giving a new sense of energy and purpose. That’s a valuable resource for the grassroots projects we want to promote.’ 

Click here to contact, join or partner with the World Upshift Movement.

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