Cultivating Respect: The winds of change won’t knock you down


They are blowing, and not one among us has any hope of shelter. It is inevitable. The winds of change are here, and we have a very important decision to make. How will we adapt?

Covid has transformed our lives, and most likely not just for the short term. At the same time, our society is at a reckoning yet again, lights shining bright on race, class, gender, injustice. You may rightfully feel overwhelmed, or powerless, or frightened. Change is scary for a reason. We are creatures who innately find comfort in the expected. However, we are at a crossroads, and things must change in order to progress towards a better tomorrow for each and every one of us. Whether that is shifting and adapting our habits to fight Covid or reconsidering our internal biases and worldview.

When you are standing at the edge of something new, whether invited or not, what does your instinct tell you to do? Do the winds of change evoke optimism or pessimism? There are many mysteries to life on this planet, but the constant of change is an undisputed facet of the human existence. So perhaps our approach to change is pivotal to how it will affect us. And that approach may be the only thing we have control over when the world around us is a-swirl.

The Castro family is on the cusp of once again digging up our roots - roots that have barely had time to set in - and make a new life in a new state. You can imagine the knee-jerk reaction to this news when it made its way to our family. It was excitement and sadness meshed together like a bittersweet desert served up to a finicky toddler’s palate. That salted caramel, flaming crème brulee will definitely be good, but may take some convincing that the flames will flare out and all will be well.

Making the decision with my husband was not easy. This kind of life change never is. The mom in me oscillated between, “I don’t want to move the kids again,” to, “Wow! We are so fortunate to give our family so many new life experiences and opportunities for personal growth!” We had a choice, and we made the best decision, in the best interest of our family, all during a pandemic. (Yes, we have been accused of being overachievers.) The winds of change will not knock us down. On the contrary, we will be better for it. Are you ready for us Atlanta?!

But I see those numbers, and I am sobered. Over 104,000 at the time I write this piece. I think we need to take care that we do not become numb to the magnitude of lives lost, and it’s disproportionate affect on communities of color. It’s a virus. It’s biology. Viral illness has been part of humanity since the beginning. It’s not a mystery. We must work collectively in the interest of public health. No amount of wishing will make it go away without enough compassion and care for others to change our own behaviors. As you read this, I hope you feel that I am lifting you, your family and your community up in my thoughts, and I care for your health and wellness as we work together to escape the clutches of Covid. Embrace the winds of change for the common good.

The intention of Cultivating Respect has always been to help readers and listeners to slow down, listen, be open to learn and grow in compassion and empathy for others. I humbly ask that in this time of political, social and public health unrest, we serve others before ourselves. We first consider the needs of our communities, and of the greater good. Protect the vulnerable. View circumstances through a lens of compassion. Look for the opportunity to learn from someone else’s experience. Acknowledge our common humanity and need for dignity, and that this is more powerful than anything that appears to divide us. There is nothing more patriotic than love of neighbor.

This is what Cultivating Respect in our communities means to me, and I thank you for opening your mind and heart to my interpretation of how to create respectful environments in our own pockets of the world.

Darcy Castro is the 2019 Elite National American Woman of Service, representing a national pageant focused on community service and empowering women. Cultivating Respect with Darcy Castro is an initiative focused on practical ways to create respectful environments in our own little pockets of the world. Each month’s article and podcast feature honest, thought-provoking ideas that aim to inspire and foster positive, respectful communities. Follow Cultivating Respect with Darcy Castro at DarcyCastro.com.

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© 2020 Darcy Castro

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