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  • Charlie Ranken

3. [The act of reframing]

Updated: Apr 22, 2022

I'm leaning over the kitchen counter, half listening to Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe's Parenting Hell podcast (the episode with Joe Wicks) and attempting not to burn chicken nuggets and chips that are baking in the oven.


Today is Saturday and life feels foggy. In my mind, I can think of one jaw dropping moment after another over the last few years. Well, actually my son is 7 now, so in his life time. Donald Trump becoming president. (I remember exactly where I was) Brexit, citizens storming American Congress, Covid, Russians invading Ukraine. I watched a YouTube video today created by Arnold Schwarzenegger, an articulate message to the people of Russia. The beautiful thing about this video was his genuine approach, his connections to the humans that live there and their connections to the countries surrounding them. No metaphors, no quotes from posters, no rabbit warrens of debate. It was genuine. It was clear. It was human.


As an individual, on this side of the pond, I have to constantly reframe the information I receive otherwise my heart will internally combust and I will just...stop. Information is now a constant flow, found everywhere; paper, social media, t.v, radio, podcasts, emails, friends, family etc The act of reframing helps us to take a moment. We can be proactive, be helpful and most importantly, be impactful in a meaningful way. It also makes subject matter digestible, helps to focus energy and make sure we are informed properly so we don't have a misplaced sense of justice.


Every time I feel myself becoming unravelled, I think what can I do? In reality, what can I do? This isn't a negative claim, it's a purposeful one. The act of reframing helps to focus the wide lens of life, down to where I stand. This is where the 40 project started. I wanted to help the community in ways I had before, but couldn't because I had become a parent so I created a new way. I educated myself, tested my ideas and found support. the 40 project is now in its 3rd year which is crazy and it has now evolved to deliver 40 sanitary kits to vulnerable women very month in Plymouth.


I took the same approach when it came to how can I support Ukrainians? What can I do? One way was to support a friend, who has a flat in Warsaw and is helping to house a fleeing family and needs financial support for bills, food etc This is something I could do. I am also part of a virtual challenge community called The Conqueror Challenges. This app was unbelievable helpful when in lockdown and kept me moving and training as a dancer. They announced a Stand With Ukraine Fundraiser at the start of March. This virtual challenge is like all the others but you don't receive a medal at the end of your distance. All the money is donated to the Red Cross and Save the Children. They designed the course in 3 days and had over 15,000 members sign up which meant they raised at least 500,000 USD.


The wonderful thing about community is you can make a massive impact by doing what you can. My Auntie used to say to me, 'do what you can Charlotte, not what you can't,' which seems really simply but how often do we try and change the world at the expense of our own, when we could change our world and make a real impact with others who are doing the same thing. Reframing and pulling in the wider lens to focus on what we can do is a healthy skill.


This season of my life, this particular era of humankind has highlighted the need to explore. Instead of putting my head in the sand because it's too hard or overwhelming, what else do I need to be educated on? The Russian War is not the only one.


What issues can we reframe so we can be purposeful? Is there one action we can undertake to help our community at home? Our communities in different countries? Are you overwhelmed or burning out trying to help beyond your resources, beyond your limits? If you are a creative artist, how does this help you process your thoughts? Or how do you find ways to proactively help your fellow human kind? The Flying Seagull Project is one creative community that comes to mind.


Photo from Wix Media - Ukraine Peace Protest

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