Can we innovate ourselves?

 You will always reproduce the environment around you that you cultivate within you.  kris vallotton


i learned about a Hindi word last week that has been bouncing around in my mind and pounding with purpose in my chest. the reference was a TED talk about the mixing of frugal means and innovative ideas – not just innovating for the sake of innovating, but innovating with the purpose of making life better for others around us. and how that is often enhanced in countries that seemingly don’t have much in front of them to use.

the word is JUGAAD.

it is a word that means “an improvised fix, a clever solution born in adversity.” and it has the ability to “magically transform adversity into opportunity, and turn something of less value into something of high value.” (navi radjou) it is a word that sees the cup as half-full, sees the discomfort as growth, and believes that there is more at work than what we can understand. it’s a word that believes, hopes, and aspires beyond what is conventionally supposed to be possible.

it is a word that i feel has tapped into a natural tendency within myself that i long to nurture into its fullness, one i used to identify in myself as naivety.

clearly, i  have not experienced enough trials of my own if i am able to declare that there is hope in the midst of trial. clearly, i am unaware of the atrocities of the world if i believe that all things can truly be solved with love- on a person by person basis. and i just haven’t seen enough if i believe that God does show up with peace, protection, and heroism even in the midst of seemingly “dangerous” situations that our safety gauges tell us should be avoided. clearly, i lack empathy, understanding, wisdom, experience…

i love the idea of taking our limited resources or adversity- our difficult situations- and making the most of them. not just getting thru but leaning in to the experience and growing as a result. innovating ourselves. maybe even seeking out a situation that will expose you to discomfort. and i love any idea that goes against what is “conventionally supposed to be” anything. is that a challenge?

dreamers, artists, writers, lovers, mothers, givers, friends-sisters… DREAM, DO.

one thing i love about the current internet, blogging and social media age is the freedom of expression for individuals on a regular basis. we have access to an instant platform and a valuable form of creative and heartfelt expression. and there has been a brave & invigorating trend to “keep it real” and bare all so that women make it clear that they are not putting on a facade on the platform that can be really easy to put up a facade.

like anything, this space that has so much potential for good can have potential for harm. similar to the weakness of any powerful strength or the imposter flesh behind any passionate movement.

and one of those weaknesses i believe to be happening, is the constant “life is hard” mantra. where it seems as though we seek out and highlight the trials in order to be more authentic and, i fear, get stuck focusing on that hard stuff. it can turn into a cycle of documenting things that are hard and end up tallying up in our subconscious. being real and vulnerable are so so important and life-giving, but so is the hope, joy and belief in the other side.

what if we JUGAAD those situations in our hearts and in our minds and speak truth & hope into them. and then instead of calling it “being fake” we speak OF that truth & hope. instead of focusing on the current pain of loneliness, inadequacy, exhaustion, shortcomings; we focus on what it will create in our future- more dependence on a Father who longs to be our only source of ridiculous joy & hope. take these seemingly impossible circumstances and innovate with our creator who wrote our stories to explore the riches of His joy on the other side of every hardship that comes our way. He longs to use our pain for growth, or encouragement or hope. and not just get thru it, but USE us even more.

JUGAAD is a light in darkness: simple resources used to “magically” turn adversity into opportunity. and when that hope is reigning, it cannot help but shine. what can you shine with what you’ve got today, sisters?


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