This week brought an unexpected call from someone I’d worked with professionally a few years back. He filled me in on how his personal world had changed. “So, I’m reinventing myself,” he declared. “Ahh,” I said, “or as I like to call it, un-‘fornicating’ myself.”

My inbox brought another welcome surprise this week. UVIC Public Relations professor Nigel Atkin shared his latest article Branded (See page 10) in The Scrivener. He too reflects on our personal and societal journeys of branding and rebranding. “All of us know people branded by loss, by mental illness, by conflict, occupation, depravity, economic collapse, and war” he writes.

Did you see the Syrian Refugees in Northern Alberta this week? They are settled and were contributing relief items, gratitude and generosity of spirit at an evacuation center outside of Fort McMurray. “We are in Canada now and we are safe” one said. “We want to say thank you and help those who lost their homes.” Conversely, one of the local Canadians told the news cameras, “We are refugees now. We have no jobs and we have no homes.”

Atkin highlights our humanity in citing poet Alex Kuo, we are what- we have lost. 

Sometimes it’s about the inner journey of self-development and authenticity.

Sometimes it’s about the external physical modifications we make on our bodies.

Sometimes it’s about the marks left upon our psyches and souls- the individual and the collective.

Sometimes it’s about the marks left on the environment, or on a race of people.

The work of reinvention and rebranding asks of us “Am I a better version of my self? Are we a better version of our society?”

Atkin closes with this: By working actively toward the positive rebranding of others in our own minds and in the minds of others, by combating racism, sexism, and the many other phobias that usually precede mass movements in history, even in a new Renaissance or Reformation, those activities can actively rebrand us as individuals on the right side of history.

When Things Change-Who Are We Then?

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