Ripples of Effect
“How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world.” – Anne Frank
A question that I often ask myself is, “how can I make the biggest difference in the world?” The magnitude of change required now to steer humanity back onto the path of natural balance is calling forth each of our individual gifts. Indeed, the steps required to repair our home are anything short of a miracle. I define a miracle as something that is impossible from an old story, but possible from a new story. It is through the lens of this new story that we understand the possibility of thriving is within our collective reach. Each of us carries a piece of this puzzle, a part of the new story, and together we have the support to live it.
Uncovering, integrating, and transcending the pieces from the old story of separation is a daily practice. Much inner dialogue and vocal expression carries with it traces of the old story. I realized that my desire to have the “biggest” impact was born out of the story of separation. The story of separation says that the measure of success is the result of directly seeing the greatest degree of change in the largest number of people. Mister X did Y and the direct result was Z. This story holds a narrow scope on the universal law of cause and effect. It says that the only influence you have is on the immediate environment with which you interact. What about all of the people who helped Mister X at key moments when he was ready to give up? Those moments are all of equal importance for if just one did not happen, the whole result of Z might not have happened in the first place.
The story of the connected self views the individual as one part of an immense whole and the whole as being contained within the individual. This lens carries the understanding of the potential small actions have when they ripple out into the cosmos. Tuning into our connection teaches us that we do not really have the capacity to know the full results of our actions. Our understanding of the universal law of cause and effect can then expand as we include the unknown potential of each moment of our lives. From this expanded perspective, it does not make sense to ask how to create the biggest impact as there is simply no way of knowing! Any change within manifests in the external world and every small act compounds to create big change.
If you were deciding between a position at an international charity that helps the lives of millions of people globally or a position in a small local hospice caring for a few people living out their last days, what would you choose? Within the story of separation, if you were wanting to make the ‘biggest’ difference, the obvious choice would be the charity. It doesn’t make sense to care for a few people who are about to die when you could help many people live for years. However, from the story of the connected self, we see that there is no way to know the full effect of either choice. The hospice work could lead you on a path where you serve to inspire others to do the same. The charity position could leave you broke and jobless after a scandal is uncovered within the company. I am in no way suggesting that one is better than the other in the long run, I am simply illustrating the unknown result potential that exists within any choice we make.
So how do I make the biggest difference in the world? The shadow of this question reveals itself when it paralyzes me from taking any action at all, save for the fear of “wasting” my time doing something “ineffective” or unfulfilling. I have realized that this is not the correct question to be asking. Instead, the question to ask is, “what will give me the greatest fulfillment in this world?” When you are truly giving back your deepest gifts, when you are in total alignment with your purpose, this is when you are fulfilled. When you are fulfilled you are bringing your greatest potential to the table every day. When you are fulfilled, you shine your light brighter and create inspiration and space for others to do the same.
It is the small acts of kindness that can mean the most. A smile from a stranger, a hug from a friend, a heartfelt compliment, a conversation with a cashier, picking up a piece of trash on the street, riding your bike to work, clearing negative patterns with family. Do not be paralyzed into inaction from being unsure of what the best thing is to do. Everything you do has incredible potential. Follow and learn to trust your feeling of excitement. We have no idea the impact even our smallest actions make on other people. As we move past our conditioning of limitation we realize the unlimited potential of each and every moment. All major change is the sum total of uncountable small actions.
“Your thoughts, words and deeds are painting the world around you.” – Jewel Diamond Taylor