Each one of us matters, has a role to play, and makes a difference. Each one of us must take responsibility for our own lives, and above all, show respect and love for living things around us, especially each other.
― Jane Goodall, Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey
I’m so fortunate to live by the ocean, yet it’s like all things that are within our reach – we seldom take advantage of them. I’ve also lived close to Boston, Mass and didn’t really go out sightseeing until years after I’d moved away.
Not too long ago, I decided to take advantage of the proximity of the beach. It was an emotional day for me, one I couldn’t wrap my head around as my thoughts continued to race around and elude rationality. It was a little cool out, not overwhelmingly so. I took my shoes and socks off, and rolled up my jeans to just under my knees so I could dip my feet into the incoming waves.
The shock of the cold water brought my attention to the moment. Focus. I kept still, letting each tiny wave slosh over my feet and scuttle away. Moving a little closer in, I stopped again as more water rushed over me. Chills ascended my spine and goose flesh covered my arms. As I silently stood, the sand beneath my feet slid away with each wave and buried me a little deeper. The pull of the water and the force of my weight caused a shift that would not have otherwise occurred.
It seems almost silly to think, “I matter. This is happening because I made a difference somehow.” Yet in that small moment, that’s what resonated with me. I tried to imagine the ripple effect of me just standing there, doing nothing but enjoying the cool water on my feet. I thought of the potential of a butterfly to cause a storm thousands of miles away with just the mere beat of its wings. What was I helping to create, just by standing in this one spot?
What other changes could I affect? What would a smile do for a stranger? What would a kind word do for a coworker? I am not insignificant.
Neither are you.
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