Monday, January 12, 2009


I'm still thinking about how often other people's words, or examples have freed me from old ways of thinking or behaving. Perhaps I'm especially suggestible, but I think others are not so difference.

The butterfly above is a postcard I made a couple of years ago [it's been sent to someone and I don't remember who]. It reminds me of the story about the butterfly in central China whose wing flapping started a subtle change in the air that changed and changed and became a tornado in Kansas [or wherever]. Well that's probably not quite possible and it probably isn't Kansas in the story. It reminds me then of the John Guare play, Six Degrees of Separation [also a not very successful movie]. And the idea that we are connected to every other individual on earth by only six "degress" or connections. It seems far fetched, yes.

But sometimes I think of people I know who know others and am only one or two degrees removed. For example I've met a lovely young Tibetan woman who is related to the Dalai Lama. That is just two degrees away. [And think of all the people HH has met!] I can think of others, quite a few others, e.g., someone who knew Marlon Brando, [two degrees[and Marlon knew all those other people and so it goes ... think about it! Wow! Who knows what bits of influence have rubbed off on me from whom? So when I listen to someone at a meeting and realize her words have made me stop and think, I wonder if I've said anything that affects others.

A small effect I've seen is that someone stands in a subway car getting everyone's attention with his or her story of need, when one person reaches into a pocket or purse for a donation, other people copy the gesture. If no one does anything the beggar probably gets nothing. We can inspire generosity in others. It's that simple. So pay attention because you never know when you'll hear something wonderful and do something kind, because you never know when it'll inspire others. This is not a sermon, this is actual observation.


Evelyn said...

You know what I wish? I wish we could selectively choose which experiences we let rub off on us. I've had a series of crappy things happen over the last month (all mostly minor in themselves, but just so darn many in a row...), and I wish I could put them out of my mind easier. Replace them with ruminations on the equal (or greater!) number of good things that happened in the same time frame. I must work on that. Thanks for your posts - they always give me something to think about!

Stephanie D. said...

I've never really thought about it like that before. It's too easy to just pass emotions or experiences or idle words on without giving a lot of thought to the consequences. And we know there are always consequences.

Thanks, June.