What Do Your Ripples Look Like?
Today I listened to the crows cawing outside my window. The woodpecker across the street was banging away for food or shelter. These gentle reminders of the cycle of nature instill a certain peace in my heart. When I am at peace I feel thankful and gratitude becomes my more prevalent thought structure. The journey of discovering my role in the larger scheme of the universe is humbling.
Placing myself within the more gargantuan machine that is the world, knowing that I am merely a speck in its cogs and gears creates in me an ever bubbling spring of thankfulness to play a part in the development of humanity at large and the smaller pieces of it.
So now what? How do I move forward with gratitude? Where do I begin to manifest this humility and gratitude and give it as a gift to those around me?
I suppose it starts within my family unit. My children being the closest to me, it is urgent that they see this element of their own existence, feeling their own smallness compared to the rest of the universe and yet helping them to understand that they play an integral part in the workings of it, even if we don’t yet comprehend how. Just as the smallest creatures and life forces in the earth’s ecosystem are essential to the larger working of the natural systems, my children, existing within the family unit, are essential to the smooth working of the interactions between us and the world.
We set the tone, all of us. We make the choices to wake up and see our existence with gratitude or to see it with contempt. The choices of perception that we make ultimately affect what we get out of our experiences and then what we put into them for those around us and so the cycle continues.
What do you want to get out of your experiences? Do you want to feel gratitude? Do you want to feel joy, love and passion? Or, do you want to be incited to anger? Would you rather feel discontent, sadness, offense?
What do you want to put into the world? Is it your anger? Is it your sense of judgment? What kind of trail do you want to leave behind you on your journey through life? The wake you leave and spread behind you effects so much more than we typically consider on a daily basis.
Think of some simple examples. You smile at the barista that gets you your coffee and give them a genuine thank you. They feel good about themselves and you’ve instilled a subtle sense of pride. They are better at their job now, the next customer benefits from your kindness by the quality of their service. Now that person leaves the coffee shop and is kind while driving. An accident is prevented because they choose to be courteous. Another driver realizing they were spared what could have been detrimental is now more cautious as they go on with their day and with each interaction they expresses gratitude for life in general with smiles, kindness, and conscientious behavior. They are better at their job, more kind to their family, thankful for their partner, children, and parents. Kindness is contagious and it spreads in ways we may not realize, and it can literally save lives. And the cycle continues.
The same is true of behavior that is judgmental, self-centered and non-empathetic. This kind of behavior affects those around us and the prevailing attitude of it is contagious. “Everyone out for themselves”, inspires a sense of panic. In any given situation if you see someone who is focused on their own gratification we are put into survival mode because that person is perceived as a threat to our happiness and sense of security. If they are only out for their own satisfaction then our contentment and well being won’t even be a ranking on their scale of concern. It triggers a part of our brain that moves us to fight or flee to maintain the status quo.
If our baser instincts take over at that point we are more animalistic, we become a pack of ignorant animals just looking for the next thing to fulfill our bodily needs and the higher calling of mental and spiritual faculties begin to take a back seat causing a cycle of degradation to civil behavior.
How does that start? It starts with our perception of the world around us. Are we just an animal looking to be number one on the food chain? Is everyone around us just an obstacle to our ultimate goal of king of the hill? If that is your goal, what happens then? You make it to the top and then you continue to fight for position. You must hold your space there, ending up in a constant battle with the world around you. It must be exhausting.
So, the question becomes, how do YOU want to expend your energy? Living in constant contention with the world that’s perceived as an adversary to conquer? Do you want to burn out your adrenals running from perceived threats to your control over life? Do you want to pay out personal resources treading water in fear of risk or failure even if it might equal reward? Will any of those goals serve to replenish your reserves or give you a return on your investment?
How about looking at some alternative avenues of energetic expenditure? Expanding the enlightenment of your personal universe and in turn the global understanding? Learning new ways to lift yourself to the next level of your journey toward peace? Visualizing your success and then planning a course of action for achievement? Applying more love and understanding to relationships to inspire effective communication and further a community of success?
Once we accept the understanding that our role in the systems around us is entirely up to us and that we will naturally see a shift in the course of events due to our own altered behavior, either in a positive or detrimental direction, the power of our choices takes on a deeper meaning. This deeper meaning can rise to a sense of satisfaction, acceptance, and fulfillment.
What a difference a moment of gratitude can make. Live each day with intention. Welcome every new experience as a learning tool for, not just you, but for everyone that surrounds you. You have the power to make the world a better place by shifting your perspective.
What are you choosing to see?