Our development is an unfinished and ongoing story. That's what is so exciting: We are creating ourselves and our world as we go. And every little move we make, each decision and perception we land on, makes a difference in how things unfold. Kathy Freston explains why making small changes in your life can alter your life in unimaginable ways.
Imagine yourself standing at the edge of a pond. The water is calm, placid and smooth like glass. In your hand, you hold a pebble. You drop the pebble into the water, and from the place where the pebble submerges, ripples ruffle the water's surface. The small waves start at the point of the pebble's entry, and they make their way the entire distance to the banks of the pond, touching the earth in waves.
You are the pond, and every thought, action and feeling is a pebble, influencing your body, relationships, future and present moment. In your existence, there is no insignificant moment. The universe is also that pond, and you are that pebble. Your life, energy and love echo energetically to the very edges of all creation. You have that much power.
To help you understand this critical point, we can look to an interesting discovery made in meteorology called the butterfly effect. In 1961, Edward Norton Lorenz entered a figure for wind velocity into a computer in an attempt to predict weather conditions. Taking a shortcut, he entered 0.506 instead of 0.506127. What he found was astounding: That tiny difference of 0.000127 radically altered the ensuing weather scenario. The concept Lorenz developed around his findings became known as the butterfly effect because a wind velocity difference of 0.000127 seems so totally insignificant—much like the difference in velocity that might be caused by the flapping wings of a butterfly. Lorenz concluded that the slightest and seemingly most insignificant initial condition could drastically modify the weather going forward. That tiny variation could create such a different path or momentum that it might, in fact, initiate a chain of meteorological events—that it could change a sunny day into a tornado. In chaos theory, this is known as sensitive dependence on initial conditions. A tiny shift matters that much. The message is that every action, no matter how small, can cause a huge reaction somewhere else or at some future time. Isn't that exciting?
The more you shift, the more you change
The more we adjust or shift—even in tiny ways—the more we can look forward to sweeping changes showing up in our lives. We can cut one thing out of our diet, add a minute or two of meditation, or turn our attention, just for a moment, toward kindness, and before we know it, we are different people creating a different world. This far-reaching shift is dependent entirely upon our willingness to consistently move along the wellness continuum, in whatever incremental ways we can.
In the atmosphere, as in life, every small factor is significant and influential. This is why setting your intention and living your life in a way that pulls you toward your ultimate empowerment—in every moment—is so important. You can direct your experience of life in such a profound way. Every conversation you have, every morsel you eat, purchase you make, and on and on, factors into where you will find yourself in a week, a year or a decade.
A friend of mine likes to remind me that even just wearing a button or putting a bumper sticker on your car can change the course of history. That's not just hyperbole. Think about it. Say the button sparks a conversation in the checkout line in the supermarket. The person you chatted with then adopts the change you are promoting. You have just changed every remaining day of that person's life. And if that person decides to make that advocacy issue his life's mission, well then, his excitement will generate yet more new waves in the world (or pond!), and thus the dance of life takes a new twist! All from simply putting a bumper sticker on your car or wearing a button.
Every little thing you do adds up, and before you know it, you've created your life. And how you create your life ripples out and affects everyone and everything that crosses your path, known or unknown to you.
Now imagine that you are in a rowboat, and everything you do is one push of the paddle. Is it a strong row, moving you forward? Or is it sideways or chaotic, leaving you vulnerable to the current? Think of this wellness journey as that rowboat. Once you get the hang of rowing with the current and not against it, in harmony with who you truly are at your highest potential, every move you make will move you forward with greater efficiency. Just follow the rhythm of the current, add to it some of your own muscle, and you'll soon be amazed at how your momentum increases and you start reaching and surpassing your goals.
5 action steps to make change in your life
As you awaken to this power to affect your life, pay close attention to your feelings and observations. Ask yourself: Where am I now, and where do I want to be? Just be aware. The more you become aware of the affects of each choice you make, the more you will be able to choose differently and better for yourself. As you live more creatively, you'll be amazed at how these small moments come together and inform your big breakthroughs.
Close your eyes and meditate for one minute a day. You'll come from a more centered and grounded place in your decisions and actions.
Think about where your food—meat, dairy and eggs, especially—comes from, and eat that food only if it sits right in your soul. You might try going meatless on Mondays!
Learn something new once a month, for instance, CPR!
Eat an apple a day; the fiber will keep you feeling full and clean (if you know what I mean!).
If there is an outstanding grudge with someone, work out some forgiveness. It will free you.