The Ripple Effect

Do you ever doubt the power of one person to make a difference in this world?  Do you ever wonder if one action you might take, might result in change?  Might inspire and empower someone else to take that first step?

Pink Fund Blogger Amy Rauch Neilson, has discovered her own personal power to effect change, just through the simple writing of her blog, It’s in The Genes.  Here is how her simple action is changing the world for women in treatment for breast cancer.

Feeling Small

Sometimes I feel so small, particularly in comparison to the enormity of the world around us. I think of the sheer numbers of people affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan – numbers so big I can’t wrap my brain around them no matter how hard I try – and I feel miniscule.

I look up into the night sky in all its wonder, with the knowledge that the glow from a star shining down from above has traveled thousands of light years to reach me, even that the star may have burned out eons ago. And again, I feel tiny.

Those are the moments when I think to myself, “Do I really matter? Can one person really make a difference?”

The answer to both is a resounding “Yes.”

Not because we, as humans, overestimate our significance in the universe. Perhaps we do. But we were wired that way for a reason. Because we really are important – each and every one of us.

The power of one of us – astonishing. The power of all of us – infinite in its reach.

In 1984, the Detroit Tigers ended a storybook season by clinching the World Series. We’d always been huge baseball fans – my Dad, my Mom, my sisters Julie and Lisa,and me.

Mom might have been the biggest fan of all. She may often have been described as reserved in day-to-day life, but not at Tiger Stadium, where she stomped peanut shells beneath her feet as she cheered on her favorite players or heckled (politely, of course) an umpire over a bad call.

The Wave Began

That was the year and the stadium where the phenomenon known as The Wave began. One day some fan jumped up and swept his or her hands skyward – and seat by seat, row by row, section by section, other fans joined in – until the whole stadium was alive in waves of people launching themselves from their seats in perfect synchronicity.

The Ripple Effect. It started with one person and spread through a stadium, then many stadiums to thousands, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people across the country.

One little pebble that broke the surface of still waters, then fanned out farther than the eye could see or the mind comprehend.

I doubt the person who started The Wave did it as a conscious decision. My bet is that he or she just did it. And so often, it’s when we just follow our heart, rather than think and think and think about it, that we have the greatest impact.

Each of us has not just one pebble to throw over the course of our lives, but whole handfuls. The question is, “Do we dare?” Or perhaps more accurately, “Should we dare?”

Of course.

With a splash, they hit the water, and then the concentric circles begin, spreading farther and farther. We have no idea just how far-reaching they will be.

Inspired by My Blog

I run into people quite frequently who stop me to tell me how inspired they are by my blog. “Do you know how many people’s lives you’re touching?” they’ll often ask.

I shake my head.

I really don’t. There’s no way to put a number on that. It’s humbling.

The Ripple Effect.

It’s in all of us.

We cast our pebbles out into still waters – many times before we even realize what we’re doing. Then we wait. And hope. And watch.

You May Never Know Whose Life You Touch

Keep tossing those pebbles. You never know – and you likely may never know – the lives you’ll be touching. But just knowing that you are, well, that’s enough. More than enough.

Copyright 2011, Amy Rauch Neilson

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1 Comment

  1. I love the way in which you have related this particular topic. Very helpful.
    I look forward to reading the other comments.

    Reply

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