The Butterfly Effect

By: Laura Interval

I received an email this morning from a dear friend about the horrors going on in Burma. The deadly Cyclone has already killed up to 100,000 Burmese, and has left tens of thousands more in imminent danger of death from hunger and disease. Although the world has responded with emergency supplies and aid, the Burmese military regime is blocking all efforts to get relief to the people. Burmese Buddhist monks, prominent and student leaders, and others, have issued a public appeal for the UN to stop waiting for permission from the Burmese military regime. This email was a plea to click on a link that sends a letter of appeal to the Chinese UN Ambassador to use their power to apply pressure to persuade the Burmese government to allow the UN to move in and immediately dispatch relief.

As I read more about the disaster, both natural and political, I found myself feeling overwhelmed, flat out helpless . . .not knowing where to begin. I began to feel a separation of my world and theirs; a sort of disconnect from the reality of the people of Burma. I began to feel small and helpless and fragile. How can I possibly help and how to begin…? I clicked on the petition… to try to feel like I’d done something effective with my mouse and moved on. But, I was left feeling like it wasn’t enough this time.

So, how then? How do we begin to help the world in crisis? How do we start to address the huge problems, the massive disasters that show themselves in the media everyday? How do we start to become helpful and effective without bringing the burdens and anger into our own daily lives?

And then, I remembered one of my favorite quotes:

“Let him that would move the world, first move himself."– Socrates

So simple and so right.

Just move… begin. DO what you have been intending to do in your life. Everything. This might sound trivial, but just the exercise of YOU moving… will begin a snowball, a world wide butterfly effect.

The term Butterfly Effect derives from science. The idea is that tiny changes within a complex system lead to big results that are impossible to predict. So, in layman terms, the flap of a butterfly’s wings could create tiny changes in the atmosphere that lead to high winds somewhere else on the planet. A tiny movement here… creates a landslide over there. And so it is with your actions; a small accomplishment here… could cause a huge positive movement over there.

A butterfly in the Amazon flaps his wings because he has to… unaware of his effect. We have the ability to flap our wings with purpose. So begin now… today. Put intention and focus behind your actions. Commitment to what you’re doing, to what you do is the key. If you’re building a house, really build the house. If you are teaching children, really teach and know why you are doing it, know what you are creating. Put all of your energy into everything that you do. Even if you’re just washing the dishes, really wash the dishes with a sense of purpose, a sense of the big picture. If you commit yourself to your every action, you will connect with your sense of purpose. And that sense of purpose will become your wings. It begins inside you. Your intention, your purpose to do good in your life will have a greater effect somewhere else. So everything you do… no matter how small or insignificant it may seem… will have an effect.

Take a look at your intentions. Are you doing everything that you can? Do you have a list of “to dos" that are slipping by you undone? Have you been meaning to donate your time to a cause but just haven’t done it? Consider your reasons for procrastinating and begin to understand why.

Just begin to move yourself. Now. And know that your sense of purpose, your wings, can make a huge difference in this world.

Motivation
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