Do you know the power you have within yourself?
Are you even remotely aware of just HOW INFINITE a spirit is contained within your body?
I feel a bit nervous writing this post as I’m not sure how it will be received and it may be considered “controversial.” I invite you to stay with me until the end of it and draw your own conclusion. I promise I am trying to make a point.
I was planning to cancel my HBO subscription after this coming Sunday’s last ever episode of “Game of Thrones.” I decided to scroll through and see if there was anything else I wanted to watch before canceling this service. I stumbled upon the HBO documentary, “At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymanstics Scandal,” about Dr. Larry Nassar and the over two decades of sexual abuse he inflicted upon hundreds, more likely thousands, of young girls. It was a fascinating, bone-chilling, disheartening, MADDENING, and inspiring film. I knew bits and pieces of the story from random news reports, but it was nice to sit and hear the whole story through the eyes of the SURVIVORS (not the victims). I could not recommend this documentary more highly for everyone to watch.
ALL of the survivors were brave for voicing themselves and sharing their story with courage and fierce vulnerability. That being said, it got my mind thinking about the power of ONE. Yes, we are stronger together. Yes, “if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” Yes, all the survivors demonstrated immense strength in sharing their story. But/and I think there is a lot to be said for the first voice who spoke up and initiated the chain of events that FINALLY served justice to Nassar. Her ONE voice enabled everyone after her to also share their story. And the woman after her, her ONE voice inspired the next woman. And so it continues. ONE person fully expressing herself empowered other people to fully express themselves.
When I sit down to TRULY reflect and understand, it absolutely boggles my mind how much POWER one person, one thing, one experience can hold.
Nassar was ONE person. He made a HUGE influence on the world. Albeit an atrocious, inconceivable, and horrendous one, but look how big of a (NEGATIVE!!!) impact he made. Hitler was ONE person who made a HUGE impact. His was also absolutely horrifying. It takes ONE wildfire to demolish a huge area and affect countless families. It takes eating ONE bad meal to send both ends of your GI tract into chaos. It takes ONE cancer cell’s proliferation to cause wide-spread disease. It takes ONE mosquito to wreak havoc on my body. It takes ONE second of fiddling with your phone instead of paying attention to the road to cause an accident. Losing ONE hour of sleep in the spring throws everyone off balance for that whole week.
The depth and breadth of an impact can be big or small, positive or negative.
Gaining ONE hour of sleep in the fall gets everyone so excited. It takes ONE sperm and ONE egg to make an entire human life. It takes ONE pine cone to create a giant redwood that will stand tall for generations to come. It takes ONE adjustment when departing JFK to arrive at SFO or LAX. It takes ONE friend seeing/hearing/understanding you at the right time to help you feel like you’re not alone and you’re not crazy. It takes ONE trip to help shift things you’ve been working on and struggling with for months/years. You can go on a bunch of dates, but it only takes meeting ONE person to know you’ve found your life partner (this is what I’m trying to trust in, anyway!). It takes ONE story/article/book to inspire others to finally write their story. It takes ONE pro athlete to start a lifelong love affair with basketball for a generation of little kids. It takes ONE PR (personal record) in lifting to motivate someone to keep training and making progress. It takes ONE musician writing ONE song that will play as the backdrop of meaningful memories for many lives.
It takes just ONE person shining his/her light to inspire others to shine theirs.
I love this concept and image of decisive moments from James Clear’s “Atomic Habits.” He is one of my favorite authors and bloggers. Choosing ONE fork in the road can open and close several other doors. This concept of “the power of one” can make admittedly make me feel terrified or pressured to always make the “right” move and meet the “right” person in order to get the “right” result, or else all is lost. Lately, though, I have been focusing on actively, mindfully reframing it to let this concept inspire me instead. You have a choice, every step of the way. You can impact your future, every moment. You can empower yourself, AND OTHERS, every time you unleash more and more of your authentic self. One of my FAVORITE parts about life is that I get to make a move, assess it, and then go from there. Thankfully most of the decisions I make aren’t deathly significant. I get to course correct along the way. I get to adjust and fine-tune and expand how I express myself. I get to go one step at a time, and I thoroughly enjoy that process.
You don’t need to create a big sexual abuse situation, cure cancer, or save the entire world to make an impact. Yes you can have an overarching life purpose and pursue it with all your might, but making small, sustainable changes in your personal life is also an impact. Not honking your horn at the driver who just cut you off is an impact. Smiling at your stressed out store clerk is an impact. Calling your parents is an impact. Choosing to go for a hike instead of binge watching your 3rd hour of television is an impact. Passing on a meaningful book is an impact. Supporting a local artist and buying her song is an impact.
I’m right there with you – struggling, laughing, playing, and figuring it the heck out as I go. But even in, and especially with, our struggles – that’s the juice of life! That’s where the meaning lies. That’s what makes things worthwhile. What impact can you make today? On yourself, with your family/friends/acquaintances, on your smaller scale community, on your global scale world?