The Ripple Effect

Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.

-Mother Teresa-

I thought about how I would be remembered when I pass from this life. How my family would remember me, and how my friends would remember me.

I was watching a podcast on actor Andrew McCarthy, as he was discussing his new book “The Longest Way Home- One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down”. He spoke about his personality, and how he came to be a writer. Intrigued I purchased and read the book. He talked about his travels and how he seems to feel more comfortable in his skin the farther he is away from his home. He said that when he travels, the destination is really not about where he is going, but rather traveling allows him to simultaneously find a destination within himself that is brought out from the traveling. It is not so much where the destination is, but rather what the destination does to him inside that counts. I was surprised to find that after listening to him, we seem to share similar approaches in dealing with the world. He was speaking about some of the issues with intimacy he has struggled with in his life. A quest I have sought in the time of my continuance on this earth.

I think that at times the further I was out of my comfort zone in life, the more I was able to allow an uninhibited experience and project a truer form of my self, without the subterfuge the ego often interposes. The meanings that we come to understand this world; however beautiful and lovely, or however cruel and unkind the world may be is ultimately a decision that is up to us. Long ago I came to conclude and deduce that on some levels we are ultimately alone in the universe, and that it is up to our own reckoning of our experience on how we should act and live our lives. To some degree I still believe this, but as I age and the more I study, I see other degrees of understanding that just might complicate this premise. Of course it all depends on the information you immerse yourself in, but I will usually derive the foundation of my education in a “common sense” basis, ergo using pragmatic approaches to the world as cited by the likes of John Dewey, or Confucius. Ruefully others who approach the world without any intelligence and understanding using the aforementioned premise: are destined to shape attitudes from others around them unleashing their unapologetic and narcissistic egos on the world.

Sadly yet understandably many of us become cynical, embittered, and even hostile to the ignorance and aggressive acts that others impose upon us who happen to share our collective environment. The manifestations of our behavior may touch many people that we truly do not fully appreciate the length and breadth of this reach. We cannot of course be accountable for every nuance of our behavior that impacts others due to the interpretation and judgments of others sensibilities, but the principle of the premise argued here supports that we should be held accountable for our behavior in the world. Those that do not comprehend the scale of this notion are unaware, thoughtless, or in worst case scenarios: apathetic, and care nothing about their impact on others. I fear that these individuals have truly lost their way, and as Leo Buscaglia postulates the opposite of love is apathy and not hate as many may believe. Lacking any feeling about our way in the world, how we affect others, how we go about our business within our social provinces is probably the defining element that ails our society at large.

When Mother Teresa was asked if she needed help with money or fund-raising in a town she was visiting to see the opening of a shelter, she replied, no thanks, that there was nothing anyone could do for her since her cause was not about money, or publicity. When asked again if they could somehow do something to help, she replied….”If you really want to do something, wake up at 4am and go out on the streets and find someone living there that believes they are alone, and convince them they are not!”

I sometimes struggle to find an association with others that I greatly care about. I may have disappointment, or I have not understood them for either a lack of my comprehension, or for choices they have ultimately made without consideration of their loved ones. I too have shown an apathetic eye, (something I am not proud of), toward segments in the life I have known. I have tried to reconcile this to the best of my abilities by building better coping strategies, educating, and reinforcing my existing strengths. My combative blueprint for this disease of the soul provided me with an awareness that I have personally undertaken to qualm any exhibits within my behavior. The Me mentality seems to be a major contributor to the problem and once again sources back to the creation of ego.

I still find myself in dissension and often have issues with others that lack a citizenship our culture truly needs. My perceptions and observation usually give me a dose of cognitive dissonance when I leave my home and meet the world every day. I ask myself why do I let others impede my happiness? Why do I consider such circumstances, and why is my mind so prone to think about such pestiferous subjects? Am I arrogant in thinking that I do not take part in such behaviors that I find myself criticizing? I know I cannot expect the world to change its present course, but I can change my ability to cope with it. I can find the fortitude to compel myself to change my beliefs about those that I struggle to find peace with. I think I must have been disposed to finding such events by the way my mind works. It is a curse to me at times as I pontificate the matter at hand.

Finding my salvation lies within the power of my creation. I remember some years back as I progressed through higher levels of managerial positions; I took a battery of expensive psychological exams testing various attributes of my personality for my employer. Out of that experience I scored in the top 10 percentile of my company, and was told in my results evaluation that “I care for people!” Oddly I sometimes think this is a burden on me to this day, due to the amount of time I spend on how others feel, think, and rightly so since the current dominant mindset is to think only about one’s own best interests, or for that matter the company’s interests: the company’s should supersede the individuals. They may intend to do the right things, but often they politicize the handling of the communications to the employee’s, and the overall practice by the leadership through-out many companies do not show the values they subscribe.
The core values I have adopted contradict the thinking that we should infringe upon others, and I cannot find myself to render it with any credibility. I for one believe we have a moral obligation to one another. What those obligations are can be and are debated by many, but in my conviction, I have a long road ahead of me before I can find a resolution to this position.

How we are remembered is telling of how we led our lives, how we influenced and effected others, and how many people would miss us on our departure. I hope to be remembered in good light with my family and friends. I hope they do not remember me for my nutty verbalization about like dialogs, but more for that of the essence in my character. The ripples we create often cross great distances and have profound effects on those at times we least suspect. The ripples we create can and do have an impact on some of our closest unsuspecting family members, friends, and acquaintances. In the process of discovering my peeves to ignorance, I too send my ripples out to the world….One page at a time!

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