Evoking Change through Uplifting Action

December 16th, 2008 by John Wolfe

As is customary for me, when PBS goes into pledge drive mode, my TV spends more time on than it does off. During these pledge drives, you’ll find public television airing more personal development and spiritually based programming. Several days ago, they featured a self-help seminar, titled: The Traveler’s Gift, by Andy Andrews. I first became aware of Andy through his book, Storms of Perfection, in which he shared the personal success stories (which stemmed from the repeated “failures” and persistent drive) of many well known celebrities, athletes and business people.

The point of Andy’s PBS special was to reinforce the idea that each and every one of our actions, no matter how trivial they seem, create an impact; not only in our life but in the lives of so many others – even to the point of reaching future generations.

As Andy stated, “There are generations yet unborn, whose existence depends on the choices you make and the action you take. Because everything you do matters – every move you make, every action you take; not just for you; not just for your family or hometown – everything you do matters for all of us, forever.”

After shutting off the television, I began feeling for how Andy’s words resonated with me and how I’m applying them in my own life:

When we take any action, it not only has a direct impact on that which we are acting upon, but it also has an impact upon unknown or unseen (to us) variables, far removed from our immediate vicinity. For example, let’s take a look at a small derogatory action, such as someone throwing the finger to a fellow driver in traffic.

We assume a gesture such as that only has a direct, relevant impact in that very short moment in time. Rarely do we contemplate the kind of negative momentum that action may create in the life of the recipient, and in the lives of each individual the recipient comes into contact with after that moment, and in turn, each person those people come into contact with. Such a simple gesture can affect the mood and mindset of an individual in a manner far greater than we realize and that mood and mindset will determine their follow-up actions towards others. During the course of a single event, our activities have the potential to impact anywhere from a handful of people to thousands or even millions.

Every one of our actions and deeds creates a ripple effect throughout humanity and the Universe itself, sometimes enacting small outcomes, and at other times enacting greater ones, but the point is they all create an impact and they all count. When we take that into consideration, it becomes more important to consistently perform more conscious acts.

It may seem silly to think something as insignificant as gesturing with our middle finger can change the course of events for a multitude of individuals, but that (in a way) is exactly what it does. You see, the web of existence is so interconnected and intertwined that there is not one single action or deed which can escape causing an impact in our lives and in the lives of so many others. Everything was designed that way for a very good reason: to show us just how our choices can either benefit us greatly as we recognize and promote our unity, or else how they can harm us immensely as we react from a fear based belief in separation.

So, we have to ask ourselves, are the majority of our actions spurring on something positive in others or are they eliciting the opposite response? Of course, we each have to take responsibility for our deeds. Just because we perform a rude gesture doesn’t grant the recipient of that gesture cart blanche for treating anyone they encounter badly. But, it does need to make us more conscientious of our own behavior, whether we are the recipient or the giver. And, once we understand this principle and how far reaching it can be, we owe it to ourselves and others to be more conscientious. Another beautiful thing about embracing this knowledge is the fact we naturally become less reactive (more on this later) when we are on the receiving end of a rude gesture or unkind act.

Coming to the understanding of this concept was not difficult for me, but actually knowing it in my core has taken a while longer; not because I didn’t care about what I did to others, but, because I spent many years not caring about myself. I used to suffer from extremely low self-esteem. As a child, it was so bad; I heavily identified with the character Little Jackie Paper from “Puff the Magic Dragon.”

That may sound sort of humorous, but in essence, I felt paper thin and ineffective, so I assumed my actions and deeds counted for very little and had almost no impact on anyone else. This assumption was derived from my own internal views and judgments about my worth. Since I didn’t care about myself, how could I assume someone so “unimportant” could ever impact others (who I believed to be more alive and consequential)?

Developing an understanding, regarding the impact and brevity of the actions we take, is a natural byproduct of learning to love and respect ourselves and appreciate who we are. Our actions can only be as beneficial or as detrimental as the beliefs we retain in our internal landscape. As we strive to experience more internal growth, through self-love, forgiveness and understanding, we will naturally feel the desire to primarily perform positive external acts and deeds; not because it’s “right” or in abidance with social or religious law, but because it feels natural. In fact, it will become second nature to us, without trying to force it or even having to think about it because it will be a reflection of who we are internally.

Taking positive, impactful action is not about being a people pleaser or doing it for attention. Performing “good” deeds to please others or to show off and garner praise also stems from an inner place of doubting our own value. Performing uplifting, life affirming action should come from a place of truly wanting to make a difference and help others, while simultaneously respecting yourself.

One of my favorite lines from the book, Way of the Peaceful Warrior states: “A [peaceful] warrior acts, only a fool reacts.” The same can be said of creating positive action. If we are already in the internal place of peace and love, then we will act without being prompted (from social pressure) into doing so. People pleasing and performing good deeds for attention are not conscious action; they’re an unconscious reaction propelled by the fear of not fitting in or not feeling worthy of the attention we hope to gain from those we are trying to please. The same can be said of performing a negative or vengeful, detrimental deed – it’s not an action, but a reaction from a very fearful place.

As I speak of making a positive impact, I’m not necessarily referring to huge gestures. They can be extremely small, yet extremely effective. Just as something as seemingly miniscule as throwing the finger can negatively impact others in a big way; a smile, wave, pat on the back or a kind, sincere word can have a pronounced, beneficial impact on the life of the recipient and the lives of those he or she comes into contact with. Imagine the sort of change we would see if each of us received and passed on that type of interaction, with everyone on a daily basis.

Most people think it’s ridiculous to assume each one of us can actually change the world through caring, uplifting gestures (both big and small). I’ll say this: it takes just as much (if not less) physical effort to generate a beneficial act as it does to carry out an action full of anger or hate. The amount of effort required is not what’s preventing us from completely shifting the current world paradigm at the grand scale. Nor is the change slow in coming because we are pinned down by a lack of sufficient supplies.

Everything we need to accomplish this goal already exists in abundant quantity (be it material items or our own kind words). The woman/man power is there. The resources are there. The infrastructures are there. What’s missing is the internal decision (on the part of each person) to move toward that which is represented by love, peace and an uplifting spirit. If we choose to not be internally responsible for how we feel about ourselves and others – as it’s represented by the actions we take – we will never see beneficial change in our own lives or in the planet at large. It all starts from within.

The size of the gesture is a relative thing. If we each do what we can (and then just a little bit more) from where we are, the rest will take care of itself. That’s the beauty in this interconnected web of existence.

Andy Andrews is absolutely right – “…everything you do matters – every move you make, every action you take; not just for you; not just for your family or hometown – everything you do matters for all of us, forever.”

Posts Related to Uplifting Action

Forgiving our Past: Key to Unlocking a Joyful Present
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The Magic of Giving
8 Tips for Achieving a More Secure Peaceful State of Mind

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10 Responses to “Evoking Change through Uplifting Action”

  1. Adam Says:

    John, thank you once again for sharing your insights with us. Your words resonated in me and aligned with an incredible book I am reading at the moment (that stayed unread on my bookshelf for nearly 10 years!): Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’. Thank you as always. Adam

  2. ShadeLaw Says:

    What wonderful work you do Love. :) I found you work on Stumble Upon with my Friend Kathmandau. Just had to write and tell you. :)

  3. John Wolfe Says:

    Adam,

    Great to hear from you again! I’ve heard much about “The Alchemist” but have never read it. Have a great week and please keep in touch.

    ShadeLaw,

    Thank you so much for your kind words and for stopping by!

  4. Goldie Says:

    John, this is an excellent posting at a wonderful moment in time. America is sinking fast into a pit of darkness for many and with so much on their mind and pressing down on their bank accounts, many of the items you mention in this posting are not only never thought of, but, perhaps excluded all together. I find your intro photo for this blog entry MOST appropriate on more than one level, be it a friend to friend helping each other out and or up, or also stranger to stranger and all of us doing the best we can to help each other out and also up. I especially like the ball of bright gold light behind the climbers head. There is much more to that photo than a photo if one looks deep enough. Well chosen Dear Friend.

    Throughout my lifetime of driving, I have often encountered the “flip off” symbol from men drivers mostly who are unhappy that a female driver can bust a move when need be. I’m never rude about it and always make the appropriate signal but then I MAKE MY MOVE. I’m not the type to “wait” for someone to let me in. You can’t do that where I live, you have to make room for yourself. Anyways, I’ve been flipped a few times and this gesture never bothered me, rather it would amuse me but I have a tendency of turning things around like that. After 2003, whenever that happened I would give them a gesture back….I would blow them a kiss and tell them I love them ;-) LoL, they never knew what hit them and they weren’t to sure how to respond to that act of loving kindness. To this day I still do that but the finger gesture hasn’t happened in a while and if it does, I’ll continue to blow them a sweet kiss through my window ;-) Again, this also comes back to what you were sharing with us, internal decision is indeed a large factor in today’s society structure many are now understanding or trying to comprehend these very concepts you write about John.

    Your right on the mark about the real meaning of giving, which is also why I don’t get to wrapped up in Christmas. People are gift giving because they feel they HAVE to gift give and it’s more of a pain in the butt for them to do so. Therefore the true and real reason for “gift giving” is totally lost. I feel Christmas is all about commercialism anyhow since we all know by know that Jesus was never born on 12/25 3,000 years ago. Long story there. I used to have my own business and I would do all sort of end and odd jobs for free. My clients always insisted I accept their tip for my work but I would not do so. The work that I was doing for them, I “wanted” to do for them out of the goodness of my heart. I knew that by giving and not expecting anything in return, that our Universe had my back. My reward was seeing their warm smile, or their outright surprise over my work, or how much simpler their lifestyle would be due to something I was inspired to do for them. That was priceless to me and that IS what I worked for. By giving to someone or something in expectation of receiving something back, the true meaning of giving is completely ignored. People pleasing and performing good deeds FOR praise or FOR a price is truly not honoring the real meaning of generosity of spirit, for in doing so, something again is being expected, as if there was a CLAUSE for “giving.” Such an action only stands to hurt both people in the process. This is seemingly such a simple concept and yet one of the hardest ones for humanity to understand.

    I love your words “interconnected web of existence” for how true this is. Many people have heard the saying, “we are all one” but they still don’t seem to understand just how deeply that is meant and on what level on a Grand Universal scale. We all effect each other, our energy is effecting other energy, we are effecting Earth, the Universe, consciousness, human and soul evolution. I often get overwhelmed with some of my research when I come upon such negative information of happenings and control of our world and wonder how it is that we can HEAL all of this. However, for me personally, I keep in mind to not get overwhelmed by all of the varying degrees of energy vibration and maintain my vibrational rate, visualize and meditate on love for all of Earth and stay in that field of loving consciousness, knowing that I am playing a huge role in the energy web of existence. We all have very particular talents, skills and abilities which is why we are still incarnated on Earth right now.

    It’s up to us individually to find what that means to us yet being an active part of the whole and set an example for all, such as your inspiring and love filled website you’ve created. Your helping and aiding in the advancement of humanity, of our soul development for humans all over the globe John and I for one am extremely grateful for the Universe Gift of YOU, John Wolfe. Thank you, thank you, thank you Dear Great Friend.

    Many Blessings Forever, Goldie~*~

  5. Goldie Says:

    Dearest John:

    Thank You for Being You
    Thank you for the gift of you and your kindness
    Thank you for being the person you are:
    compassionate and thoughtful,
    sensitive and considerate,
    a generous and thoughtful giver.
    You are unselfish always,
    putting others before yourself,
    making me/us feel special and important.
    Thank you so much for all you do;
    You are truly a delight;
    You are a person
    who makes life easier and better
    Your continual acts of thoughtfulness
    and kindness brighten each day.
    What you did for me today
    will glow in my memory forever,
    reviving pleasant feelings
    every time I think about it.
    I appreciate you,
    and I give great thanks for YOU
    It is my highest privilege and a pleasure to know you.

    Thank You John, in the Largest Ways~*~

  6. John Wolfe Says:

    Goldie,

    Wow. Thank you so much! That was beautiful and very kind of you to leave that message. I really appreciate it. Honestly, it is all my pleasure to help in any way I can.

    You bring up a great point in your first comment regarding giving without any expectation for something in return. As I give, it has become such a natural way of being. I don’t expect anything for what I provide, yet I always know that I will be taken care of and cared for by the very interconnected web of existence I mentioned. I believe and have found it to be true – the more we serve others (from a loving place) and give them something which provides value and an increase in their lives, the more we thrive (on all levels) in our own life. That’s the real “Secret.” ;)

  7. CelebraZine 29Dec08 « Into the Mist Says:

    [...] Wolfe presents Evoking Change through Uplifting Action at The Wind of [...]

  8. CG Walters Says:

    Great work, John. I just had to feature this work in the latest CelebraZine!!
    continued blessings and inspiration, my friend,
    CG

  9. John Wolfe Says:

    Thank you, CG. I appreciate you featuring it in your awesome blog carnival.

  10. Carnival of Positive Thinking Says:

    [...] Wolfe presents Evoking Change through Uplifting Action posted at Wind of the Soul, saying, “Taking positive, impactful action is not about being a [...]