I am halfway down the stairs as the doors close.
I don’t bother to run. It’s rush hour. There will be another train in a few minutes.
The doors close and I expect the train to move out. But it stays in place. Its engines humming.
I look at the driver through the windows at the front of the train. She smiles at me as we do every morning if I am standing on the platform when the train arrives.
I realize the driver is holding the train for me. I run down the stairs, smile at her through the glass window and mouth ‘Thank you!’ She opens the front set of doors, just for me.
An act of small significance that I carry with me throughout my day.
Later that day, I have to go to the United Way offices to videotape my speech. I am a United Way Impact Speaker and throughout the Campaign season, I talk to groups about giving and supporting the United Way and its agencies. This year, they’ve asked the Impact Speakers to videotape their talks so they can use them for training, and those instances where there’s no speaker available for a meeting.
I use the C-train incident as an example of how small things can make a difference. It’s the best way I can think of to share the impact of how that small act has rippled out into my day – share it with others.
We all have the capacity to share small acts of significance throughout our day.
Holding a door for someone. Smiling at a stranger. Buying a coffee for the next person in line at the drive-through. Picking up a piece of garbage on the sidewalk and throwing it out. Offering to do a chore at home, even when it’s not yours to do because your child or partner is swamped at school or work. Leaving a love note in your child’s lunch for them to find as a surprise, or under your partner’s pillow for them to sleep on all night. Calling someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time just to say hello. Telling a police officer or a teller at the bank, or the cashier at the grocery store how much you appreciate their service…
These are small things that make a difference.
And there are others.
…Not swearing at that driver or honking your horn because they cut you off and instead, letting them in with grace and a whispered, “Bless you. Forgive me.” (I always add the ‘Forgive me’ part because, even if just for a moment, my mind tends to first leap to criticize, condemn and complain about them, even when I don’t want it to!)
…Not spreading the latest gossip you heard about a co-worker’s abysmal performance at a task and instead choosing to offer them support, ask how they’re doing, finding out about what’s going on for them. And when others leap into the fray of condemnation, inviting them to move to compassion, understanding, support.
…Not jumping to conclusions and telling everyone who will listen about the stupid decisions management made because you find out you didn’t get the project you were looking for, or the raise, or the job, or office or anything else that in your opinion is wrong, stupid, ill-formed… — and instead, choosing to support the organization rather than tear it down.
…Not joining ‘The League of Let’s Complain’ and instead, inviting the League to shift their perceptions, step back and see the situation through different glasses, or simply not join in the conversation.
We all have the capacity to make small significances that will ripple throughout our day creating waves of harmony all around us.
Sitting in condemnation of others simply puts us in that precarious place of judgment where, one wrong move could teeter us off our pedestal into the seas of ‘It could have been me. Wait! It is me’.
When we send anger, disgust, complaints and criticisms out into our world, we are creating ripples that reflect the negative spaces we’ve created.
Yes. There is much in this world that is not going right, that dismays me, that causes my heart to ache.
Sitting in condemnation. Arguing the limitations of nothing’s going to change, changes nothing.
Speaking up for possibility. Holding space for miracles. Seeing grace in every moment changes how I see the world, and in its ripple, creates the possibility for others to see the world differently too. And when we all see the world through eyes of possibility, when we all see each other through eyes of compassion, when we all hold space for miracles to happen, miracles happen.
For today, choose to not criticize, condemn and complain.
For today, ask yourself, “What’s my ripple?” and consciously choose to send out ripples of possibility that create a sea of change all around.
Let the change in your perspective begin with you. Be a ripple of Hope. Compassion and Possibility.