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The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect

What is the Butterfly Effect? And why do we care? How does it relate to our making a difference? Here’s a brief description of the Butterfly Effect from an article entitled “Everything You Do Matters.”

"Scientists scoffed at meteorologist Edwin Lorenz’s Butterfly Effect theory. His doctoral thesis stated that a butterfly flapping its wings on one end of the world would move molecular air that would then move other molecules of air and so on. This effect could then eventually cause a hurricane on the other side of the planet. Crazy as it sounds, this theory holds true as physics professors in the mid-90’s proved it was accurate and viable."

This short video by Rabbi Brian (Religion Outside the Box) will give you a very personal connection to the Butterfly Effect. It has had a great positive effect on my life. If I think of myself as a butterfly and that my inner thoughts or spoken words are like waves created by the flapping of my mental wings, then I am really careful and thoughtful about what goes on in my mind and what comes out of my mouth. Rabbi Brian gave me a good wake-up call to complain less, be more patient, and to love more. See if it doesn’t affect you in a positive way.

Everything we do matters. Everything we do makes a difference. Think about this idea. Do you believe it? Many of us feel we are just one small person. We’re not a Martin Luther King, Jr. or a Gandhi, and can’t possibly make a difference to solve the great problems we face. But consider that it’s likely that one person has said something to you or given you something that has changed your life. One person might have written a book that turned your life around. You've probably changed somebody’s life and you don’t even know it. You helped someone across the street; you smiled at someone who was having a bad day; you let a car into your lane. Little stuff, little kindnesses that made a difference especially when you consider the Butterfly Effect.

Martin Rutte, founder of Project Heaven on Earth, puts it this way:
“Many times when I speak to people about creating Heaven on Earth they say, But what can I do? I can’t impact the HUGE problems in the world. I’m just one person.

“At the heart of what they’re asking is the belief I can’t make a difference.

“If the vast majority of humanity (about 7.7 billion people) believe I can’t make a difference” then I can’t make a difference becomes a dominant thought form in our world. “

Rutte calls this a mis-belief. A mis-perception.

If we flip that thought, that belief, to I can make a difference, and imagine millions of us butterflies acting on that belief, theres no telling how quickly good change would happen to create Heaven on Earth (meaning ending poverty. injustice of all kinds, environmental degradation, for example).

What do you believe?
Our beliefs, our thoughts, are critical to how our personal and our community lives unfold. So let me ask you some questions about what you believe, questions I ask of myself as well.

Do you believe that we can have a world that is sustainable that works for all living beings including the Earth?

Do you believe in the core goodness, kindness and generosity of human nature or do you believe that we are intrinsically selfish, greedy and mean-spirited?

Do you believe we can have a world based on mutual respect and caring?

Do you believe you can and do make a difference?

Do you believe in possibilities?

Speaking for myself I answer Yes to all the above questions. How about you?

Do I often feel sad, heartsick, scared, anxious, disgusted, shocked, outraged, worried? Yes.

Do I believe just causes will always succeed? No. (But a lot of them do.) Do I believe it will be easy? No. Do I want to give up on or shut out people who are hateful, mean, unkind, uncivil, uncooperative, unmindful, unaware, violent, untruthful, and in denial? No. (At least I try not to.) Do I want to give up the fight for what is good and beautiful and true and just and right? No. How about you?

Calling all butterflies.

Related Reading
My November Newsletter


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