“No man is an island…He’s a peninsula.” ~ Jefferson Airplane
It’s impossible not to marvel at the resilience of the human spirit in times of crises — from the impact of 9/11 and the devastation of the Gulf Coast by Katrina and the BP oil spill, from the Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tuscon and Aurora shootings, from the tornadoes in Tuscaloosa and Joplin, to the greatest depression since the Great Depression.
We’re still digging out from that last one. As far as I know, no one has totaled the collective loss — millions of dollars erased from people’s savings, investments and home equity, millions of jobs lost — all for what? Greed? And how many souls were lost in the process, people who found it too hard to swim against the undertow? Did the moneychangers just view those bodies as collateral damage?
In 1623, John Donne wrote, “No man is an island…,” a sentiment reminding us that when one of us is lost, we all suffer. That’s because we are all connected. Six degrees of separation.
Those of us who live in small villages and on farms are reminded every day how much we rely upon others to survive. That’s sometimes easy to forget in a metropolis filled with so many people. One can feel isolated and small, just one person among millions of others, and what difference does one person really make, anyway?
You make a great difference, whether you live in Minneapolis or Echo, Minnesota. Each of us yields a sphere of influence that extends far beyond what we can imagine. A single sentence you post on your Facebook page could have a lasting effect for one of your friends. The example you set by the way you live your life is understood by all who know you. The prayer you say for those who have lost their way may inspire someone to find the light.
Comedian Bill Maher likes to make fun of people who believe in things they cannot see — like God, like the power of prayer. But it’s what we cannot see that makes all of the difference.
Like love. Like intention. Like your inner desire to make a difference. Like the healing energy that comes from a needed hug.
The things we cannot see will make it possible for all of us to reinvent the way we do things so greed does not kill so many people, so pollution does not kill so many people.
Our individual challenge — now — is to transmute fear into love and channel our soul’s intention into our waking reality. It’s why we are alive.