“Your actions have a ripple effect.” Slogan from the U. S. Department of Energy
When a neighbor gifted me a poster with these
words, I was immediately inspired to write this column;
one to begin the New Year.
I believe that life is a flow of energy. For every action, there is a reaction - a ripple effect.
During the past holiday season, the biblical adage, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” popped to mind. How can either one be better, since neither can happen without the other?
When you graciously receive, you are actually giving back to the person providing you the gift, and the giver in turn becomes the receiver; hence a flowing ripple effect of energy.
One without the other is a break in the flow
of energy that creates an unexpected, and more often than
not, a negative effect. It’s in this position we
frequently find ourselves.
There is an entire generation raised on tongue-in-cheek comedy sitcoms, where quick-wit and often sarcastic humor are used as social communication tools that perhaps unknowingly shape actions rippling out into our community.
Carrie Bradshaw and company walk down the street four-abreast, and pedestrians gleefully give way. Frazier never stops his ubiquitous dialogue to recognize the waitstaff. Elaine asks a simple question of the Soup Nazi, and he bellows out before a crowd, “No soup for you.”
Have you ever taken time to hold a door open for someone without receiving even a simple “thank you” in return?
How does this lack of common courtesy affect you? Have you ever given a compliment and the receiver doesn’t graciously accept? When your compliment is disregarded, don’t you feel discounted?
I musingly ponder...Isn’t life’s ripple both effect and affect?
These Downtowners are already aware of the instantaneous ripple from a simple thoughtful act. They feel themselves receiving it, passing it through them, and back out into the community.
Tina Victory’s (Diamond Terrace) boyfriend, Brian Graham (Diamond Terrace), unexpectedly surprised her while shopping by presenting her flowers. They weren’t just any flowers; these were her favorites: sunflowers. Her gleeful energy affected all she passed during their five-block
Bettianne Flanders (Entrada) once had a difficult time accepting a compliment. Now, compliments make her feel sensational. She believes accepting praise is a mark of respect, for both yourself
Joy Sunyata (Baltic Inn) understands receiving to be inherently intertwined in the moment of giving. When she gives the gift of her smile, the effect impacts the intended receiver, and the ripple is instantaneously
Soaking up the gift of receiving is powerful, not only for you, but for the one giving. It’s also a powerful way of quietly setting up positive encounters; who knows how that ripple might make its way back to you.
As I begin this New Year, I resolve to increase the ripple of energy by consciously giving attention to how my actions and words effect and affect others (and myself); moreover, to delight in the ripple back. - January 2007