It was a rough week at work and I was glad to arrive home on Friday night. I felt both drained and uplifted from everything that had happened to me throughout the week. As I sat in my living room, decompressing from the day, I noticed my landlady walking around in the yard with her dogs. She and her husband own a large property with two houses. I am renting the smaller house. The yard is fenced in on three sides so the dogs can roam freely without getting near the busy road. I let my dogs out so they could play and went out to say hello. She excitedly told me that she was tracking some moose prints in the yard. We walked over to the walkway in front of her house and she showed me where the moose had been. I admitted to her that I wouldn’t have even noticed the prints; they were vague indentations in the firm mud that could’ve been anything or nothing in my eyes. She continued to walk around the yard and pointed out more places that the moose had been. I imagined this large creature walking through the yard in the quiet early morning hours. My landlady explained to me that the moose could’ve easily become confused and trapped by the fence and done some damage by trying to get out, but he managed to find his way back out to the area where the yard was open to the woods. While we now know the visitor had been there, it left only a small and barely noticeable impact on the yard. It was the second time this week I thought about how each of us on the planet has an impact in some way.
One of the things I teach in my dementia training classes is the importance of always trying to leave each person with a positive feeling. It is something I strive for each day at work. Too often, we interact with others and give little or no thought to the impact we will have on them. We go through our days trapped in the world of our minds and emotions, paying only to ourselves and our needs. I learned that the hard way this weekend when I found out that the result of my actions had left someone feeling let down and hurt. Seeing the impact of my choice on this other person has changed how I will handle any future similar situation. It is important for us to learn from our experiences and bring that learning forward into our future. Many of us think a lot about our impact on the environment. We are careful to recycle and conserve resources, but how often do we think about our impact on others? How can we begin to train ourselves to think about the consequences of our actions on those with whom we connect?
The following is a story I stumbled upon while doing some research for this article. It is from the website makeadifference.com. I watched the video this morning and cried through the entire story. It is a true story that shows how we can impact the lives of those whose paths cross our own. What struck me in this story is when the teacher came to the realization that she had the power to change her impact on the life of Teddy Stallard and the lives of her other students. Her impact on him changed his world forever. Be sure to have some tissues handy when you watch this. http://www.makeadifferencemovie.com/
Take some time this week to think about how you can have a positive impact on someone’s life. It could be something like apologizing for something you did or offering to help someone with something or by saying a kind word. Perhaps a random act of kindness could be performed to let someone know that you are thinking about them. While all these actions may seem small individually, they add up over time. In the end, the impact you will have will be great for others and greater for you.
Yours in transformation,