No, this is not an article about Viagra or some other form of enhancing the physical anatomy. Looking at commercials and spam that have been directed my way, I have wondered what the human preoccupation with bigger this or bigger that is all about. It seems that the human anatomy has certain parts that we think should be bigger, while all the while we trying to reduce the size of other parts. Maybe, the original concept is fine -- we need to focus on expanding certain parts of our being, but the focus has been shifted to the wrong places.
What would be good for us to expand? Our caring heart would be a great place to start. We can start caring more about people around us and about the planet in general. Yes, of course we care, but we do so in a general and impersonal way. Sure it's easy for me to say I care about the ozone layer, but if I'm still using products and equipment that contribute to damaging it, then how much do I really care? Yes, I can say I care about the homeless and the poor, but if I still throw out things that would be better given away, then how much do I really care? Is my caring just in words, just in image, just in "saying the right thing", or does my caring translate itself into concrete actions?
Another thing for us to expand is our perception of the world around us. All of us live in our very own small world, our own reality, so to speak. However, with the advent of the internet and the communication barriers it had demolished, that small world we live in is no longer a reality. We can chat with people on the other side of the planet simply by sitting down at our computer (or the computer at the public library if we don't have an internet connection at home). Loving our neighbor, for those of us who were raised with that philosophy, no longer means just the Joneses next door, or the family that goes to the same church as us, it means every single human being on the planet, and the animals as well.
Everyone on the planet is our neighbor. Everyone is in the same boat as us. We are all living on this revolving blue and green ball that is going around the sun and we are all affected by what happens on this blue-green sphere. Our little world has lost its walls and now includes the whole planet. We no longer are immune to the problems in the Middle East and in other war-torn countries; we no longer are safe in our "American Way" of life; we no longer are protected by the anonymity afforded by the oceans between us and "them".
I remember growing up to reminders that I had to eat all of the food on my plate because the poor children in China (or elsewhere) were going to bed starving. Yet, I felt completely disassociated with that... after all, how could my eating my whole plate of vegetables help them in any way? Of course, it did instill a good portion of guilt in me, but it did not really make a difference to any starving child anywhere. Again, the "talk" was right, but the actions were missing.
So now that our world has expanded from little to big, what do we do about it? Some of us want to storm out there and change the world by force if necessary, while others of us say "what's the use" and do nothing.
Somewhere in the middle of those two extremes lies the path that can make a difference. That is the path of small actions, which when added up to other small actions, make a big difference.
Years ago, someone started doing "random acts of kindness" and it became a whole movement. One person doing a good deed, a small thing, added up to a whole bunch of people making a difference.
While you and I may not be the next Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr., we do have a voice and our actions do count, as do our words and thoughts. We can make a difference in the world by starting with our attitude towards others. If we spread joy and goodwill, we are planting the seeds for the same in others. If we go around in a negative mood and spreading that toxic energy, then we are also planting those seeds in others.
We also can remember that the world is our garden, and as has been said, it takes a village to raise a child. We can start by caring what happens around us, and speaking up when we see or hear things that are not for the highest good. As a nation of TV watchers, we may have become pacifists only in the sense of being "watchers" and not "doers". We see injustice, we see imbalance, we see things that could be improved, yet we sit and watch it and sometimes discuss it, in the same way we watch and discuss a TV movie or program.
We need to remember that while we may only be one voice, one person, when we stand up for what we feel is right, then we are also "giving permission" to others to do the same. Just think about it! It's always easier to do something new and risky if someone else is there doing it too. We can be the person who is willing to go first -- to be the first one to do something in a different way, to respond differently to a situation, to say "this needs to change".
The world we live in has changed a lot since the days of our parents. And we have changed as well -- we have become adults. It is no longer up to our parents to make choices and decisions for us. It is not up to the advertising corporations, the media, the politicians, the mega-corporations to decide how we are to live our lives, and what kind of world our children will be living in. It is up to us.
We need to reclaim our power as individuals to say "yes" or "no" whenever we want. We need to reclaim our right to make a difference in our community and in our world. We need to look around us and say: "What can I do to make my world a better place? What can I do to be more loving, more joyful, and more supportive of the world I live in?"
Yes, let's go from little to big... but let's do it with the things that count. Not the size of your lips or your breasts, but the size of the generosity and kindness and vision of your heart and actions. The things you do don't have to be big. they don't have to be earth shattering. They simply have to be whatever you feel guided to do, whatever pops into your mind as to what you could do to make your world a better place.
It could be a simple as picking up the litter along the road, or organizing a group of friends or an organization to do so. It could be as simple as helping an older person by picking up their mail or bring them a meal, or joining an organization that does that. It could be as simple as finding out what is happening on the city council, or in your local government by showing up at meetings and voicing your opinion, or it could be really getting involved by running for office or actively supporting someone who is.
There are many things we all can do to make our world a better place. It can be saying something nice to the people you come in contact with (instead of ignoring them), it can include picking up a piece of litter (instead of complaining at all the rubbish out on the street), it can consist of making a phone call to someone in need, it can also be writing to your political representative expressing your support or discontent for a particular action or position -- the choices go on and on. The choices are numerous and you are the one that can make the difference, right here and right now.
We can make a difference simply by choosing to do so. We can start our day by saying: "I choose to make a difference today" and see where that attitude takes us.
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.
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