As we end the year, and Thanksgiving approaches this is a good time for taking stock. Who has made a difference in your life? Have you been able to make a difference in someone else's life? And who are you to be making a difference in anyone's life?
Thanksgiving is such a great holiday. As a European, I wish it were internationally celebrated. Even in difficult times we still have much we can be thankful for, especially those we love and care for, and those who make our lives better in some way.
Looking over 2009, who are the people who have made a difference to you, and how have they done that?
I started making a list, and it is still growing. On my list are friends who helped me out when I was feeling stuck. People who have made me laugh when I was taking life too seriously. One person who gave me an opportunity, out of the blue, which has made a huge difference in my quality of life. Dental surgeons who have treated me with great care. Members of my local church who have made me feel welcome. The couple who have generously created and taken care of my website. My Australian neighbour, with whom I often share a cup of tea at the end of a working afternoon.
What is special about these people? Yes, they have given their talents, their insights, time, thoughtfulness. What makes the connection for me in my memory is the caring and warmth that came from them. This quality is harder to define in words.
Who are we? We are not islands "entire unto ourselves". We do thrive from being remembered and genuinely appreciated. It is through our acts of caring that we discover the love we share. We connect.
Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon.
Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted,
and human love will be seen at its height.
Live in fragments no longer. Only connect....
E M Forster
When you are introduced to someone new, you may ask about their role - what they do. For example: teacher, consultant, doctor, journalist, corporate executive or "retired". Then there is a family role - parent, child, brother/sister etc that defines you. But who you are goes beyond what you do in the worldly sense.
We are human BEings, not human DOings. Even those who are very accomplished in their lives tend to be remembered for their human qualities, how they related with people, how they loved, and were loved by, others.
I have no doubt that my Friends on Facebook and my Followers on Twitter are really lovely people. But do I "connect" with them such that they make a lasting and meaningful impression? Not really, up until now.
When I hug dear Trixie, 91 and now 11 months old, I remember that. Older people are not hugged as much as they might like. The warmth of her smile makes that simple act very rewarding.
Beauty is not in the face;
beauty is a light in the heart.
So who are we? This is something of a mystery to me. There are qualities I recognize such as beauty, courage, humour, joy, enthusiasm, vibrancy, vitality, warmth, audacity. Human spirit, divine essence, soul, infinite energy come close to defining the inner Being for me.
It is in these times, when we have most need of comfort and encouragement from each other, that we may come to know better our profound selves through our acts of caring, kindness and compassion. Through these memorable acts, we may connect more deeply, and awaken more fully, to the love that we each are, and that we share. This awakening of love will I believe be instrumental in transforming many of the disorders we witness and experience around us. I believe that we are all more powerful than we ever dare to consider.
When the power of love overcome the love of power,
the world will know peace.
Who we each are makes a difference It just takes having the eyes to see. How many of us walk around, not knowing that we make a difference to others, or how? How many of those who have contributed to your life know the difference they have made to you? This might be a good moment to enlighten them. A Thanksgiving moment. Let us now awaken more of the love that we are.
The least movement is of importance to all nature.
The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.
This video I found inspiring:
Who I Am Makes A Difference
Who is the person who has made the most difference to you this year? What does "connecting" mean to you? What are your favourite ways to connect with others? I would love to hear from you.