The Butterfly Effect

Butterfly EffectAs part of my application to attend the TEDx17thStreet conference at the Rubin Museum in New York November 3rd, I had to answer one of four questions…

I. If the success or failure of this planet, and of human beings, depended on how I am and what I do, how would I be? What would I do?

II. What is it you are trying to create in the world and how is your work helping to  manifest or support that?

III. What question are you living?

IV. Imagine you have created what you want — what does it mean to you? What are you letting it mean “about” you?

I combined two questions. Here was my response:

“I abide by The Butterfly Effect: Paraphrased, a butterfly flapping her wings on one side of the planet has an effect that will be experienced on the other side of the globe. (For a fun entry on the topic click here.)

As a Licensed Clinician, Certified Employee Assistance Professional, and Integrative Coach, the question I am living is: Who are you BEING while you are doing what you’re DOING? Individuals and organizations when asked to ponder this question can develop a greater capacity to accept responsibility for the impact they have not only on their immediate environment but also on the world. An enlightened consciousness contributes to the sustainability of animal, plant and humankind globally.

Integrity. Personal Responsibility. Accountability. Self-Love. Self-awareness. Transformation is what I aim to create through the work I do; through the question I am living – one butterfly at a time.

It was a process getting there.

After 9/11 we wanted to help. We stood on line at the Red Cross near Lincoln Center. We learned our blood wasn’t needed. We were asked to go home. I was one of the lucky ones because there was something constructive I could do. Magazine journalists and photographers covering Ground Zero became my beat. I took the elevator to high floors in tall buildings, where bomb threats and fears of anthrax permeated the halls. I was scared but wouldn’t show it. These journalists needed to talk about what they saw in a safe space amongst their peers – peers who would not turn away from them in horror. I knew how to do that.

I led them through a gentle group process that provided education and relief. Eventually, I was faced with my own secondary trauma when months later the work slowed down and people started to adjust to the “new normal.” I was freezing – inside and out. I left town to emotionally defrost in Miami, wrapping myself in a cocoon of sunshine and salt water. To recover. To breathe. To be quiet. During that healing process and in the years that followed, I deepened my capacity to touch and awaken; to be human and self-expressed. To be that butterfly who flaps her wings consciously, aware of my capacity and responsibility to influence positive outcomes, whether it’s with one butterfly or a field of butterflies. Look! There goes one now!”

What question would you pick, and what would your answer be?