The Butterfly Effect

***this may have a trigger effect on some of you and includes suicide as subject matter. 

There’s this really weird idea I like to think about every once in a while…because it fascinates me. 

It’s known as the Butterfly Effect. 

Basically the Butterfly Effect is a theory that every single action has an impact on every other action. 

Here is a simple and obvious one. 

Many of you know the Girls on the Run founding story. On July 6, 1993 I hit bottom. Struggling with addiction, I was contemplating suicide. I called my sister that evening and she listened, loved and walked me through to see that “this too shall pass.”

I hung up the phone and went to sleep.   

The next day, on July 7, 1993…I had an awakening (for lack of a better term) while out on a run that eventually led to the origins of Girls on the Run. 

The program has directly impacted close to 1.5 million girls and indirectly millions more. 

If we replay the series of events that lead up to September, 1996 when I started the program, there are so many teeny tiny actions, that had they not occurred the program would not be in existence and the millions of people impacted by it, would simply not be. 

Take for example…had my sister not been available to speak with me. 

Or that next day after contemplating suicide…there was a huge thunderstorm developing and I had considered NOT going for a run. I really though hard about just skipping it. 

But I ran anyway. That one decision changed everything. That teeny tiny decision to hit the road for a run brought about an experience that brought about Girls on the Run. What if during that run I had gone a different route or stopped at a stoplight a little longer than I had? Would the awakening experience have occurred just as it did?

Or meeting Dori Luke, a wonderful woman who helped build the infrastructure of the program, at an after school program fair. Before she knew me or the program, she walked over to my booth and began asking questions. What if someone had stopped to talk to her at her booth as she was approaching mine and we had never met. 

Of course the options are infinite. 

But it does lead me down the path to see…that EVERY action or non-action matters. Every word or non-word matters. Every encounter or non-encounter matters. 

You and I are the result of billions upon billions of actions of everything and every person around us and who came before us. 

Everything and every person is interconnected. 

So let me break that down for ya. 

You matter. Everything you do or don’t do matters. Everything you say or don’t say matters. Everything you bring or don’t bring into existence matters. 

Think about that. I mean really! Amazing right?

That’s all I’ve got for a Wednesday. 

(If you feel you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is a free, 24-hour hotline, at 1.800.273.TALK (8255). Your call will be connected to the crisis center nearest to you. If you are in an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.)

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