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I have been walking to and from work lately and it has turned out to be my favorite part of the days when I do. It is time to be alone with myself, feeling the miraculousness of my body and its ability to move about. I didn’t know I would love it so. I just did it on a whim, but fell in love instantly!

It is a half hour in the morning and a half hour in the afternoon that I get to commune with nature and see things in a way I have never seen them before because I have always been quickly driving by. I literally can stop and smell the flowers! I also get to listen to some great teachers on audio books as I move my body. Being able to move of my own free will, to transport myself about as I wish, is such a blessing and I am so grateful for it.

The other day, I noticed something was awry with the situation; I had an irritant in my shoe. I was nearly to work when it finally made itself known to me and from the moment it did, until I walked through my office door, I paid attention to that nuisance. I got busy as soon as I sat down and slipped my walking shoes off to change into my sandals while I was listening to my voicemail. Because I was distracted, I forgot to tap out my shoe to release the maddening intruder.

However, when I put my walking shoes on at the end of the day and trotted down to the restroom before I hit the sidewalk home, the particle revealed itself again. It was lodged right beneath the tender skin of my left heel and it was persistently reminding me that if I didn’t do something about it, it would wear a hole in my sock and possibly my skin. As I walked, it seemed as though that particle was becoming a boulder, its gnawing annoyance growing into a mild discomfort.

Rather than continuing on as I had done earlier that morning, I stopped and yanked off my shoe, tapping the heel of it against the palm of my hand to dislodge the interloper. To my surprise, a tiny pebble emerged and lay there in my hand. The culprit was smaller than those round, colorful candy sprinkles one shakes out of the container to cover the sweet frosting of sugar cookies and I was a little surprised by just how small it was. It was a small and fairly innocuous thing that had made itself known in a really big way.

I have often heard people say, “I am only one person. I really can’t do anything about anything that is going on in the world today.”

At times, I have even thought that myself, that because I am only me, I am incapable of making a difference. The thing is, the power of one is undeniably influential. Think about how one pebble dropped into still water results in ripples that move the surrounding water, creating a very noticeable difference in the once smooth surface.

Or, how about what happens when one grain of sand or one parasite gets captured within the tender insides of an oyster’s shell? Over time, that tiny invader is coated over and over, as a defense mechanism, with a coating called “nacre,” and eventually a pearl is formed.

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And that tiny pebble in my shoe got my attention quite effectively, creating a change in my environment and experience. It presented me a choice to either put up with it, as I did in the morning or change it, as I did in the afternoon.

Great things have happened throughout history because ONE person decided to no longer put up with things as they were; that ONE person decided to make a change for themselves and it affected great change in the world. Look at Oprah, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Leonardo da Vinci, Jesus, Nikola Tesla, or Albert Einstein. These are all names we know because they are famous and they are famous for the changes they have affected.

But, what about all the great people who are waking up every morning, going about their daily lives, and making changes for themselves that are rippling out and touching the lives of those around them? What about the single mothers and single fathers that are committed to creating a life that supports their children in growing up to be the best version of themselves? What about the teachers that are passionately committed to educating the students of today so they can develop to be who they’ve been designed to be? What about the cashiers and electricians and garbage truck drivers and artisans and cooks and cab drivers and janitors and public speakers and health care professionals and the myriad of other people who are living their callings, purposes, and passions right now, who are getting up every day and doing their lives? These people – you – are actually making a difference because they are choosing to get up and LIVE their lives.

Although people have a tendency to believe in that falsehood, “I am only one, so therefore I can do nothing,” everything is being done. Perhaps you believe that you doing your life makes no difference in this world, but just as the classic Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, points out, if you were not here exactly when you are here doing exactly what it is you are doing, this world would be a different place. It has to be. Because your contribution makes this world what it is right now.

Even if you are lying to yourself and saying you have no effect, or a very small one, you can have no idea just how gigantic your influence it. In a world of over 7.4 billion people (that is a 74 followed by eight zeroes… 7,400,000,000!!), it can seem a daunting task for one person to affect a change for the better. One out of that large of a number is an infinitesimal percentage, so small that I cannot even figure out how to write it and when you narrow your view to that small of a pinpoint, it narrows out 7,399,999,999 possibilities of collaboration! But when you broaden your view, taking in all that is around you, and realize that you ARE making a difference, and then combine your efforts in collaboration with those around you, worldwide changes begin. Just as what happens when one grain of sand joins with another grain of sand and another while one molecule of water combines with another and another. Soon… there is this…

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©Angie K. Millgate 2016

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