In each other’s hands

Yoga teaches that everything is connected. Movement influences breath; breath influences the mind. What we eat affects our bodies and our moods. Our thoughts, words, and deeds shape those around us. Life, in essence, is a series of ripple effects.

~ Anna Dubrovsky, Yoga Journal, May 2011

I love this quote. I believe it, now more than ever before.

Whenever I get asked about the Love Project, I tell the story about how it all began, with a simple gesture that came just when I needed it. It turned my day around, and then, magically, it turned my life upside down in the best possible way.

It’s crazy when you think about it, how one text message, tossed out like a pebble into a pond, has rippled through so many lives, all the connection, kindness, creativity, unabashed gratitude and fearless love that has resulted from that one act. I think about that constantly, the power of it, the difference one person can make, must make, the responsibility we all share.

As I plan what the project will look like next year, I’m excited and daunted, energized and scared, absolutely certain and completely unsure, but the one thing I know, the one thing about which I have no doubt any more… If we are all connected, all of us to each other, then my actions count. So do yours.

That’s a powerful truth. And a scary one. In the face of it, I can definitely understand a desire to retreat. It’s frightening to think we hold each other’s hearts in our hands.

On the other hand…

what if we all did think that?

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29 Responses to In each other’s hands

  1. Tall Pajama Man August 21, 2011 at 11:12 pm #

    I think the Love Project is giving us the courage to think like that. Testing the waters, seeing the ripples, challenging ourselves to both the safe water and the rapids. I love that i have connected with people, and have been able to allow the ripples of my life to touch them, and visa versa.

    I like the challenge to think like this more, and for more of us to think like this. Thanks for remaining brave and courageous enough to keep encouraging us to participate

    • j August 22, 2011 at 7:55 am #

      “I like the challenge to think like this more, and for more of us to think like this.”

      Me too. Thank you back.

  2. James August 22, 2011 at 2:47 am #

    So true and I truly believe it and follow the idea that we are all a part of one Universe and all connected.

    This post – in fact, every post you write, Judy – is a positive ripple that means something to someone who then ripples the positive energy outward to others who then ripple goodness on to others and so on…

    The Universe is rippling with love if we all realise our connectivity and keep splashing it out there. That is powerful, indeed. Thanks for the reminder and for encouraging us to hold our hearts and going with that spirit… :)

    • j August 22, 2011 at 8:01 am #

      Thank you, James. This feeling of connectivity, not just all of us to each other, but movement to breath, breath to mind, mind to heart, heart to the planet itself… that’s all kind of new to me. (It’s been an exciting ride for me over the past four years, and especially the last two and a half.)

      It’s kind of scary, especially for someone who didn’t spend most of her life believing it. On the other hand, wow. That’s powerful. Because if you truly believe it, one person always makes a difference, for better or worse. Talk about the importance of figuring out who you want to be.

  3. Prudence MacLeod August 22, 2011 at 3:58 am #

    I think your project is brilliant, and I also believe it has had a magical effect on many lives. No matter how you choose to proceed, do it in your usual loving way, and it will be a blessing to all. Rock on girl.

    Prudence
    http://www.prudencemacleod.com/

    • j August 22, 2011 at 8:02 am #

      From a place of love. I keep reading that phrase lately. I think you’re right. From that place, amazing things can be set into motion. Thank you, Pru. <3

  4. Melissa August 22, 2011 at 7:05 am #

    Absolutely agree and love how you have expressed this. I think it is scary but the alternative is far scarier. For a long time, I lived in a place that wouldn’t let the ripples in. There was very little reason, there, and certainly very little emotion or joy or growth. This has been transformed by the small acts and the ripples, by unforeseen acts of kindness or chance meetings that have changed the direction. I am now in awe of how connected we are. It means we have to take responsibility, as you point out, but also that I feel far less alone and far more aware of how lives can grow, of how there is always possibility and hope. Your site (and you) have really helped to show me this so really excited about where the love project journey will go. xx

    • j August 22, 2011 at 8:08 am #

      Yes, I spent most of my life there, too, in a place that left me largely untouched by the world. Like you, I feel far less alone now, and while it’s definitely a little scary coming out of the cave – there are a lot of ways to get hurt out here and a whole hell of lot of people hurting – it’s also empowering. You can’t make ripples in a cave, that’s for sure.

      I’m excited too. xo

  5. lunaJune August 22, 2011 at 7:12 am #

    There is no other way.. . well there is ignoring it which many have done
    but if they listened deeply they would feel a longing…a missing of something
    and it is only once you open the window to your heart.. to the world that you see it….and that your connection to it is how you experience it…. it is all up to you.
    Be a ripple …yes…. see you out there .. and feel you deep inside

    have an awesome lovefilled day

    • j August 22, 2011 at 8:09 am #

      Your observation about longing certainly is true with me. My empty spaces are being filled daily. (Thank you!)

  6. terrepruitt August 22, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    You never know how your actions can affect someone. It is crazy fabulous a text was the beginning of all this love. :-)

    This post made me smile.

    • j August 22, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

      I love “crazy fabulous.”

  7. viehebdomadaires August 22, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    I have to say I agree with a lot of what everyone is saying.. its been great reading your posts this year..! I think that ripples like these from many people might seem bit shaky and scary in the beginning only because these ripples are just getting used to one another and after a while they start to resonate and well, it just makes things better than ever..! Keep posting Judy.!

    • j August 22, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

      Thank you! I will.

  8. kaleighsomers August 22, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    Heart in hand. It’s a phrase I’ve read over and over as I flip through my favorite worn copy of a novel by Sarah Dessen. I love it, love it, love it. And you are this major manifestation of it. I hadn’t really thought about the Love Project as having another year and another year, but now it seems so obvious. Of course it has to.

    I’m trying to live with my heart in my hands every single day. It’s been absolutely refreshing and exhausting and rewarding and I don’t know if I have the ability to stop. I pray that I don’t. You’ve made the act of giving love into this easy, everyday sort of thing.

    • j August 22, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

      Thank you, Kaleigh. I feel the same way, that my life has become more exhausting and rewarding, a beautiful mess that I am more grateful for than I can say. Thank you for being part of it.

  9. Michael August 22, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    It’s the ripples that will save us. Change, real change, will require a shift in consciousness like the journey you’ve modeled and led us on, but on a species-wide level. That only happens when brave folk start the ripples from their backyard (or writing desk) and have the faith that they’ll do their butterfly effect thing across the miles and years and generations.

    The simple fact that your LP isn’t a personal fad you’re trying for a year, or a gimmick to drive traffic, but is instead something that’s so obviously life changing that it will take a lifetime to see it through, is utterly inspiring. I keep saying it, but… hero. You. Mine.

    • j August 22, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

      Oh, M, sometimes I think that species-wide change is underway, that we are in the midst of an amazing, soulful evolution. And then I watch the news and even within my own country, I feel dismayed by the utter lack of empathy and compassion, the complete disregard for our planet, for each other.

      Then I have to turn off the television and the internet before despondency grips me, and I find myself unable to move forward, unable to be fierce, to write, to reach out, to believe in the connection that I know is true.

      Thank you for this note, for being encouraging in spite of all that. It means more than you know.

    • Michael August 22, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

      It absolutely is under way, the change. It could take a few more centuries, or millenniums. Or maybe it’ll happen in an instant next year some time (although I doubt it).

      Or maybe, to be completely pragmatic, it’s a patient that will die on the table. That’s not a thought I like, but it’s a possibility.

      I prefer to be optimistic and think that there’s a long way to go, but we’ll get there eventually. I doubt I’ll be around to see it, but it’ll come. And that far off victory has been, is, and will be sewn in the acts and hopes and dreams of us little people doing the little things today and tomorrow, consistently and with integrity. And, you know, love.

    • j August 23, 2011 at 7:40 am #

      Smile. Yeah. I know. Love. <3

  10. Casoly August 23, 2011 at 6:06 am #

    What can I say that hasn’t been said above? Love you J! I am in awe of your fierce passion, strength and dedication to reconnect us to Love which is so much more powerful than hate. xox :o)

    • j August 23, 2011 at 7:42 am #

      Thank you, C! It amazes me how I can be so absolutely certain of a thing and so daunted by… you know, the world. I just have to remember that there’s a lot of good out there too. (My comment thread is proof.) xo

  11. Tim August 23, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    Hi Judy:

    Wow, what a great post! I’m so glad you feel this way. I, too, think we’re all connected and can help each other in ways that we aren’t always aware of. And then there are other times, when I’m tired or down about something, that I wonder if all this connection stuff is a figment of my imagination. Hearing your words today, I realize (and hope) that others feel this way too. Thanks again!

    • j August 23, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

      Thanks, Tim. Others feel this way, definitely. It’s a big part of yoga – one of the many reasons I love yoga. But I know what you’re saying. In the face of “us versus them” it’s hard to keep the faith. I think we have to build up our community believers. As Michael says, this is how change starts.

  12. C. Fassett August 23, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    There’s always that first bird singin’ every morning that gets all the other little birdies singin’ throughout the day. You start us out singing, then we go and start those in our orbit singing, then…

    And the love beat goes on…<3

    • j August 23, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

      Awww. Sweetness. xo

  13. Travis B. Hartwell August 23, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    I love the image of ripples in a pond and how they interact with and affect one another. I definitely believe the smallest actions can have grand and lasting effect on many lives.

    An example: in many ways, I owe the fact that I am alive today to a conversation I had 12 years ago. I was talking to a friend about this program I wanted to write, and he suggested that I try this programming language I hadn’t yet used. I gave it a try and was amazed by what it could do. As I was learning it, I got on IRC (chat rooms, essentially) to ask questions of others that were experienced in it. I met another programmer that was also learning it that was starting what would become a major open source project. I became friends with him and was involved in that project. Because I knew him and was involved with the project, he recommended me to a friend to do some contract work. Because of that work, his friend hired me full time as the first non-founding employee of his startup (the game company I mentioned on Twitter) and I moved to Austin, Texas to work for them. In Austin, I met the woman I would marry. When I found out I had kidney disease, my wife’s mother volunteered to be my donor and indeed, donated one of her kidneys to me. Because of that transplant, I am still alive today.

    In a way, all because of one little conversation years previous that opened up a path that lead me to be able to meet that wonderful woman I married. If you go back further, my interest and talent in computers started when I was early in grade school because of a book my uncle found at a garage sale that he gave me that had programs to type in. I learned to program because of that book.

    Something I’ve been thinking about: because of that book, I pursued computer programming and computers as my hobby and career. This was in 4th grade. Another activity my teacher had me do to keep me busy was to write and edit a newspaper for our class. Instead of focusing on writing, I went to the computer, which ultimately lead to that conversation when I was 22, which lead to…What if I had focused on the writing instead? Where would I be today?

    I wish I could share even more examples, but I hesitate because of the interpersonal nature of them, in respect for the others involved. But, just as the fabled butterfly wings flapping can cause a hurricane halfway around the world, I know what we do can have a profound effect. Unfortunately, I’ve learned this the hard way as well. I can trace the beginnings of one of my greatest regrets and weaknesses of my adult life to one tiny little event in my early twenties that set me on a path that wasn’t healthy.

    Which ultimately all this makes me want to fill my life more fully with love, so my little actions, my little ripples can cause joy and happiness in those around me, instead of the inadvertent sorrow and pain that sometimes happens.

  14. Estrella Azul August 24, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    Thank you, j, for creating these ripples that touched my life in the most amazing way! (I don’t even think there’s a need for any other words here) :-)

  15. Becky Sain November 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    This is beautiful.
    August was an amazing month of writing for you.

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