Part of the Whole

Kate - Centennial, Colorado
Entered on October 23, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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This I believe…That I am part of the whole. I think I’ve always believed that, but it has taken me the better part of my short 17 years to realize that I know it as a fact.

I’m a naturally reserved person. It’s not that I don’t like to talk; on the contrary, if you sit me down and ask the right things about puddles you could discover an ocean. It’s simply that I’m inclined to get lost in that ocean. I’m so preoccupied with dog paddling around inside of myself that I just sort of forget to interact with people. I find comfort in mulling over one idea for hours, peeling away and exposing the core and then peeling away some more. There is always something more to discover, infinite levels to spelunk down into.

But I can’t live inside myself. The fact is that there are other people, lots of other people, and every day I come into contact with them. They shuffle past, I brush their shoulders and smile politely, if not a little distantly. With the hundreds of faces filing past, millions of people out there, how many of them could I possibly influence?

Every single one. I hear so many people say, “I want to make a difference. I want to leave a mark on the world someday.” Forget the someday. The someday is this day; the mark is happening here and now. Best friends, distant relatives, that guy bagging groceries last Thursday—there’s a piece of me with every single one of them because there is always an impression left. It is insignificant whether the piece is big or small. What is of consequence is whether that piece is positive or negative.

What power we wield! Marianne Williamson wrote that “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us.” The idea that I affect others in every way, big and small, is something daunting to me. The idea that I have control over the impact I impart is something greater still. Yes, what power.

This internal light, the infinite possibilities of cause and effect, is contained within everyone. It connects us in so many ways, on so many different levels. I do this to that person, that person does this to another and in the end I am as responsible for every event and emotion in the world as the next person. It’s like Pay It Forward, or the Seven Degrees of Separation. I devote myself to owning my portion of the power that belongs to everyone. I try my best to be consciously compassionate, empathetic.

Empathy, however, can be a painful trait to maintain. Bad things happen. Bad things tagged with emotions that bite, sting and suffocate. It would be so much easier to numb myself, shut down, forget to feel. But that’s a temptation to forget my role in the scheme of things. I have a relation to every other person out there; I shut them out and I shut out myself.

There is an entity most commonly called God, but I’ve found that name to be misleading. The entity that connects us is hardly separate or external. It doesn’t sit upstairs and watch over the world making decisions about good and evil and human life. No, quite the opposite; the deciding entity lies within. It is the power and light that belongs to each individual. I have that power, a part of the whole.