There is a great quote by Mother Teresa “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” What resonates with me as a result of these words is the fact that if several of us came together, with a collective goal (or mission) in mind, the many ripples we create could result in a wave that might actually change the world.
Something else that resonates with me is the plurality of the word ripple–when we see these words as an image in our mind, we see the stone skipping across the water (perhaps more than once) and landing at a future spot, but the first ripple does not come to us immediately, it is only as time passes that we see the first of several ripples, thus indicating a change in the stillness of the waters from the impact of the stone (which has actually long passed).
So if you have a cause, you take action, and from that action you get change. In other words: Cause + Action = Change.
Now it is true that some of us are completely uncomfortable picking up that first stone and tossing it into the waters. I completely respect that. I, however, am most decidedly a caster of stones. I like to throw hard but with grace, and armed with the knowledge that a significant impact will be met, pick up another stone and cast that as well.
Now, I don’t just pick up any random stone and just randomly cast it out with no thought as to where the stone will land. I navigate the landscape, weigh and measure each stone with care, gently setting aside those which will not suit my purpose and pocketing the ones that will.
Which is why is has taken several months for me to decide to pick up this stone: running for office.
I was recently accepted as a candidate in the Emerge Kentucky program. Now Emerge America is a program that identifies, trains, supports, and inspires Democratic women to run for office. This program is a six-month commitment in which I will develop better political and media skills, continue to expand my knowledge of local issues, and connect with other like-minded individuals–other stone casters if you will.
The truth is we need more stone casters.
I’m currently reading two books, Slow Democracy by Susan Clark and Woden Teachout, and A Match on Dry Grass by Karen Mapp. Both, in essence, address the ideas that in order to create a viable and healthy community for all citizens, all citizens need to participate in the creation process. That instead of letting others make all the decisions for us and about us, we need to empower ourselves to be part of the decision making process in the first place. We need to cast stones.
We need the change agents, the network weavers, the champions, the communicators, and the connectors to acknowledge and address the fact that each of us actually CAN make a difference, and a significant one at that. With the right support, information, and control over our decision making, all citizens can be purposeful, mindful, and respectful of what that difference will be and when it will be.
So what stone will you pick up and cast? Who will you gather around you? More stone casters? Stone collectors? Don’t be afraid to ask for support, to ask for a cheer, to ask for help. Sometimes the stones we cast are very heavy and we all need someone to help us along our journey so we don’t trip and fall under the weight of the stones we choose to cast.
My journey will begin in January 2013. As the new year unfolds, it seems like a perfect time to “emerge” don’t you think?
If you are interested in learning more about Emerge and to see if it is available in your state please go to www.emergeamerica.org.