Movement caught my eye as I stood at the kitchen sink and stared out the window. Something landed on a nearby bush, sat for a while, and then flew away. I wondered if a hummingbird had built a nest there. When I went outside to look, a butterfly flew within inches of my face and landed on a leaf in front of me. She repeated the process – landing, resting, flying away – for more than 20 minutes. “She must be laying eggs,” I thought to myself. The fascinating metamorphosis of butterflies happens right in front of our eyes, but most of us don’t see it. In a larger sense, the challenges we encounter during our own metamorphosis oftentimes prevent us from seeing the transformations of others.
#1 – Proving the Butterfly Effect
Since being diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, North Carolina resident Chris Rosati has become an inspiration to many people around the world. He created BIGG, Big Idea for the Greater Good Initiative, that challenges people “to change the world with just one act of kindness.” Watch the short video of how Chris is “proving the butterfly effect with a single act of kindness.”
#2 – Forge Meaning, Build Identity
Writer Andrew Solomon gives an inspirational and powerful TED presentation on “How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are.” Eloquently, he shares stories of adversity and encourages us to forge meaning from our struggles. Here’s one of my favorite passages from his presentation: When we’re ashamed, we can’t tell our stories, and stories are the foundation of identity. Forge meaning, build identity, forge meaning and build identity. That became my mantra. Forging meaning is about changing yourself. Building identity is about changing the world. All of us with stigmatized identities face this question daily: how much to accommodate society by constraining ourselves, and how much to break the limits of what constitutes a valid life? Forging meaning and building identity does not make what was wrong right. It only makes what was wrong precious.
#3 – Simple Things
Car rides, belly rubs, walks in the park – it’s obvious that little things bring joy to dogs. What types of things bring joy to humans? A United Kingdom healthcare group surveyed 2,000 people and asked them what types of things made them feel good. Check out 50 Simple Things that Make Us Feel Great and see how many of these feel-good activities are on your list.
#4 – Butterfly Blues
Tropical Morpho butterflies have beautiful blue wings. This three-minute video shows how the structure of their wings generates their incredible iridescent color.
Now go and spread joy!