Having an Impact

Eyes need a break from the screen?
Listen instead. Press play! 

Do you ever wonder if you're making a difference? 

I know I do. Maybe it's because I've been positively impacted by so many powerful people in my life so far. Maybe it's because I'm in a line of work where - if I do my job well - people can leave their time with me feeling better in some way than they did when they walked in. Maybe it's because I've always had a tendency to overanalyze life and why I'm here - anyone else with me?

Whatever it is, every so often I find myself questioning whether my words and my classes are having a positive influence on the people reading - that's you - and the students in my class. I think it's human nature to fall into the trap of thinking that our day-to-day actions don't matter all that much. After all, we're just one tiny person in this massive world full of people. Do we even have enough reach to make much of a difference?

I've done my best to keep the writing weekly in hopes that I can still 'teach' someone something while living abroad. It's a lot of me staring at a computer screen typing away instead of having students around to interact with. In a way, I lost touch with that teacher-student relationship and the impact that I can have on people through sharing the powerful practice of yoga. 

Then I arrived back in Muskoka and bumped into an old student. She's done my class a few times back in the city but I don't see her that often. If you had asked me if she liked my classes I would have said I think so? I knew she didn't dislike them because she would pop in every once in a while but I definitely didn't think I was her favourite. Anyway, the other day she pulled me aside and told me I was her first yoga teacher over 5 years ago and that I came into her life at the perfect time. She said she couldn't even put into words the way that I've impacted her and if she tried she'd start to cry.

Woah. That pretty much made me cry.

By taking the time to tell me that - years after the fact - she in turn had a massive impact on me. She gave me the confidence to step into the summer of teaching like crazy feeling inspired and to continue writing on this blog because who knows, maybe someone out there is reading who isn't even telling me about it.

And it's the same for all of you. You don't have to be a yoga teacher or a writer to make a difference in someone else's life. We all have the power to impact the world and those around us. 

The question is will it be in a positive or negative way?  

You know those strangers you come across that leave you feeling better than you did before. The friendly cashier smiling and asking how your day is. The driver that smiles and waves you in when you're trying to change lanes. The yogi that moves their mat over to make space for you in a busy class. Someone like my student the other day taking the time to actually tell me how much my classes meant to them. You have the power to make a difference in the world just by being a human being and going about your day. 

The easiest way? 
Little acts of kindness. 

Smile at strangers. Ask someone how their day is going. Tell people you love them. I'm going to make this my intention for the summer. I'm going to remember to treat myself, the people in my life and the strangers I pass on the street with kindness. I'm going to be sprinkling kindness all over Muskoka this summer and want you all to join me. If any part of you is doubting that you can make a difference, remember this quote on the front door of the PYC Muskoka boathouse. 

"If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito"
- Anita Roddick

I've thought long and hard about what to change it to this year, but nothing seems as fitting for life at the lake. If you spend anytime at the cottage you know the feeling of getting ready for bed, curling up under the covers and turning the lights off only to be met with the buzzing of a teeny tiny mosquito somewhere in your room. It's frustrating and the only choice is to switch the lights back on and find him if you have any hope of getting some sleep. 

What we do each and every day makes a difference, whether we think it does or not. We're just like the little mosquitos. No matter how small we may feel, we have an impact so let's do our part to make it a positive one.