Today is International Women’s Day. It is a day to recognize the strength and importance of women in our culture but to also draw attention to the exclusion of women from our world. This year the campaign is asking us to #beboldforchange by taking groundbreaking action that truly drives the greatest change for women. Each one of us – with women, men and non-binary people joining forces – can be a leader within our own spheres of influence by taking bold pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity. Through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.
As I got ready for work this morning, my thoughts wandered as they often do. Driven by my own personal desires to create change, I often feel paralyzed. How do I make that bold move for change? How do I create an impact? How do I reach the outer circle of life where change seems to occur? More often than not it feels beyond my reach.
A reoccurring pattern keeps appearing in my thoughts: circles and ripples. They have become one in the same. If I am the center of my life, my most immediate impact is the circle that is next to me. As change reaches my family, the circle expands. My impact begins to ripple outward towards that unreachable space.
Perhaps the most impactful way to #beboldforchange is to start by living small. You have to start in the center. You have to start with you.
Breath of Sunshine began the moment I realized I missed writing. Touched by the ripple of a blog from women in Vancouver, I created a space for myself. I would share my story as a means of writing again. I wrote for no one but myself. The more I wrote, the more I fell in love with my story.
I shared my story. My family began to read my blog. A few friends began to follow. My reach grew. A few strangers found the space I had carved out for myself. My blog is small, but many have thanked me for its impact.
For six years, I’ve capture my heart “on paper”. While the content of my blog has evolved, I’ve never stopped writing for myself. I’ve always been an audience of one. I write for myself. I will never tell you how to live your best life, how to run faster, how to parent a child, but I will always share the lessons I learn along the way. I write them down so I can process the lesson. I write them down so I remember. I share them so I can feel the impact of my life.
Today on International Women’s Day when I’m desperately wishing I could reach the outer circle where change magically seems to occur, I’m taking the time to reflect on the change that occurred the moment I recognize the worth of my inner most ripple. As I approach my 37th birthday, I see how lucky I am. I love every piece of my life and every part of who I am. I know I am loved. I know I am privileged. While today I feel an abundance of gratitude for the life that I live, I know that this didn’t occur over night.
My inner most circle if filled with love. This floods the next immediate circle, my family, with love. Through my story, by sharing myself, I believe that the next circle and the next circle are also touched by the love that exists in the center of my life. This blog, no matter how small, has allowed me to cast ripples into the world.
On Saturday, I had the privilege of running with one of the most dynamic and life filled women I have ever met. She has dedicated the remainder of her life to creating ripples of love and support to those who need a reminder that they are worth the fight. As Kim spoke, her words, her ripple nearly knocked me over. When describing the people she’s met along the way, she described them as the following:
The Light that Reflects Light
My life, my love, and my heart is filled with light. My grandparents must have had a glimpse of the life I would someday live when they nicknamed me Sunshine.
Most days I feel like my light is my own. I’m honored when people recognize it, but my intention has never been for people to recognize it.
This year, the year of waking up, I am starting to wonder.
But when should I go big?
The best way to reflect the light of others is to let my own light shine. Once the light shines, don’t I have an obligation to spread my reach? Once you’ve reached the most immediate layers, what responsibility do we have to make a bigger splash? This is where I falter. This is where the doubt creeps in.
My voice isn’t unique. There are hundreds, thousands and millions of other women who stand on my same platform. There are bigger voices, louder voices, more impactful voices that say exactly what I say. Why should I share? Why should I speak? These are all the questions I ask myself. These are the doubts.
Today I’m setting a new intention to change that. Why shouldn’t I? Why not me? To that question, I don’t have one good answer.
It’s time to expand my ripple.