I often say (and write) that “compassion provokes purposeful action.” When we care about other people (or I might add, other living things), when we feel love for them, it compels us to do things right-to follow the Golden Rule-to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. When we are able to put ourselves in another person’s place-whether good or bad, happy or sad, we acknowledge their humanness and our inextricable connectedness.
For many years I have used physicist David Bohm’s words at the end of my email signature: “To see that everybody not merely depends on everybody, but actually everybody is everybody in a deeper sense.” His words resonated with the findings of my philosophic work into the enigma of energy. It is all essentially one. The notions of butterfly effect, and what physicists Briggs and Peat refer to as butterfly power, combined with ideas of love and compassion congeal to form an ethic of care that takes us beyond ourselves to acknowledge the larger whole. That everything we do is not just reflected in the whole-it is the whole.
As I sat here working on an upcoming keynote, I remembered someone in the audience coming up to me after I presented my opening talk on Reawakening the Passion for Caring at the Barnabas Hospice and Palliative Care conference in New Jersey. She said that I needed to take my talk to the Tea Party and her comment got me thinking. My talk that day wasn’t just applicable to those working in nursing, medicine, social work, psychology, chaplaincy, and education. It was also applicable to every other human endeavor that contributes to the whole-and that of course includes the politicians. We all need to be cognizant of how our actions transform the one; we must continually remind ourselves.
Perhaps we need a word that will not only denote the subtle influences that can make or break our world (the butterfly effects) but one that could serve to remind us of the purposeful acts that we need to strive to do as we go about our day-to-day living and working. Something that represents and reminds us of the meaning and purpose in our lives and work. Something that gets at our individual and collective butterfly power.
The word that came to mind is of course related to butterflies: FLUTTERBYING. The term “flutterbye” is noted to be a childish way of saying butterfly-but we all know that children are very smart little people! Butterflies flutter and float, right? Since butterflies do flutter by, the word “flutterbye” doesn’t seem to be very childish to me. I think with the ‘ing’ it nicely denotes purposeful action and I plan on using it. My definition of flutterbying (for the time being, anyway) is: enhancing and transforming the quality of living-dying for all—through mindful awareness of our butterfly power and its effects.
Life is a gift, and an enormous responsibility. Every single thing we do transforms the one and our mindful awareness of this should provoke all of us to do whatever it is that we do, well; to meaningfully, purposefully and passionately participate in our wholeness-oneness…we can strive to do it with our flutterbying.