Ripple Effect: a spreading, pervasive, and usually unintentional effect or influence; a situation in which one event causes a series of other events to happen – merriam-webster.com
“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.” - unknown
This past weekend I attended my niece’s high school graduation and my cousin’s
beautiful wedding. At the last minute, I got to attend these milestone events without my children. Although I missed my family, the time allowed me to witness and experience lots of ripples and blooms that I may have otherwise missed with distraction. Let me explain.
At the graduation, there were over 400 students graduating with thousands of
guests on a large green lawn outside of the school. Although I couldn’t see most of
the faces of the students as they crossed the stage (even my niece for that matter),
what I saw was many young flowers just at the beginning stages of blooming.
Obviously, some are off to Ivy League colleges, but that didn’t negate the
overwhelming feeling of beauty and optimism of what is to come. They are like a
field of sunflowers, together. Each with their uniqueness, yet each with the
potential to bloom into the best versions of themselves. One flower doesn’t outshine
the other flower; they just bloom next to each other.
The only thing to stop them from blooming is when they decide they are done. I
hope they never decide to be done because there is always more growth and beauty
to be had by every single one of us. Hopefully, their personal growth will help
inspire the one next to them to grow as well.
Bloom. Bloom. Bloom.
Almost 3 years ago, my family and myself went on a journey of healthy eating
together, in the name of Paleo. I now describe our family as whole foods-paleo
inspired. In doing so, we all transformed and began to bloom…again. Maybe our
growth was stagnant for a while, and we just started to grow again. Books written
by Robb Wolf and Dr. Loren Cordain initiated this. By definition, reading these
books wasn’t officially a “Ripple Effect” because there was intention behind the
author writing the book. However, it stimulated a change and growth in myself and
Bloom and/or Ripple, you decide.
After the graduation, I went to my cousin’s wedding in Calistoga. Beautiful. It took
me back to my own wedding, as it did for many of the family members. We relived
past family weddings. Some of our relatives have been married over 50 years. 50
YEARS! Watching them endure and thrive thru marital life is amazing. It takes
compromise. It is a choice. And their presence certainly had the unintended
consequence of inspiring those around them.
During the reception as everyone danced I witnessed lots of joy and happiness. The
bride was stunning, especially as she danced with her friends and family.
Someone said to me, “Wow. You look great!” I responded with “Thank You.” I didn’t
self-shame to redirect the compliment. Well, I talked about how exciting it was that
Reno finally got a Nordstrom Rack, but that was it. That is a big step for me. I didn’t
need to explain what I do either. I simply accepted the compliment.
My parents danced to the Hip Hop music hand in hand.
Bloom and Ripple.
As I caught up to another cousin, I learned that he had decided to give up Diet Coke
after a visit to Tahoe with our family. He was at least inspired by how we choose to
eat to be healthy that he decided on his own to stop doing something he knows isn’t
good for him. How awesome!
Ripple and Bloom.
This same cousin’s father also shared with me that he has lost over 40lbs avoiding
refined carbs. He even found a way to make his homemade sour cherry pie healthier
by using leaf lard (Lard is high in Vitamin D, heart healthy and heat stable) instead
of vegetable oil. He celebrates every 10lb loss with a homemade sour cherry pie. He
doesn’t feel bad about it at all….and he shouldn’t. I gave him a hug and a big high
five. All I have to say is….
Ripple and Bloom baby!
At the end of the day, I took stock of all the ripples and blooms in my life. Really, the
list became endless. There are times when I feel like it is difficult to live whole-foods
inspired. There are times when I get frustrated that others don’t want to take care
of themselves. There are times when I feel like an outcast. But in the end, that is my
own shame talking. If I look around me I see acceptance, beauty, life, empowerment,
and openness. If my passion for health rubs off on others, then it is all worth it. And
when you start taking care of yourself because you decide you are worth it, the
ripples and blooms will continue.
Ripple and bloom….we all deserve it.
Remove. Replace. Restore.
Remove judgement. Remove fear. Remove shame. Remove ignorance. Remove barriers.
Replace with acceptance. Openness. A willingness to try something new. Show
compassion for yourself and others. Confidence. Beauty. It is contagious.
Restore health. Community. Happiness. Love.
Eat Well. Move Well. Thrive On.
Special thanks to Leah Williams for your confidence in the Ripple Effect, you have
your own Ripple Effect back home.
Dr Carolyn Dolan DPT, Cert MDT, MSHN
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