The other morning I was on the tube on the way to work at one of the earlier stops where the train is still above ground.
It was quite early and although the train was not packed there were still lots of people on there.
In between stops something caught my eye and when I looked up from my book, I noticed a butterfly had flown on to the train.
After it realised it didn’t have the strength to burst through the glass (despite trying) it settled on the floor just inside the door.
To stay there was to sign it’s own death warrant – someone was sure to tred on it when they boarded / alighted at the next stop.
I looked around to see who else had noticed. Everyone else was heads down and absorbed in their papers, books or phones. God forbid anyone should make eye contact.
And then a hero showed up.
A lady had put her bag down, went and scooped up the butterfly, waited patiently until the next stop (luckily still not underground) and let it go.
Faced with the choices of:
A. Do nothing. Just carry on being a passenger and leave it to fate.
B. Think about doing something. Then when the butterfly has been squashed decide retrospectively what it is you should have done.
C. Do something. Try to rescue it (but do so under the watchful eyes of c.50 strangers and risk frowns/ tuts / stares) and risk failing in public.
She decided that to do something was better than to do nothing (my kind of gal!).
She did get stared at. She definitely got frowned at. But no-one tutted.
Some people were completely unaware that it even happened.
Those that did notice did not know what she was doing and she looked weird scrambling around on her knees on the floor near the door for a few seconds. But she overcame any negatives thoughts and worries about others perceptions of her and did what felt right.
This time it worked. And I bet she felt good. She saved a butterfly – woohoo!
Another time it might not have worked out so well (butterflies are very easy to crush). But if it hadn’t, then at least she knows she tried.
And so the chaos theory was invoked.
The butterfly flapped it’s wings and came onto the train, this caused her to take action and in doing so she inspired me.
I then wrote about it. You are now reading about it and who knows what happens next…
She showed bravery and courage and decided to try and give help despite the watchful eyes of others and the fear of failure and I held that in my heart for the rest of the day.
It made me smile. Still does.
So, the positive actions we take cause a positive ripple effect on others. Who’d have thought it?
Here’s another thing to think about. She was the first to notice the butterfly because she was not distracted by music, reading a newspaper, book or staring at her phone. She was simply ‘being present‘.
And because she was in a relaxed state, aware of the environment and space around her, when something in that environment changed (step forward the butterfly) then she noticed it much quicker than anyone else.
If you think of the story of the butterfly and the hero when you are at work today, simply stop what you doing and make a conscious effort to notice the environment around you.
What does the energy feel like?
Are people heads down and avoiding eye contact?
If something changed, would you be aware enough to notice?
Would you be quick and brave enough to act?
Or are there already a bunch of dead butterflies in your office?