“If a Butterfly flaps its wings in China, it changes the weather in New York.” Most of you have probably heard some version of this saying, but have you seen it at work in your life?
With this in mind let me honor an old friend.
My cousin, Christine, married an Englishman because a traveler from Charlestown, Massachusetts wanted to swim the azul waters off Fiji.
Christine and her husband never met him, yet that voyager changed the trajectory of their lives.
That traveler, Sean Fittz, died last week. He was my friend of 27 years. We drifted in and out of each other’s lives busy with our own explorations, but always found each other again.
When I was 19, Sean traveled to Fiji with a bit of cash, a backpack and a friend. He loved the ocean and wanted to swim the South Seas. This amazed me because I grew up with a Sicilian father and two older brothers, and didn’t get out much. My father grew up in the North End of Boston, wore black silk and pinky rings, and never pronounced an “R”. He was unwilling to have any exchange about my packing a bag and moving out.
“All you need is an around-the-world ticket and a backpack.” Sean said with his toothy smile. “Now quit being such a ninny, and get your ass on a plane.”
So I did it. I went to California, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand, France and New York.
When my father dropped me at the airport he said: “Don’t do anything stupid, and make me have to kill somebody.”
My fathers dream for me did not include seeing the world and in truth it wasn’t something I wanted until Sean’s adventures inspired me.
I changed during that year on the road. I found new confidence in myself and because of that trip I moved to New York to explore other dreams.
My younger cousin, Christine, was influenced and set out on her own journeys where she eventually met her husband, the Englishman.
Here is the Fifth Chakra, Vishuddha, at work. This is how we express ourselves and what we put out into the world. It is the vibration that surrounds us, and it is contagious. Other people unconsciously react to our intentions behind each action.
Every choice we make has consequences that are significant. Some are positive, some are negative but they are based on how you choose to receive them.
Sean, with his indomitable spirit, inspired me and in turn another was influenced.
Ultimately, it was his love of the ocean that took his life. His choice to take a swim when he wasn’t feeling well had a profound effect on hundreds of people.
I have always thought that when someone dies a spark of their energy jumps onto everyone they loved. This enables them to know us better now than they did when they were alive because that fragment of them now sees the world through our eyes and feels it through our spirit.
That spark continues to glow, expressing itself through each of us. What we learned from them and loved about them-- can be expressed in the way we move through the world in honor of that person.
We cannot allow grief to overtake us. If our hearts cannot accept loss and we cling to what once was instead of allowing what is, we extinguish that spark. It cannot shine if we deprive it of air.
So for my old friend, I take a full breath and keep the ember glowing. I move forward understanding that because I knew him, I have been changed.
Now, after all these years I can see clearly some of the unintended consequences Sean’s presence had in my life. The consequences of his absence remain to be seen, but I am open to receive them.