An earthquake. A tsunami. And now a potential nuclear plant meltdown.  In just seven days in one location.

My emotions and thoughts have been all over – I’m moved to tears by the imagery and stories and a heart-wrenching emotion that’s almost too much… then as I separate myself from the other side of the world to stay collected while I live my own life here. I don’t want to do this, to feel separate and helpless, but I wonder what I can do, if there’s anything really that I can do.  Donate to relief efforts? Sure.  But it feels like there’s more, and I know there is.  I specifically studied this stuff in college – the probability of radiation exposure, toxicology, health and safety. In my first career at a foundry we put it into practice – how do we save lives, limbs, and the health of our workers? – I realized it was the little things that could make all the difference.  The morale boosters, the helping hand, the smile, the caring for our fellow human beings that brought a safer, happier, healthier workplace.  We felt it, and we even saw it in our safety record.

So, still how can I help now the people of Japan? The people everywhere worried about everything? Across the world, as one small person, what can I do?

I remember 9/11. Just like after 9/11, when the events were closer to home, do you remember the energy? The renewed feeling of connection to our families, loved ones, and even and almost especially to strangers?  In many ways, the east coast is no closer to me here in Arizona than the people in Japan.  The worry and feelings of despair, maybe fear, can be there and may even help spur people to action, but it’s really spurring them first to compassion.  It’s the love for our neighbors and ourselves that can be felt and sent to others, even across the world, by sending that energy and love to ourselves, our family, our neighbors, smiling at a stranger.

So, here’s to the little things…they really do matter.  It’s what the people of Japan and the world need right now.  I’m sending my thoughts, prayers, and love to the people of Japan, and I’ll be my most effective when I’m compassionate with the people all around me, including myself, as a connection to all others.  It’s the little things and it’s a place to start.