Can One Person Make A Difference?

“Dance like no one is watching,  Love like you’ll never be hurt, Sing like no one is listening,  Live like it’s heaven on earth.” ~William Purkey

I’d venture to say that more than half the people reading this are familiar with the Purkey quote above. It was the one I heard most often when I shared the photo below on Facebook.

All week, I’ve had this picture on my mind. Of this little girl having the time of her life in the middle of an art museum in Glasgow, Scotland.

From (link below)

When I shared it on Facebook, I saw the name of the museum but I didn’t know much else. For me, it was all about the girl, whirling with abandon (and probably making her mother freak out about the potential for mayhem and property damage).

Note: All the details about the painting can be found here.

The woman in the painting is Anna Pavlova, the first ballerina to tour around the world. Pavlova, born in St. Petersburg more than a century ago, changed ballet forever.

I love that Pavlova’s picture from a century has now touched all of us today.

 I love that this little girl so inspired the museum’s patrons that someone snapped a picture.

 I love that we live in a world where one person and one dance can make a difference.

This is just a teensy little example of how one person’s actions can ripple outward in an endless chain. Partly due to social media, one person CAN change the world. Can you imagine what Ghandi could accomplish today?

My thought for you this Thursday:

Einstein said, A single drop of water helps to swell the ocean.” I believe that…do you?

What are the first three things you think when you look at the picture above? (Quick! In 100 words or less.) Enquiring minds LOVE to know these things here at More Cowbell!


[Note: In reading over the last paragraph of this post, my first thought was: Dang, it sounds like I brought back the whips and chains from my  little wrestle with the Kegelmaster on Natalie's blog. Somebody do an intervention, quick!]

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About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! My passion is finding those qualities that are unique in every person and every piece of fiction. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
This entry was posted in Inspiration, Thoughty Thursday and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to Can One Person Make A Difference?

  1. zkullis says:

    The first thing I thought of was the unbridled passion of youth. Wouldn’t it be nice to still feel that kind of freedom?
    To lose ourselves in motion, expression and energy when something touches us?
    To care more about the singular quality of a moment enough to not give a damn about what other people “might” think, and revel in a moment that will NEVER come back around? It’s beautiful.

    The second thing that came to mind was the power of innocence. A child’s innocence is striking, arresting, and refreshing, and gives me hope.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post.


  2. Jane Sadek says:

    Jenny, my father passed away Monday and I am awash in condolences. If I had wondered whether one life could make a difference, I have no question about it now. My Dad was a quiet guy. He didn’t write any books, make millions of dollars or invent anything world changing. He was a guy that loved his family, enjoyed his friends and treated everyone he met with dignity and respect.

    I moved Dad into an independent living facility last year and because his health had been failing, I doubted that he’d had the energy to make many friends. However, every time I have walked into the building this week I am immediately surrounded by folks who want to tell me how much my dad meant to them. I don’t even know who they are, but because I am George’s daughter, they know who I am.

    Social media is great. I enjoy my fellow bloggers, tweeters, facebook friends and pinners. But this week I’ve come to realize that it’s not how many people you reach, but how well you connect with each of them. I’ve been humbled by my dad’s very quiet legacy.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Jane, I’m so sorry you’ve lost your dad. He sounds like a wonderful man. It’s such a strange feeling to lose someone so important in your life, only to be reminded how many people they also impacted beyond you. Kathy’s comment to you below is just lovely.

      I agree about the importance of connecting. Be kind to yourself this week…I’ll be thinking about you.


      • Jane Sadek says:

        Thanks to you and to Kathy. The horror of the last month is already fading. So many have reached out to remind me of my dad’s humor, generosity and kindness. I choose to collect those memories and let go of any pain.


  3. First thing: Matching!

    Second thing: It’s a young girl having fun without a care in the world.

    Third thing: Her pose doesn’t match.


  4. K.B. Owen says:

    Jane, I am so sorry about your dad. I’d been following your statuses about him and the struggles he was enduring, and praying for him.

    Despite all you’ve gone through, I’m glad to see that you’ve had the positive experience of seeing your dad through other eyes. When all of your recent memories involve his medical condition and suffering, it’s like a breath of fresh air, isn’t it? I remember feeling that way when my mother-in-law passed away, after 3 months in a coma. After putting together a memory photo board for her for folks to look at before the funeral, and talking with her friends afterward, it really reminded me of what a special lady she truly was. Helped clear out the painful recent stuff.

    Take care.



  5. Julie Glover says:

    First, I thought of beauty and dancing and freedom and that feel of the world whirling around you when you twirl in your living room and take a bow for no one. I admit to still doing that sometimes. Then, I thought of the person behind the camera. There’s another single person who made a difference by snapping a photo at just the right moment. Finally, I thought of the people who have made a profound difference in my life and how it was the small things, like an encouraging word or an open welcome or a kick-in-the-pants when I needed it.


  6. Joy, freedom from worrying about what people think; those are the first things that come to mind, followed immediately by the sadness that I lost that freedom for such a long time.

    Can one person make a difference? Yes, yes, yes, yes! I know that one person, sometimes a stranger, has often made a difference in my life; I’ve also been honored by hearing how I’ve changed someone’s life–usually students of mine.

    Great post, Jenny!


  7. I think about how, as kids, we need the freedom to imitate in order to find out what we love. I think about how as adults, when we’re around people, we lose the reckless abandon of children. And I think about joy that bubbles up from deep inside.


  8. Emma says:

    Freedom, happiness, joy.


  9. The first thing I thought of was my daughter. I always try to encourage her to be herself, to be silly and smile and laugh. If she’s afraid of doing something she loves because she’s in public, I’ll do it first to show her she shouldn’t be afraid of what others think. Because she, just like the girl in that photo, is beautiful and deserves to smile.


  10. I am that girl! How did you get my picture. Is my mother selling our family photos on eBay again? Dammit! ;-)


  11. Love this. I truly believe anyone can make a difference. Often, our ripple effect is something we don’t see or know about until long after so it’s important to stay the course, trust in your passion and dedication and know that some how, some way, YOU are making a difference!

    When I look at the picture, I think happiness, love, passion, dance, and pure joy!

    Love it!


  12. Wonderful! I love that kids aren’t self conscious. Not about themselves so much, but also not letting others inhibit them or stop them from feeling joy.


  13. 1) I want to dance with her! 2) So happy, so cute! 3) If only life was that easy …

    My kid does that too. It’s fun. She dances anywhere, everywhere (my mom says I was the same). On the parking lot, restaurant, grocery store, school, movie theater. If she can, she’s dancing. And it’s contagious. It’s impossible not to smile.


  14. patodearosen says:

    1. Inspired 2. Inspiring 3. Unself conscious 4.Would show me up at Zumba


  15. Piper Bayard says:

    Joy, innocence, fun.


  16. I was that little girl, and grew up to be a ballet dancer – and I haven’t danced now in 20 years. I adore Anna Pavlova. I miss ballet so much it makes my heart ache, so I think when I’m healthier I’ll get back to it. Thanks for the inspiration!


  17. Jenny – your post today partially inspired my post :) A bit of a different angle – but I think Anna Pavlova is one of many women who’s courage has changed things – both in their own day and in their legacies :) Very thoughty of you. :D


  18. OK, I’ll play…when I look at this photo I think of the beautiful freedom of a child’s heart. My children keep me young and inappropriate all the time. As adults, we build up walls and forget that inside we are still kids. Finally, the photo struck me as Life Mimicking Art. Perhaps Anna Pavlova practiced this same pose as a child, and now the mirror image faces her…haunting in a way if you think about it.

    Jenny, thank you – as always!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I don’t know, I’m still pretty juvenile and inappropriate. :-) LOL…

      What a tremendous thought – the idea of Anna Pavlova’s spirit surrounding the painting and watching the dance. I love it!


  19. angelapeart says:

    I love this picture. It captures the essence of a child’s dreams. When I saw it I immediately thought about my little daughter :-) She loves to dance and I often see her striking a funny pose when nobody is watching. Ah, happy childhood memories.

    “A single drop of water helps to swell the ocean.” oh, how true…


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You’ve just got to love that Einstein. His brain processing was just amazing. And, having met your daughter, I can totally imagine her busting out in dance in the middle of an art museum. She’s AWESOME!!


  20. First thing that came to mind was unbridled joy, then innocence, and finally dreams.
    I imagine that if this picture had been taken from the front we would have seen a big smile on that little girl’s face, and maybe a bit of awe in her eyes. She’s still so innocent that she doesn’t know how to be self conscious…she just follows where her heart takes her…which was to mimic a lovely ballerina. It was like she gave us front row seats into her dreams…of maybe someday becoming a ballerina herself! Lovely!


  21. I smiled when I read the little girl dancing. My three words: smile little girl, or smile, girl dancing. Thanks for making my day a little brighter Jenny.


  22. SilverTill says:

    Congratulations on finding an image that has sparked such a lively discussion. Even I can relate to the little girl imitating the great ballerina. It indeed is a world where one CAN make a difference.
    Blessings, Bill


  23. Joy, innocence, youth. Beautiful – thank, Jenny!


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  25. We celebrated the International Day of The Girl this week and the joyful dancing in this picture reminds me that we have the power to make everyday a hope filled day for all girls. And – it begins at home.


  26. Sharla Rae says:

    Thanks for sharing this picture Jen. I couldn’t stop smiling. I wish we adults could be so free and innocent.


  27. Karen McFarland says:

    Happy, Carefree and Grace! It makes me want to put my toe-shoes back on and twirl! :)


  28. The Hook says:

    If only we were all capable of releasing our inner dancing child…


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  30. Dawn says:

    Hi, Jenny! I’ve been saving this post in my inbox for some time now because I knew I wanted to reference it at some point in my own blog. This post embodies the essence of my blog so well, and I wanted to share it with my readers as a reminder that we ALL have the power to make a difference in our communities and, indeed, the world.


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