I believe in cycles -- in the power of cycles and in the value of understanding cycles.
Everywhere I look I see cycles. From wheels and bicycles, to vibrating atoms and the seasons, to my own life and the birth and death of stars. Water and food cycle in and out of me. Blood courses through my veins. I wake up, eat, work, relax, and go to sleep only to wake up again. I was born, I live, I will die, and my elements will go back to mother earth. "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust." I am made of cycles and I am a part of cycles.
Cycles are powerful. They make the world go round. They are natural forces that shape the environment around me. Get on the right side of a positive cycle and I can do anything. Get on the wrong side of a negative cycle and watch my dreams go down in flames.
To make the most of cycles, I observe and try to understand them. It is hard to figure out what cycles to ride to success and which to avoid. It is work to influence cycles so they accomplish positive results instead of negative ones. Cycles don't care. They just exist. But I care.
Reduce, reuse, recycle is a mantra I follow because it helps me make efficient use of many of the cycles around me. In following it, I hope to leave this world a better place for my children and my fellow mankind.
There are two large cycles that especially worry me today.
One is the carbon cycle. Mankind is moving large amounts of carbon from the earth into the air in the form of carbon dioxide. The change in this cycle is warming our earth and will cause major changes in cycles our lives depend on. Glaciers will melt. Farmlands will become deserts. Coastal areas will be submerged. Mankind changed this cycle, and mankind has the knowledge, power, and responsibility to restore its balance.
The other large worrisome cycle is the cycle of hate. "What goes around comes around." Making war on others encourages them to make war on us. I need your help to break this cycle by spinning it a different way. Practicing peace is hard but provides a far better role model. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It is hard, very hard, but I personally work on this cycle by trying to help others, even when others hurt me.
I believe in cycles. I hope that all of you will join me to build a cycle of balance in our environment, and a cycle of peace in our world.
It was easy and it was hard to write this essay. It was easy because it came out of a chat I had with my youngest son during a car ride to our recycling center. I wanted him to learn some of what I had learned. I wanted him to learn about cycles -- especially the cycle of hurt -- so he could learn how to stop this cycle from occurring (especially with his brother) and so he would understand more about why I spent so much time and energy recycling things. After this talk, I remembered listening to some of the "This I Believe" essays, particularly the one about believing in the rule of law. I decided to write down my own beliefs about cycles. It was hard because fitting it succinctly into less than 500 words was a challenge. Also I did this somewhat late at night on Christmas eve. But I finished it, read it to my family, and now here it is.