It’s truly uncanny. Every week, as I set the focus for my upcoming classes and begin writing these posts, life dishes up a slew of ways for me both to learn more and to experience what I’m working on.
This week was extraordinary in this regard. I bumped directly into the power of interconnection so many times that I thought I’d share some of the serendipity that has popped up in just the past few days:
• In the middle of writing this post, I heard the news that Nelson Mandela had died. I heard about it not on NPR or on TV, but from reading this moving post by Lisa Jakub. Her beautiful, personal piece reminded me that no matter who you are or where you are, your actions, choices, and thoughts touch the people around you. There is no way around this. Who we are and how we are affects the world. Nelson Mandela was a shining example of how one person’s choices even in the most horrendous of circumstances, made the world better.
• In the middle of Lisa’s post, I clicked on the term “Ubuntu,” a term that I vaguely recognized as a South African humanist philosophy that roughly translates to “human kindness.” As I read more and watched the video of Mandela talking about it, I realized that Ubuntu is an approach to living that acknowledges that we are all connected and that no one is more or less important than anyone else.
• While working on a project with a friend, she told me about the work of Charles Eisenstein, the author of Sacred Economies. I watched this brilliant 12-minute film about his work that explains the lie of separation that our culture tells and the truth of connection. I was both saddened by what he says and encouraged by the possibility of seeing, living, choosing another way.
• A while back a friend had sent me a link to a long interview with artist and photographer, Camille Seaman. The interview’s epigraph was a quote from my hero, Seth Godin, which intrigued me so I printed it out to read later. In the middle of writing Connection Confection, I picked it up to read before bed. Seaman, born of an African-American mother and a Native American Shinnecock father, is living a rich, courageous, artistic life. In the interview, she talks about what her father’s father taught her about being still and noticing, and about how deeply human beings are intertwined with Nature. Once he pointed out a cloud in the sky and said, “Do you see that? That’s part of you up there. That’s your water that helps make that cloud.” Much later, she finds herself walking to the edge of the Bering Sea (I know, right? You’ve got to read it.) and she has an epiphany: “One this extreme part of our planet I was realizing that I was a creature of this planet, that I was literally made of the material of this planet – that we all are. And in those moments, I realized the absurdity of tribe, of border, of culture, of language—because at the bottom of it all, we are all made of this material. … there is no separation. There is no distinction.”
Life is connection. Integration is health. Knowing this can change everything.