Recently, I announced the release of my first book, Guilty Stains, on October 27, 2018. As I was writing my book, I recall thinking how many of my readers will see themselves in my story, just as I saw many of you in my story. Our stories create a sense of community. While our individual and collective stories may emerge like a hologram, where each one is an element of the other, they transform into a misplaced puzzle piece when not held as the larger part of the human story, which is that of community.
What I have found is that when we experience ourselves in community, fear of the “other” diminishes those who may not be like us, but nevertheless, holds experiences that can nourish our lives and help us to grow and blossom in ways we couldn’t on our own. I call these experiences, “encounters,” because we join synchronically sharing elements of our lives, so we can all generate more life, more growth and more purpose. No man or woman can function successfully in this world as an island.
My book was my way of creating, of interweaving my life, my story into the stories of you, to remind you of unity, realizing you are not alone. When we speak, our voices are heard, but when we try and cancel out the voices of “others,” we diminish their creation, who they were always meant to be, not realizing their story and the pain of it all has its’ purpose. When we seek to quiet them for our own motives, we perpetuate their pain and relegate them to an island, here in this world to endure the pain in silence, isolated and alone.
Only by looking into the mirror and beginning a dialogue with yourself can you begin to open to a deeper conversation with the “other.” But, it all must begin with you and then me, each of us, watering the seeds within to move through this dying experience into a renaissance of light and consciousness where the strength of the individual becomes the thread weaving the tapestry of community.
It may be difficult to explain the loneliness and aloneness we sometimes feel, despite living in a hyper-connected world where the internet has become the place where we meet to exchange information, pray for one another, share in each other’s misfortunes or scoff at each other’s happiness, or to throw a bit of humor into each other’s day or maybe just to demonstrate what we believe by a simple, non-committal click of LIKE, LOVE, ANGRY, TEARFUL emojis.
Sincerity can get lost and become a robotic expression given out of dereliction of duty. With one click, we can acknowledge we checked on a sick friend or congratulated a family member’s recent promotion. We have become so disconnected. We have lost sight of what is only visible to the heart. It is no surprise there is emptiness. We have forgotten how to have real conversations.
Mark Nepo, spiritual writer and poet (amongst many other hats) says, “Trust, courage, and the ability to listen are the agencies of heart that allow us to rejoin. These are the qualities that each soul has waiting within it like golden seeds to be watered by the strength of our kindness. This is the purpose of community: to water these seeds and to join and rejoin.”
I implore you today to rejoin and reconnect to your sense of community, wherever you find it. The key is to look for it, and you will find it is not so far away. I watched a very old movie last night and at the end, there was a quote, “Being aware is to be alive.”
You cannot be aware without living “alive;” your COMMUNITY is counting on you.