Our Common Humanity

There is No Separation, Oil on Canvas, 3’X5′

I’ve been reflecting on the events of the week. So many different emotions, but one persistent truth. . . we are all in this together.

I was living in Kenya in 2007 as the Kenyan people prepared for elections in December.  There was a great energy of expectant “change.”  Then when the votes were almost counted, the incumbent president was sworn in behind closed doors. Violence seemed to break out immediately across the country, and in fact had already started. Over the next two and a half months, over 1300 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced from their homes. 

In the midst of that violence, my sisters and I gathered people into small groups of conversation.  We invited people from all backgrounds, from different political groups, from different professions and religions.  We created a space where they could talk with one another, hear each other, and recognize once again that we all share a common humanity.  We all need the same things, food, shelter, security and a place to belong.  When I feel that my needs or beliefs are threatened, politicians are very good at making me believe it is you that is threatening me.

Here, in the United States, we are close to having a declared winner in our presidential race. Maybe it has already happened.  But feeling into the days that have passed and watching the numbers amass, I feel as if we, the citizens, are the losers.  The picture of our country in this election is that we are more sharply divided than ever before.  No candidate has the capacity, try as they may, to bring us together.  That job is ultimately our responsibility.

How can we cross that divide?  How can I join a small group of people in conversation, people from all backgrounds, from each part of the political spectrum, from each ethnicity, color or religion, and sexual orientation?  I don’t care if you are a leftist, a lesbian, a Catholic, a farmer, a queer man, a Buddhist, a white supremacist, a professor or a black woman. However you identify yourself, you have something to contribute to this conversation. We are all in this together. 

I hope we turn to each other in conversation before we start killing each other.

3 thoughts on “Our Common Humanity

  1. Thank you very much, Teresa, for “There is No Separation,” and for “Our Common Humanity.”  May Wholeness become our reality!

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  2. I think you hit a very good point, communication is a gateway to understand each other.

    Nevertheless, it is hard to express yourself in communication because we as human do feel vulnerable expressing our true self, such as our needs, desire, ambition, etc. What’s happen in the US right now is a reflection of our unconscious needs, desire, ambition, etc that are conflicting with each others. As these needs, desire, ambition, etc. haven’t been addressed, they become resentment, anger, and other feelings. Before the communication to understand each other, we need to reach inward and assess how deeply we value our needs, desire, ambition, etc. We need to come to term that not all of our needs, desire, ambition, etc. will meet our expectation. Until we achieve this, we will not be able to open ourself and listen to other’s needs, desire, ambition, etc.

    Yes, we share common humanity such as needs, desire, ambitions, etc. and we need to be aware of it and come to term with the level of expectation. Until then, communication with each other will not be effective.

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    1. Thank you for your insights. I agree with what you are saying. When our unmet needs and desires remain unconscious, we do express them in anger and resentment. Unless we name them and claim them, we cannot transform them. In my experience, the inner work that each of us needs to do is facilitated through conversation with others. We can create a safe space where we can sit in silence together, begin to share our stories, which leads each of us to begin to articulate our needs, our expectations. Often, it is in articulating them to others that I first begin to recognize the unconscious things I am holding. And if I listen to the other, I can hear echoes of my own needs. We begin in silence, speak our truth, listen to the other, and find our way together to the effective communication. This is HARD work, and vulnerable work, and work that is necessary for transformation of our society.

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