JOURNEY TO WHOLENESS
Revolution through Relationships
By Jude LaClaire, Ph.D.
As revolution sweeps through our communities, our country, and our world in so many ways, it is imperative to find ways to make a difference. Let us first look at the crises we are facing. David Brooks, a New York Times columnist and author, addresses the five epic crises* that may push us to revolutionary change:
Losing[CS1] the fight against COVID-19.
All Americans, especially white Americans, are undergoing a rapid education about the daily burdens of African Americans, with public opinion shifting quickly.
A political realignment as American public is vehemently rejecting Trump’s Republican Party.
Social justice, a quasi-religious movement, is seeking control of America’s cultural institutions.
We are on the verge of a prolonged economic depression.
Brooks says, “These five changes, each reflecting a huge crisis and hitting all at once, have created a moral, spiritual, and emotional disaster.” Indeed, we are, individually and collectively, being asked to learn, grow, and change as we face these daunting challenges. Amit Ray, Ph.D., author and spiritual master, tells us, “In every crisis, doubt, or confusion, take the higher path—the path of courage, compassion, understanding, and love.”
In a recent interview, Brooks talked about The Aspen Institute’s Weave: The Social Fabric Project (the Project). I was so impressed and hopeful as I read about the Weaver’s vision. This is the encouragement for people to join together, in local areas, creating relationships and groups that will serve the needs of people in many parts of their lives. The hyper-individualism of our culture must shift into inclusive communities “brimming with deep, healthy connections, where mutual trust and affection is the standard, equity is implicit, and all people find joy and meaning in daily life[CS2] . (www.aspeninstitute.org/programs/weave-the-social-fabric-initiative)
I urge you to read the “Relationalist Manifesto” of the Project. It tells us of the flaws of the hyper-individualism philosophy, which leads to a “degradation and pulverization of the human person.” The Weaver is finding a way to counteract this by “making the choice to lean into relationships and connection above all else. Learn how small changes can lead you into a Weaver way of life.
One of the more inspiring examples is Jose Andres, a chef and activist, who went to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and found a way to distribute 1.5 million meals. He and his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, are feeding millions during the current pandemic, working with four hundred restaurants nationwide. I support World Central Kitchen and Harvesters, our local community food network. There are people here who are working at numerous food banks and feeding the homeless.
Locally, there are people making and distributing masks, working with projects to help with those in prison, some wrongfully convicted, while others are reaching out to friends and neighbors, making food for those who need it. Some work with organized groups or start their own. Some work individually, finding ways to serve. The challenge is to think about how developing or maintaining relationships can be a way to revolutionize your daily life and that of others.
During this time of COVID, my spouse and I met the neighbors in our cul-de-sac at the farmer’s market. We had never been able to have any lengthy conversation with them. We had a wonderful talk, getting to know them better. They are a mixed-race family and have not appeared to be open to connection. After we put up our “Black Lives Matter” sign in our yard, along with other statements, he inquired about where he could get one. As we walk our dogs, we try to be friendly and reach out to people in a respectful way. More recently, people are friendlier, express concern and care, as we also try to do. Being a Weaver is different for each person, each day and in every area.
I am going to challenge myself to revolutionize my life in small ways, embracing relationships of all kinds. I want to question my beliefs, my way of acting, and my way of connecting. I encourage you to think about your quiet and powerful revolution through connection.
*(David Brooks, NY Times, June 26, 2020)
[CS1]These need parallel construction
[CS2]Where does this quote end?
Jude LaClaire, Ph.D., LCPC is a counselor and educator at the Heartland Holistic Health Center. She is the author of the “Life Weaving Education Curriculum” that teaches creative, effective, holistic problem-solving. For counseling appointments (confidential video sessions), seminars, in-service training, or speaker’s bureau, call 816-509-9277 or firstname.lastname@example.org; www.heartlandholistic.com. Some pro bono and lower fee sessions available at this time.