2017: Working Together for a New World Vision
“In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.” —Audre Lorde
“We learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same.” —Martha Graham
Many years ago, I visited Dachau, the first Nazi concentration camp in Germany: a depressing and forlorn place with ghosts of unspeakable horrors. Afterward, I went to an outdoor exhibit where artists rendered their visions of that time in the world’s history. One exhibit I have never forgotten was a sculpture of two people hugging with a placard below that read:
“The red-painted tyranny was not the worst about our tyrants. The worst thereby were we ourselves. All our cowardice and servility. And that we also were this evil ourselves. Just that is the chance and our luck. You see: It works! We also take back the everlasting human right ourselves.
Now we breathe again, we cry and we laugh the stale sadness out of the breast man, we are stronger than rats and dragons – and had forgotten it and always knew.”
No one person holds the key to our power for good or to our freedom of thought. No one person controls our words or our actions. We, the 7 billion people who inhabit this earth, create our collective destiny with our daily choices. We are the living, breathing dance of life each time we learn something new or do something differently. It is we who decide not to seek power, money, status, or glory at the expense of others. It is we who decide not to follow laws when laws are unjust. It we who decide to undertake the demanding work necessary to overcoming hate, prejudice, ignorance, and fear.
Here’s what we can do in 2017:
- First, learn about ourselves: What we fear and why. What we love. What we dream for ourselves. What we envision for the world. Doing our inner work doesn’t mean going it alone. We can seek support and guidance from friends, books, counselors, wellness communities, meditation groups, nutrition advocates, personal growth workshops, 12-step programs, self-help classes, and numerous mind/body/spirit teachers who practice healthy living. The skills we will need to develop include: honesty, vulnerability, courage, and willingness.
- Next, learn about others. Ask questions. Set aside judgments. Go beyond current comfort zones. Learn from the indigenous people, the scientists, the children, the plants and animals, the shamans, the musicians, the artists, the peacemakers, the homeless, the teenagers, the poets, and the dancers. Learn about other cultures, religions, races, and ethnic groups. We have so much we can teach each other! The skills we will need to develop include: openness, curiosity, nonjudgmental mindsets, and humility.
- Finally, acquire the tools and practices that allow us to be more loving in our dealings with each other. Difficult topics need everyone at the global table working toward solutions. We simply do not have time for bickering. Us v them camps will not solve the challenges we face. This beautiful planet and our lives (and the lives of our children) are too precious for wasting energy on endless distractions—we cannot afford to get sucked into mindless behaviors. We must move forward with all people who care about the welfare of humanity and the survival of our earth home. That means not being offended by someone asking questions. That means learning how to navigate through emotional triggers. That means expanding our awareness. That means thinking beyond our limited views of the world. The skills we will need to develop include: perseverance, knowledge, compassion, creative problem solving, and vision.
I believe we can learn to live together on this planet. We can practice the values we preach: love, kindness, respect, tolerance, and peace. We can hug one another when surviving a crisis. And despite outside circumstances, we can remember that our strength rests in our humanity and in our enduring capacity for love.
In joy & gratitude,
Diana J. Ensign