Imagine you in your life – in the activities you do, at work, within your family, in your volunteer commitments – anywhere that you are in the presence of a group of people. Close your eyes and put yourself there now. In your mind’s eye, what do you see?
- Are you physically present and emotionally absent?
- Are you physically present but off to one side as the judgmental onlooker?
- Are you physically present but lonely or depressed and assuming that no one cares?
- Are you deeply engaged, perhaps to the point of taking over the controls?
Perhaps you’ve been all of these at various times! How do they work for you? Likely, not too well. These ways of being, of seeing ourselves, don’t feel good and certainly don’t result in our personal best having an impact on the world around us.
Consider another way: always among. It is a choice we make each and every time we enter into relationship with the world around us. We can choose:
- to see ourselves as separate: thinking and feeling our way into isolation or into control over others
- to see ourselves as one among many: collaborators on this life journey, supporting one another, sharing personal gifts and talents for the good of the whole, sometimes leading, sometimes encouraging, sometimes just doing what needs to be done
Notice where you show up as separate. Experiment with an intention of among. See each person as an individual contributor to an interconnected whole. Each is one among many serving something greater than their personal agendas. Then ask:
What are we creating?
What is their contribution?
What am I to offer now?
What does it feel like to be among?