The act of being together might assume, though, that we see and experience life the same or that we agree on what we think and feel. But, there may be times when we are divided.
|When are we not together?|
(Mural in Clarion Alley, San Francisco)
When I am with others, I worry that my silence will be misunderstood:
Do others interpret my silence as agreement?
Sometimes I am just listening. Sometimes I am trying to understand. Sometimes I don’t know how to respond. Sometimes I might agree. My silence could mean these many things... AND... it could be that I am trying to suspend judgment in order to stay connected on this ever-swaying path we call Life.
| Are we able to suspend our judgments?|
(Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver, British Columbia)
When I am alone, I oftentimes replay the conversations I have taken part or overheard. I wonder how we are able to:
- Balance our Oneness with our Togetherness?
- Step out with Courage and Vulnerability when we disagree?
- Stay engaged when there are many voices and beliefs that differ?
If you have the opportunity to go to Vancouver, British Columbia, be sure to check out the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. The Capilano Cliffwalk is a newer attraction there: a curved walkway anchored in the rock cliff and suspended high above the river below. When I was there, the more adventurous people posed for Selfies and performed stunts that seemed reckless to me. When I stepped out on the Cliffwalk, I had to focus to overcome my fear of heights... but I too eventually enjoyed the views and the experience!
Whether adventurous or cautious, all of us experienced this walkway -- and Life -- in our own way.
|Can we hang out together?|
(Cliff Walk, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Vancouver)
In a similar way, establishing Authentic Presence within Self or towards Others can come in many forms: one way does not look the same for each person. What is foundational, though, as we seek this authenticity are the anchor points of the Dialogue stances, where we are able to:
- Take a long loving look at the Real (Noticing or Mindfulness);
- Support free and informed choices with a commitment to Truth and a collective pledge toward the Common Good (Nondefended Learning); and,
- Achieve a quality of Group Safety that allows fundamental problems to be solved... suspending judgment; listening, with curiosity and inquiry; and seeking understanding (Nonviolence).
May this week provide moments when we can suspend judgment as we hang out together. May we notice when we are not divided... but maybe just not together. May we listen with curiosity and wonder at another person's viewpoint.
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