We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond.
―Gwendolyn Brooks from “Paul Robeson”
Unity and interconnection may seem obvious, simple to some, but barriers stemming from our fears, images we see in the media, or our experiences, can keep us insulated, afraid to step in to, build, or nurture community—unity. Anger, misunderstanding, and prejudice can further imprison and limit us.
Yet, whether we’re aware of it or not, we are deeply interdependent and interconnected. What would it be like to live that way; to live as if our borders—personal and otherwise—extended beyond our body, neighborhood, state, or nation, spilling into each other as a river into the sea? How might we move beyond our self-imposed borders to build and deepen authentic, sustainable connections?
We offer these ideas and invite you to join us in this practice of unity:
- Be friendly and get to know people you meet as you go through your day. Ask the grocery store cashier how their day is going, say hello to the person who picks up your trash, or sits next to you on the bus. As we approach the election here in the U.S., bring kindness and care to polling places by thanking volunteers and greeting other voters.
- As you go about your daily activities, consider how you are part of a wider web. When you eat, consider who and what was required to bring this food to your table. When you get dressed, consider where the resources for the fabric, the buttons, the zipper came from. Who made your garments? What is their life like? As you walk or ride through your neighborhood, notice the landscape, the roads, the buildings. How can you be more mindful and more supportive of this infinite web and all who contribute to it?
- Nurture connection through music—making it, sharing it, enjoying it. “Nowadays, music has the potential to make us feel connected to all of humanity. The more we use music to bring us together—literally and figuratively—the more potential for increased empathy, social connection, and cooperation,” writes Jill Suttie in “Four Ways Music Strengthens Social Bonds” for the Greater Good Science Center.
- Put books of literary fiction on your reading list. In literary fiction, “the characters disrupt reader expectations, undermining prejudices and stereotypes. They support and teach us values about social behavior, such as the importance of understanding those who are different from ourselves,” reports Scientific American’s Julianne Chiaet in “Novel Finding: Reading Literary Fiction Improves Empathy.”
Your turn: Tell us how you cultivate unity.