By Marisa Geitner, president and C.E.O.
Just to keep our interest as we approach our January book study of Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown, I thought I’d share a concept that has me thinking differently about healing in a hurting world. The concept as Brown describes it is “Hold hands. With strangers.” In a day when we may be so overwhelmed by differences and confused or angry about our interpretation of the beliefs of others, we find our world in a spiritual crisis. It’s hard to see beyond ourselves let alone be mindful of something greater. In times of such spiritual crisis Brown suggests it is essential that we remind ourselves that we are undeniably connected as we are all human beings, connected in a way that is impossible to disentangle or separate. If we ignore that connection it’s easy to retreat, to shut-down, and to “hate” from afar – behavior that just perpetuates hurt and divide.
So how do we exercise a renewal in that human connection? By showing up for experiences of collective joy and collective sorrow. We’ve each experienced both from time to time. How about collective joy? You know that one song at a wedding reception that has everyone instantly dancing or at the very least singing? You find yourself acting silly alongside others you’ve never met but who cares…. Celebrate good times….. Come on! Maybe the stadium full of college football fans when the team fight song or alma mater plays. You don’t care who is standing next to you as long as they are singing, too, as you sway back and forth with your arms draped across one another’s shoulders. We are connected!
The collective sorrow, although painful, is equally – if not more – powerful. Depending upon your age, you remember exactly where you were and who you were with when President Kennedy was shot, when the space shuttle Challenger exploded or when the towers came down on 9/11. We stop in our tracks. We stand in shock and disbelief alongside one another. We ache at the loss and we turn to comfort and to be comforted by whomever we are with. We share sorrow even as strangers and it binds us. It reminds us that there is something bigger than us, reminds us that we are created as part of the same race, the human race! It is powerful and healing.
Throughout this holiday season I hope you will take the time to be thoughtful about what you are showing up for. Be watchful for the magic moments of collective joy and celebrate them! Show up and stand with others in times of sorrow and tragedy, too. Let it be a reminder of our connectedness within this beautiful and intricate human tapestry.