This weekend I went to a workshop led by Margaret Wheatley on the "Generosity Economy."
She is a writer, speaker and consultant who "applies the lens of living system theory to organizations and communities." (from her website). She is a world traveler and has learned from her work with indigenous people as well as science and nature to see the world with a different paradigm from the "western mechanical" way of thought.
To translate this is what her message is."Humans can get through anything as long as we are connected.". And life's basic building blocks are relationships. And right from the start of our time together she talked about what blocks relationships and our souls: speed and stress. One of our biggest problems is people being dstrcacted. We lose our reason, we lose our ability to think, we lose our moral judgment and our ability to imagine.
Some quotes from the workshop that I am still pondering
- the paralysis of the western culture is dismissing things that we decide are not worth our time. Like developing relationships. We have to learn to be curious about who people are.
- we are all "bundles of potential" that manifest only in relationships
- a biological principal - to create health, create more connections
- Ubuntu - we can only be human together.
- We exist in a bundle of belonging - Desmond Tutu
She talked about the beginning of community - once we discovered fire we moved into community and sat in a circle and told our stories.
What has happened is that we have become more and more isolated from each other.
I thought about the advent of television and a family that sat together and looked at a screen at someone else's story - a sit com or drama that becomes resolved in 22 or 53 minutes. That was my growing up experience - but we still sat together at the dinner table and talked
Now I think people look at separate screens - not even the same story and often do not sit "at table" with one another. The loss of community is profound and of course, leads to loneliness and isolation.
She showed us a picture of a grove of aspen trees and I learned something new. T
Aspen trees are propagated by a root system and are actually interconnected by their root system. The oldest grove of aspen trees is 80,000 years old in Utah! They can moved - migrate - to where the light is. You will never see a single tree - they are connected.
I will write more about this retreat later - but today I cannot help but reflect on what a church is supposed to be. A place of connection for all people -
And sometimes we really are. Other times not so much.
As I have been writing this morning I get a phone call from Don Sexton who wants to know where Ella Mae Lindamood is in rehab so that he can send flowers. There are connections that go on all the time that I don't even realize. The underground root system.
We just finished our second week of our "intergenerational Sunday School" and I have really enjoyed watching the connections and the conversations between people who did not really know each other before. I especially love the opportunity to help adults and youth talk and listen to each other.
Anyway, on this Monday morning I ponder the mystery of connections and how blessed we can be to grow together. And it does involve taking time to cultivate the relationships of our lives.