WE ARE ALL THE SAME: A Thanksgiving Day Message

The mission of Whole Women Link is to connect women together in the common purpose of healing and stepping into our true and highest selves. We feel your desires to break the false traditions, patterns, and heal emotions that are in your way of finding your wholeness! We see that we are all the same on the first base level, human. This is not to ignore that very real secondary level of difference that exists such as our privilege, nationalities, color, preferences, religions, etc. However, when we place emphasis on our primary level, that we are all human beings pursuing happiness as we best know how, we relate to each other with compassion and build a sense of connection.

Image result for nkosi johnsonThis phrase, “We are all the same,” was first presented to me in a true story about young Nkosi Johnson’s battle with Aids in South Africa in the book with same title by Jim Wooten.  Nkosi displayed wisdom beyond his years and circumstance when he discovered through his battle with Aids virus that we are connected as a human family and he gave us some powerful words to live by. His speech at a large Aids conference the year before he died at age 11 has had a deep impact on me. Nkosi states, “We are all the same. We are not different from one another. We belong to one family. We love and we laugh. We hurt and we cry. We live and we die… Don’t be afraid of us. We are all the same.” Suffering can either embitter us or draw us together with compassion on each other. We are created for joy and compassion is the key to finding it.

Here are a couple of examples of how “we are all the same” has really added to my joy and I think can add to yours:

I have tried to make it a practice to look at how often I think of myself in term of “I” or “me.” Research shows that those that see themselves as part of a whole or as “we” have more joy. I used this recently when going to speak to group of youth about how to become “shame resistant.” I found myself at first dwelling on what “I” was going to share and needing to be the expert. I then stepped back further and decided, I am a co-traveler dealing with shame as these teens do and I was just there to share in this common “we” struggle and ways “we” can overcome it.  I could then see how I was in no way special or separate from them. Separation steal joy. My sense of connection to these teens created a bridge for me to find a helpful message for “us” and allowed me to feel genuine love and connection with them. I hope and think they felt it too.

Lastly, “we are all the same” has been key in my own healing process. For many years I held a paralyzing belief that “having needs is shameful.” I picked up from many sources the idea that being self-sufficient, not needing anyone, and not speaking or acknowledging vulnerability was preferred. So much of this is false. I love the work of Brene Brown as she taught me that vulnerability and authenticity are keys to overcoming shame and stepping into joy.  We are designed to meet needs in relationships. Both independence and dependence are extremes and the balance is found in interdependence. In denying our needs we are often closed and critical of the neediness we perceive in others. When we stop using valuable energy in denying needs and instead work on accepting them it can lead to powerful avenues of personal growth and connection to others. Turns out we are all the same, we are all beggars, in need of something. As we have courage to speak our needs and seek support, we give others permission to do the same. We are then able to enter the circle of interdependence, grateful and aware of how we have been lifted, and ready to help lift another.

Image result for dalai lama“Joy is the reward, really, of seeking to give joy to others. When you show compassion, when you show caring, when you show love to others, do things for others, in a wonderful way you have a deep joy that you can get in no other way. You can’t buy it with money. You can be the richest person on Earth, but if you care only about yourself, I can bet my bottom dollar you will not be happy and joyful. But when you are caring, compassionate, more concerned about the welfare of others than about your own, wonderfully, wonderfully, you suddenly feel a warm glow in your heart, because you have, in fact, wiped the tears from the eyes of another. “ – The Dalai Lama

Beautiful words to live by…

Resources:

“The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World” (2016), by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Carlton Abrams.

“The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You are Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are,” (2010), By: Brene Brown

“We are all the Same: A Story of a Boy’s Courage and a Mother’s Love” (2005), by: Jim Wooten

You are Needed

Do the menial tasks ever get to you? Sometimes it can feel like they take over life and then our identities can end up wrapped up in being identified with those tasks. What if there was no such thing as a menial task? Instead, every task could have meaning. That’s actually reality—it just depends on our intention.

thought-catalog-217861
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Let’s consider a “menial” task for a second. How could something like sharpening a pencil be meaningful? If it was a pencil picked up by someone like Van Gough or Walt Disney, then it’s easy to see the value. But what about us? Well, even Disney had to start somewhere. He went through millions of pencil-sharpening moments to build his abilities to a state where he could express his heart’s desires to be animated for all to enjoy. Our pencil-sharpening moments might be to build our sketching capacities too. It may also be for building our writing or blogging skills. It may be for personal use rather than public, like journaling our feelings to make better sense of our thoughts. If it’s for a public or personal purpose, it’s still meaningful.

What about the times when those tasks feel like they’re just to respond to meaningless assignments or roles? It still depends on our intention. There is no such thing as a meaningless assignment or role. Even picking up garbage is needed. Without it, we’d have no places of retreat to enjoy beauty, nature, or peace without feeling cluttered. We’re the ones who assign and dub things or roles as meaningless, but we could just as easily shift in realizing how meaningful each task and person is, including shifting our perspectives about ourselves.

You are needed.

What you do is needed.

If you didn’t do it, who would? Maybe someone else could, but it would not have your voice, your fingerprints, your experience, your beliefs, your creativity embellishing it with unique hues and patterns only you own. You have specific causes, strengths, cares, and tastes that bring matter to this world. Literally, if you didn’t care about something or like something, then it may never be considered and therefore never created. You matter because you bring matter to life. Sometimes that matter is not physical like a sketch. Your matter might be a transference of an idea, the rearing up of a person, or the feeling of being noticed or safe. Your inspiring thoughts come alive and make a difference on the rest of us.

jude-beck-552165
Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

During this Valentine’s season, take a moment to share some self-love with you. Consider what good you share and breathe in some meaning back into the things you do that you might have lost touch with. Then take a moment to consider someone around you, either a loved one, co-worker, or the person next to you at the traffic light. Consider the good they’re sharing and why we need him or her in this world. You may even be able to let them know, even if it looks like a random thumbs up and smile from the lady in the car next door 🙂