Connection in Practice
I am part of a group that has a very pointed approach. Their basic tenet is to create a space where difficult life questions are not only accepted, but also encouraged. The rules? Engage, and be kind. While there isn’t always kindness, or engagement (we are dealing with a group of real humans), it has been a amazing group in which to ask hard questions and have surprisingly frank discussions. As mentioned last week, connection is leaning into the space between us, creating a link between our varying experiences. This group creates that link by removing the barrier of untouchable subjects.
So what kinds of things does this group discuss and how do they create an environment conducive to connection? I’m excited to dive into this with you, because if we can adopt an idea or two into our personal lives, we will begin to promote the kind of connection so desperately needed in our world.
First off, all good-faith questions are accepted. To be sure, pro and con opinions are offered, but the question asker isn’t criticized for their stupidity in asking such a question. We all have the opportunity to bravely ask, and patiently accept honest questions. Crossing the gulf of shame requires brave vulnerability to ask a question. I have to be willing to ask a question, reaching out a hand towards creating that connection. Patiently answering questions takes a special kind of tenacity and grace, which stretches out a hand of connection from the other side of the discussion.
Secondly, this group has administrators that are willing to shut down conversations that are not being carried out in good faith. You may not always be part of groups that have a designated administrator. But we all have the ability to see when words are causing harm. In those moments we can step in to patiently and calmly state the harm and the effect.
Lastly, this groups has incredible engagement. Individuals pose questions, carry out lengthy discussions, and pray for one another. There have also been instances of material assistance given to those in need. What greater example of connection than being able to disagree while also praying for and helping one another?
We can create connection in our own communities by getting comfortable with asking and answering controversial questions, in a kind and engaging manner. Although there will always be disagreement, we promote connection by honoring the person and engaging the discussion. Connection may, at times, require us to close a conversation that is no longer honoring to those involved. However, if we can engage with honest discussion, we will build connection that spans distances, difference, challenges, and disagreements.
We are aware of the magnitude of this subject matter and the inadequate brevity of this post. For more, please reference our podcasts, our 1Community groups, or feel free to email us at Uniquelythesame@mission1race.org.
We also wish to address our inability to consider issues of sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse in our discussions on developing oneness. If you are in an abusive situation of any kind, we encourage you to seek professional or other help, and to realize that this content does not necessarily apply to your situation.