Have you ever taken a step that leads you on a totally unexpected, but life-nourishing journey? Recently I took that step: a trip to Ghana as guest teacher with a group of young university students from the U.S.
Our theme was race and identity. We posed a few questions: Who am I? Whose am I? What do I stand for? What grounds me? As we pondered the questions, doors unexpectedly opened not only for the students, but also for me. I found in myself a hunger that was deeper than expected, further hidden than I remembered. My hunger was for belonging, for community, for soul-satisfying nourishment.
In Ghana, I was profoundly reminded of how easy it is to slip into the script of a culture that focuses almost exclusively on the individual, a culture that has lost sight of the value of the collective, a culture where we distract ourselves with daily minutia that leaves us exhausted and depleted. When we buy into this script, it is easy to lose our deep regard for and connection to one another.. We lose our way and we can no longer flourish.
While in Ghana, together, we were reminded of the importance of consciousness, of finding our intentional community where we’re loved and honored simply because we’re human beings. It is here where we have a shared sense of community and a shared sense of values, history, and possibility for the future. We share a deep regard for creativity and the innate creative capacity of others, and we have a deep appreciation for all things cultural, social, and spiritual, for all that nourishes the collective. For when the collective is nourished, it flourishes, and the individuals within it also flourish.
As for the polarity that we create between the individual and the community… how will we work to remove this schism? We must attend to the human community – our relationships with family, friends, and even strangers. We must choose that which is life affirming and life giving. We did it in Ghana. I know we can do it at home.
Pass It On!