During a workshop at a recent gathering of Unitarian Universalists, those present were asked to articulate their dream for the world. I summed up my dream in two words: Radical Relatedness.
I dream of a world in which people are radically related with one another… where our care and compassion for people overcomes our fear, busy-ness, judgment, and apathy. If this radical sense of relationship were to expand from community to community, I expect we would see a transformation of our society that could potentially save thousands, if not millions, of lives here and around the globe. As the effects of climate change grow in intensity and scope, it will be our care and compassion for one another that will be most needed for our shared survival. Radical relatedness would provide a vital source of hope in these uncertain times.
“You may say, I’m a dreamer… but I’m not the only one.” How can we initiate such a metamorphosis of human nature to build truly compassionate communities?
Many years ago I attended a continuing education program at a Christian retreat center in Maryland. I bought a t-shirt at the gift shop with the words “How to Build Community” on the front (along with a lovely utopian picture) and a list of things to do to build community written on the back. (See the photo below.*)
Some of these have been explored in other posts on this site, so maybe you already do some of these things. Maybe you can take on something new, and maybe you can bring some others along with you. Perhaps you have some other ideas to add to the list!
What’s one thing you could add to your way of being that would inspire radical relatedness in your neighborhood, school, office, faith community, or in your own family?
Could the simple ideas on this t-shirt save the world? Perhaps not, but it would be a good place to start.
To go deeper into the concept of radical relatedness and compassionate communities, I recommend Karen Armstrong’s “Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life” and invite you learn about the Compassionate Cities Campaign (Clarkston, Decatur and Atlanta are on the list!). http://charterforcompassion.org/cities-what-is-compassion
*Photo of my shirt that is very well worn. For “Build Community” and related products, see https://www.syracuseculturalworkers.com/. Very limited supply of t-shirts still available!