We Belong in a Bundle of Life

Tomorrow night, Bill and I will get on an airplane in Boston and travel to Chennai India (once Madras) for a week at The American International School of Chennai followed by a week exploring southern India.  If you want to come with us, check out Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry and Madurai!

Matrimadir Meditation Dome/Shrine near Pondicherry
Meenakshi Temple in Madurai

We’ve been reading, talking with friends and family who have traveled or lived there  and are ready to be charmed, challenged and moved by our experiences in a culture that could not be more different than our own. I admit that I’m looking forward to a break from the continual political drama and plan to disengage from the constant news feed. I wonder what we’ll encounter there.  How do the actions of our leaders impact a country like India?  Will we feel embarrassed to be American and frustrated by the ways in which our country and people are perceived?  Or perhaps, we will be delighted to find that what is all-encompassing here, is in fact, a non-issue for most people there?  Either way,  I’ve been drawn to Desmond Tutu’s wisdom about the essence of what it means to be human as I’ve prepared for this adventure. No trip to India needed to appreciate his words.

“Ubuntu […] speaks of the very essence of being human. [We] say “Hey, so-and-so has ubuntu.” Then you are generous, you are hospitable, you are friendly and caring and compassionate. You share what you have. It is to say, “My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours.” We belong in a bundle of life. We say, “A person is a person through other persons.”

[…] A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed, or treated as if they were less than who they are.”

I hope that our ubuntu will be evident throughout our travels – that our delight at the opportunities before us, the people we meet, the things we learn about ourselves, each other and the world will guide our way.  We are – as Tutu so eloquently reminds us – part of a bundle of life – connected in very basic human ways.  I imagine that despite the  differences – the spice of our foods, the costumes we wear, the songs we sing, the politicians we love and don’t love, the large and small piles of possessions we surround ourselves with or the God we worship, in the end, our curiosities, our joys and our sorrows connect us in deep and primal ways.

Ideas • Information • Action

Here are a number of organizations doing great work on the midterm elections.  Check them out and choose one that speaks to you.  It’s going to take all of us doing our part to swing the balance of power.

  • Flippable – working on State elections to flip 100 seats.
  • SisterDistrict – also supporting State elections – organized in local teams.
  • League of Women Voters – working on a number of important vote-related issues.
  • Swing Left – targeting 70 specific swing districts to take back the House.

If the midterm elections are not calling to you at the moment check out Wall of Us and their four actions for the week.  I’ve found their postings to be continually inspiring, well-researched, well-written. This week’s actions include celebrating Black History Month, protecting the work of Meuller and supporting Flippable…worth checking out!

Artists at Work

I know this dates me but doesn’t this artwork remind you of the Archie and Veronica/Betty comic books?

two parties

Hope is Evident

I love the PBS News Hour series #BriefButSpectacular and this short talk by Manu Prakash was a beautiful reminder to me of all the different ways there are to make this world a better place. Whether you are a science lover or not – take a few minutes to be inspired.

And finally,

“How does peace come? Peace doesn’t come because allies agree. Allies are allies — they already agree! Peace comes when you talk to the guy you most hate. And that’s where the courage of a leader comes.”  Desmond Tutu

Here’s to the next generation of leaders – and the ways in which we’ll work together to nurture their courage, light their way and support their efforts.

Here’s to you, here’s to us – all in it together.