Circle of interconnection
by Sue Robin, Los Angeles, California
We come into this world, not a tabula rasa, but with lots to learn. We move from a circle of total self-absorption to an ever-greater circle that embraces the interconnectedness of all things. If we are taught well, it allows us to appreciate and treasure life and all its nuances.
Many years ago, a teacher handed out cards to her class of twenty students. On each card was a photo of a plant, an animal, an insect, a river, or some other part of nature. She then tossed a ball of yarn to one student and told them to keep tossing the yarn across and around the circle.
When all the hands were connected by the yarn, the teacher said, “Let’s see what would happen if any one of these things disappeared.” With that, she pointed to the student with the picture of the wolf and asked that she drop her hands from the web. She then asked those who were prey of the wolves to drop their piece of the web. Then those who were impacted by the loss of the prey and so on. It did not take long for the students to see the interconnectedness of all things and the devastation that is caused if we lose any part of the extraordinary web woven by Mother Nature. The children learned swiftly, but unfortunately adults are much slower to grasp this lesson.
Too many of us do not know what it means to take care of ourselves. No, it does not mean frequent spa days or lavish meals, but the true kind of nurturing that allows one the full breadth of their feelings: the tears, laughter, creativity and boredom – all treated with equal reverence.
Some people never move out of the sphere of self-absorption. They go to their graves believing they are the most important person on the planet. Drug addicts who live for their next high. Politicians who believe only they have the right way. There are CEOs who think their title makes them more deserving than the clerk in the office or the housekeeping staff. There are religious leaders who think they can teach one thing and do another or that their work supersedes all other work. The reality though is that we are all alive on this planet, and we all have our part to play.
The CEO who disrespects any part of his staff does a disservice to his company and community. The High Priest of the Russian Orthodox Church who claims the war in Ukraine is a just war has forgotten his bible. The minister preaching about respect and peace who does not tend to his own family contributes to the diminution of that family, and to the world community. The world leader who decides to invade another country does that on a devastating scale.
There is an old story about a father who had ‘important’ work to do but was with his young child who needed attention. The parent decided to make a puzzle for the child that he was sure would give him the needed half-hour to complete his work. A photo of the earth from a magazine was cut into many pieces and, with a relieved smile, the dad set it in front of the child. He was only ten minutes into his needed thirty minutes when the child was back, tugging at him to look at the completed puzzle. The father was in awe. He asked her how she had done it so quickly. The child looked up at her father and said, “I put the picture of the man together and the world took care of itself.” The father turned over the puzzle and saw that on the back was an image of a person.
Every mother wishes to leave their offspring a better world. One filled with peace and prosperity, respect and security. In real life though, the only thing one can leave a child is the ability to nurture his own soul and the sense of being connected to all of life in some small way.