Connection & Resolve

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Morning Moment | Connection & Resolve 🍂 I had a few really wonderful conversations this weekend that spurred me into rumination. Those who have met me know, not much is required to prompt me into a philosophical conversation about human behavior.

Pulling these two cards (Shark and Buffalo) this morning pushed me to consider where we have arrived as a human race. True, we have made monumental leaps but in some respects we have failed to let go of some very old stories, archetypes, beliefs, and modalities that perpetuate a non-evolutionary reality. Ascribing these patterns to “power, fear, and hatred” (as I shared earlier this week) serves to place the blame on one side. Fire requires oxygen and social oxygen is in large supply these days.

Buffalo and Shark, though seemingly opposite creatures, both offer varying metaphors to arrive at the same outcome. Buffalo offers us her story, teaching us lessons of mistakes, shame, forgiveness, humility, and connection. Though a victim of greed, she defies the expected and remains noble in her essence. Shark on the other hand, witnessed as an aggressor, teaches us about ignorance, struggle, and resolve. Feared and respected for his threatening presence, Shark forces us to consider the effects of unwieldy power and the darker sides of suppressing vulnerabilities. Two sides of the coin or positions on either side of the table; we must consider both: Connection & Resolve.

What causes connection and how do we achieve it? In the traditional sense we feel connection when our mind, heart, or spirit feel tethered to someone or something. Like imprinting, connection feels good. It is perceived as safe, nurturing, and unified. It offers a feeling, despite imperfection, that we will find forgiveness and grace when we stretch ourselves and, perhaps, make mistakes. Connection offers both overt and covert bonds that propel us to be invested in something larger than ourselves. It fills our yearning heart with a feeling of fullness and eases our existential query of existence. On good days, connection makes us one - a community. On bad days, it divides.

Here is where the metaphors of Shark and Buffalo intertwine. A symbol of resolve, Shark emboldens our human traits of tenacity, power, fortitude, and fight. In simple measure, these traits can be admirable. When faced with adversity, finding resolve is essential to the day-to-day demands of simply maintaining and, as with any struggle, ensures we win. However, taken to the extreme, Shark’s story can lead to polarization. A desire to overcome without regard to the impact of one’s position on another’s; to become the victor regardless of the demise inflicted elsewhere.

Having little concern for the impact of your actions on another can result in personal, familial, community, and societal dis-ease. It infiltrates the minds, hearts, and spirits of the “other” and can birth a “victim’s story” founded on blame, resentment, and hatred. The victor sits in one room while the other sits in another. A community once connected is easily divided and separated when an individual (or the desire of one group) fails to consider their impact on the whole.

Sitting at the bedside, tending to bodies, minds, and souls - I witnessed these forces at work on many levels. From the very cells within our body to the structures of the healthcare system. I knew conflict (or a transfer to the ICU) was inevitable when polarization (a failure to work together to maintain equilibrium) from organs, providers, patients, and families grew. Coming back from this cliff is harder than you can imagine. When the temperatures rise, emotions escalate. It becomes challenging to quench the hunger of righteousness. Like the extremes of Buffalo and Shark, we back ourselves into a corner and find ourselves pushing forward viscerally - without diplomacy - so we can achieve the outcome we think is right.

Resolve in this example depreciates the value of community. What was once one organism, or system, is now divided. To heal the wounds, energy needs to be diverted, either immediately - in the case of an emergency - or in the long-run when denial sits at the table.

Today - in our communities, we are witnessing this level of polarization. While I am but one person and my ideas and ideals are as singular and flawed as the next, I do believe that what we need now is silence. Stop talking. Stop yelling. Stop hating. When the fury of the moment forces energy to a tipping point, we find ourselves in chaos. On a physiological level, when faced with fear and panic, the simplest step toward equilibrium is to “breathe” and “listen” to your body.

In an individual, this leads to oxygen infusing our brain which in turn sends a signal to our nervous system to disengage the “fight or flight” response allowing for a level of safety to ground ourselves. In a community, stepping back (i.e. pausing and taking a breath) permits us to observe the milieu of the moment and allows wisdom to witness the activities. When we actively and consciously choose to “pause”, neutrality and objectivity have an opportunity to assess and evaluate the situation. Much like oxygen arriving at the brain and notifying the nervous system to shift toward cautious calm - we are able to find solutions to our problems and recall that each individual (defined as one person and/or a group) is as important to the whole as the other.

None of us, no matter how noble we perceive our cause, can say we haven’t walked in either pair of these shoes. And for that matter, wearing one pair over the other limits our options simply through the reduction of choice. I have practiced “pause” for years. Perched on a stump of cautious calm, consciously and objectivity witnessing the activities of our human behavior, I have resolved to commit myself to connection. I am not an activist. I am not a pacifist. I am a social thinker and I question everything. I ask hard questions that others are afraid to ask. And I have practiced for decades, how to craft my message to encourage those individuals or groups who feel backed into a corner (either through self-imposed choices or the demeaning behaviors of others) to come forward in a controlled manner to be seen, to be safe, and to be heard.

Dedicated to community, I encourage you to consider the many faces of Buffalo and Shark and, while in that process, take a moment to consider your position to uncover what common-ground we all are searching for. I believe life is less about winning as it is about equilibrium. Highs and lows create discourse, just as polarization wedges community and causes chaos. I have hope that one day we will have the resolve to create a new, evolutionary story of connection.

#hope #connection #resolve #animalwisdom #buffalowisdom #sharkwisdom #faunainspiration #consciousliving #livingconsciously #findingessentia #aveclavie


Rebecca LefebvreComment