There are huge concepts to try to internalize – both what happens under our feet to cause earthquakes and how an earthquake in Japan can cause water to slam into Chile. But every befuddling attempt opens us up to a larger view of life than the one we had just moments ago. It allows for bigger thinking, more generosity and more purpose to guide our lives.
So, along with literal closeness there’s an opportunity to live a closer life with the people in Japan suffering from the reverberations of an earthquake…and everywhere. I believe there are ways we can help – because we all have the impulse to help. There are of course opportunities to donate to various relief organizations.
But there is also a way to let our place in the world be a felt experience, to see the connecting threads to everyone we know and meet. We can notice how each small action we and others take pull on myriad invisible strings that affect others in ways that we can’t even begin to imagine.
And we can, in this moment, let the concept of interdependence, a keystone of collaborative teams, in a little more fully. Gandhi said, “Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being. Without inter-relation with’ society he cannot realize his oneness with the universe or suppress his egotism. His social interdependence enables him to test his faith and to prove himself on the touchstone of reality…And if one may take the help from one’s own family, why not from one’s neighbours? Or otherwise what is the significance of the great saying, ‘The world is my family’?”
Gandhi’s word sound true, but how does that look in our every day? What would our days look like if we made client calls, sent out proposals, sat in meetings, commuted, made dinner, went shopping from the perspective of ”the world, each person whose life touches me today, is my family”?
And if the earth is constantly changing, perhaps we are too. Perhaps situations in our life that appear intractable are actually in motion towards a new life. And the quakes we feel in our lives, the conflicts that smash against each other and cause tidal waves of feeling to crash against our internal shores, perhaps when held with a whole heart and mind, perhaps they are serving to bring us closer, not only to others in our lives, but to the one and only life we were born to live on this restless earth.
This post is part of a series by Rob Fletcher that examines the power of purpose to engage, inspire, energize and build happiness. Purpose, or meaning, is what happens when you connect your individual life and work with something larger than just you. This is the point where you meet the world. The power of purpose is explored in Quixote Consulting’s Charity Team Building and Collaborative Team Building events.