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The New 4th of July: Interdependence Day

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I was recently invited to address a gathering of clergy who are being trained to serve as resident chaplains in the pastoral care department of a major urban medical center. Specifically, they asked me to present the shamanic point of view of team building with an emphasis on creating alliances and community.

What a fascinating assignment. I immediately sat myself down to give some serious thought to the substance of their request. After much rifling through of books and files as well as several sessions of deep meditation on the topic at hand, I realized that there is no such thing.

From a shamanic point of view (as well as quantum scientific thought) separation is a false concept. It is redundant to think of reaching out to build teams, alliances and communities, since we are already all connected, allied, joined together as one. The fact is there is no such thing as opposing sides.

There is only one side: just us folks, all of us everywhere, trying to live life as best we can, much more alike than different. There is no us and them. There is only us. We -- all of us who occupy this planet: organic and inorganic; living and not; past, present and future --are the world.

We come from our Mother Earth and return to her belly. We are made of the same substance as the sea, the soil, the stars. There are, and ever have been, only so many molecules in existence, and all the rest -- birth, growth, death, decay, development, change, evolution, transformation -- is really just about recycling.

We breathe the same air as our cave-dwelling ancestors, continually inhaling and exhaling, trading carbon dioxide and oxygen with our plant relatives untold billions of times over the millennia. And the same holds true for water. We drink the tears of crocodiles and elephants. We wash in the drainage of the ages. It rains, it pools, it evaporates. We drink, we pee. Again and again and again in a grand scale cosmic round robin.

All borders and boundaries and separations are pure illusion. Each time we touch someone we leave some of our skin atoms behind and pick up a parcel of new ones in an intimate epidermal exchange. Thus we merge, quite literally becoming part of each other. I am you and you are me and we are we. We are all in this together, inextricably bound, riding on our beautiful blue planet through space and time. We are one team, one community, one world, one living, breathing entity. And the sooner we realize it, the happier, safer and saner we will be.

Today we are surrounded by artificial division, manipulated resentment and fear-mongered anxiety. The real dynamic being played out right now is not about conflicting religious, economic or nationalistic factions. It is not even about war. The struggle is actually between those who believe that the world is defined in terms of contrast, of black and white opposition -- good or evil, right or wrong, war or peace, with us or against us -- and those who are able to see things in a more harmonious, holistic and congruent manner.

These are deciding times. It is imperative for those of us who perceive the big picture to make a concerted effort to reach out in ever-expanding circles of affinity, support and empathetic embrace. Now is the time to create healthy, functioning networks in recognition and in honor of our mutual state of being and our common fate.

Let us come out of the cocoon closets of our isolated, separate selves and set our intentions on unity. Let us come together to make connections. To make friends. To make sense. To make art. To make amends. To make whoopy. To make time. To make magic. To make love. To make change. To make peace in our hearts and on the planet.

Let us project ourselves outward as cooperative partners; as interconnected members of our families, communities, species and world; as consciously coexistent inhabitants of our planet, and as conscientious co-creators of our combined future. Life on Earth depends upon our interdependent efforts.

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