"We care for our internal identity as a 'me' while also embracing the reality of our interconnected identity as a 'we.' A simple way to remember this important integrated identity is thinking of ourselves as a 'MWe,' a fundamentally related being that we can be proud to call human."
It often feels like may of our problems- our heartbreaks, grief, shame, depression and anxiety-comes from this crazy idea that we are alone. That we have to navigate the ups and downs of what life throws at us, the emotional upheavals, losses and mania of our world, on our own. Do you feel like that? I often do. We forget something very basic. WE ARE NOT IN IT ALONE!
Dr. Dan Siegel, a brilliant neruro-psychiatrist says: "Relationships are the defining feature of being human....Relationships are the most important part of our having well-being in being human. It's that simple. And it's that important."
He goes on to prove that the capacity and ability to self-reflect, to fuss about who we are, what we've done, what comes next...has grown out of relationship! Meaning- We came first, I came second....isn't that amazing?
What I know in my body, in my heart, is that the feeling of connection is when I drop in to the present moment and stop worrying about my weight, my responsibilities, the future, the past, etc...Think about it for a moment. How do you feel when you are with your child in loving connection? When you are melting into your partner? When you are laughing so hard with a friend who completely gets you? Or in my case, Whatsapping all day with my sisters who are my besties? We feel open, relaxed, fluid, satisfied. We feel complete. We don't need to reach for the sugar, beer, or self-flagellation it's so easy to fall into. We are resting in the MWe. And unbelievable, life-changing, magical creations come from this place. The possibilities are endless!
My teacher Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche says "If you want to miserable, think of yourself. If you want to be happy, think of others." I don't think this implies self-care and self-reflection aren't important parts of being alive, but it does show us that it is in our design to care for and about each other. That's what connection, communication and compassion are.
In Awaken The Dance this week, we danced MWe. We danced the possibility of our dance belonging to all the bodies in the room. We danced the possibility of letting go of the fussing and fighting with our mind that holds us back, and dissolving into the larger picture, the one that includes all of us. The looks of deep satisfaction in the dancers, well, wow. We basked in the smiles, the laughter, the joy that radiated in the room. We left relaxed, open, ready for the world. As I pulled out of the parking lot, the dancers lingered in small groups, talking, connecting, being. Beautiful.
Dance Invitation: When you get caught up in your head, in you life....remember that we are all sharing this thing called being alive. We are a MWe. Extend your gaze- where are others around you struggling? How could you reach toward connection? How is your body not so separate, and maybe more similar to other bodies than we think?