Borrow The Sugar

What does it take to come back into relationship with each other and our beautiful planet?  Why is it important? What shifts when we do? Daniel Aldrich in Building Resilience: Social Capital in Post-Disaster Recovery suggests that it is our social capital – the wealth generated by relationships – that literally saves the day.

How do we shift, turning our attention to rekindling relations? Sometimes, it actually isn’t that hard. We need simply an excuse, a context to breakout of the trances many of us spend hours in each day. It is the same trance — rush, be efficient, get whatever job needs doing done. I am frequently amazed at how easy it is to forget to be alive.

YES Magazine’s March, 2019 issue titled DIRT that ended with this short animated article. Have a look:

Download Borrow The Sugar

Could it be this simple? Could we build neighborhoods and communities and lives we really want by turning to each other for help? Could it be that the Nuu-chah-nuluth peoples of Vancouver Island have it right when they say it is unkind not to ask for help.  Check out Tsawalk, a beautiful book by Umeek for more of the wisdom of these people.

Turn the clock back a century or two and we were mostly hunters and growers and makers on this planet. We tilled the soils. We hunted and gathered game and fish and plants. We made what we could to make our lives better. We kept what we needed and traded with our neighbors. Sometimes we had surplus which we exchanged with people from other communities. We lived in a strong web of relationships. We lived in a multi-sensorial relationship with the earth and its rhythms.  Listening to the land and each other was essential.

Morris Berman, in The Wandering God: A Study of Nomadic Spirituality, suggests that it was the movement into the agricultural era that we first began to create consistent surplus, which required the need for storage, which necessitated the creation of structures of authority which prospered best when they successfully claimed a divine source of their authority. Surplus necessitated our journey into a more transactional economy.

Borrow the Sugar shows a step beyond transaction.  It is a pathway for rekindling relationships. Seems likely that, show of complete breakdown and collapse we’ll still engage in many transactions – care for aging parents in facilities, rather than at home; eating food we buy that someone else has grown and/or prepared; buying stuff from distant sellers with whom we have no relationship; borrowing from banks rather than from friends in community.

Perhaps we could remember how to share our sugar!

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We’re all in this together. Most of us know that our own ideas are only part of what’s needed to move forward.  Sometimes we grudgingly admit that the perspective of another has value. From time to time we remember that unless it works for all of us, it doesn’t really work for any of us.

AND, it is challenging to bring people with different perspectives, experience, values and beliefs into the same room and have more than rhetoric, stoney silence, posturing and mind-numbing arguments.

Communities have diverse, knowledge, resources and capacities. When we bring the people together across difference to share stories and experiences, successes and failures, magic happens. We help people in place-based communities, groups tackling particular issues, businesses and organizations get real with each other, respecting each other enough to share their experiences and their truths without blame or judgement.

We know that most people just want a good life for themselves, their families and friends. Unfortunately, we’re in a time when the knee-jerk reaction is to find someone else to blame for our problems. We’re quick to “other” people and make up stories about those with a different viewpoint. Time to stop that. Time to slow down and listen for a change. We can help.