It seems we always have the choice: to remain a builder
of fences or to enter the stream that ignores all fences.
Running for U.S. Congress, I witnessed how we as a nation are divided and saw the direct effects this is taking on our relationships and communities. We are in a world where the truth is often hard to find, and our differences are creating divisions in ways many of us have never experienced. The headlines we read are in contrast to scientific data, which shows our world is experiencing more progress in humanity than ever before.
My race focused on making space for everyone at the table and recalling the self-evident truths of our nation. I call these the Civil Graces–the ideals that connect us to that vision a more perfect union. Together we can bring solutions to the issues that affect us all. Our diversity is actually what makes us stronger and individually we are better when we are open to the possibility of new ideas.
Growing up in a family of 12 kids and now having my own family, I know we work best and can overcome any challenge when we work together. We had dinner every night at a big table where everyone had a place. We shared hospitality, gratitude, and ideas. I continue that tradition with my own family and that image of a table with room for everyone is possible for America.
Throughout our history, our communities and our country are capable of great things when we work together and strive to reach our common ground. We all long to have similar elements: we want to be loved, to feel safe, and to live a life of meaning. The image of the fingerprint heart represents that we all have a unique identity, and yet by coming together, we have areas that connect and form the heart…our common ground.
One way to find common ground is through dialogue which is a process of interactive listening to find the connections rather than to express a point of view. I learned about this process at the Fetzer Institute as we worked to understand what it meant to build a community based on unconditional love, freedom, and wholeness. This practice requires awareness and discipline to be open to receiving what is being shared rather than assuming we know. We make a choice to listen with the heart of understanding rather than a mind full of fear. We can transform our world if we are willing to take a place at the table and join in the dialogue with each other.
The Civil Graces Project is a dedicated space for creating that community. This “virtual table” is set with inspiration, hope, awareness, ideas on authentic happiness, and a vision of a better world for all of us. My hope is the Civil Graces Project will help re-member our community connection and promote those ideas through workshops, our website www.civilgraces.com, and upcoming events. I hope you will join in the dialogue!