What do we mean when we say Unity
I see many public calls for Unity.
Those calls land on me like empty slogans instead of inspiration.
Why do they feel so unsatisfying?
If Unity were as easy as saying, “Folks!! Listen up. I just had a great idea, maybe we should be unified” then we would just all cheer and say “Whoa. Good idea. Count me in”.
We know from our own experiences that wanting to be unified with one person is hard, much less 10 or 20 people, and then when you want a whole country to be unified – that is a major commitment.
If we are serious about creating Unity as a country, we have to talk about what makes it difficult to achieve. When we are realistic about those challenges, it allows us to come up with solutions that have a real chance at working.
I look back on team collaborations of 10 to 50 people for some insight into when we felt strongest as a team and when our Unity collapsed. Wildly different factors went into those team dynamics. Things like moods, personal life events, societal events and our collective successes or failures. I isolate two factors as the primary contributors to success:
- explicit, detailed conversation about what we wanted to unify around
- willingness of each participant to explore their inner world.
The conversations around our purpose of being together were often eye-opening. I often expected we were all thinking the exact same thing. It’s amazing how differently we perceive situations. Open talks expanded my understanding and allowed me to see possibilities I didn’t think of. It was better to compromise and get a real commitment than a superficial agreement where people had little real interest in the goals.
Doing the inner work was harder. Hearing different perspectives is often uncomfortable. “Why can’t they just agree with me or see if like I do. My view just makes sense”. Ha! It seems so silly to write those words, but how many times was I thinking exactly that?
Why did what someone else said make me so angry? Or why did that person get so angry at what I said?
The best team I worked with was open and willing to go deep into these self explorations.
Until it wasn’t.
Eventually someone would no longer be open to that discussion and it would threaten to blow up our Unified team. Sometimes, we could talk it through and carry on. Sometimes that person would leave the group.
I want our country to be unified.
We need to create the conditions for that to succeed. We need to practice the skills that make Unity possible. Open conversations about what Unity looks like for us. Supportive groups that practice supporting each other to go deeper into our inner lives. That exploration of what we really want, being transparent with others about our fears, foibles and desires is what will forge a real collective bond. As we experience that in our local, small groups, we can form an interwoven network across the country that is more authentic, empathic and really desiring Unity.
David M. Green has worked in the for profit and nonprofit sector and is dedicating the remainder of his earth time to projects that bring people together for a healthier, more unified planet. Current projects include www.usvaluesalliance.com and www.weallcalifornia.org