Who Are We, Really?

When I witness divide among people, I feel like I just want those involved to remember who they really are and what they’re doing here. How did people get to be combative, greedy, separated? Why are so many people battling each other, and life, all the time? It’s a big deal. Human history is largely brutal for the collective and the individual.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. I spend my focus imploring people to see the good in themselves and in others, to surround themselves with supporters and soulful people, and to encourage others to do the same. This shift in lens from fighting to cooperating draws out our true nature – our nature is to love and to connect.

Decades ago, my town was in the eye of a major hurricane. The damage was startling. I remember details like there being twelve trees felled on my street so our neighborhood was imprisoned. I remember manually lighting the gas over to heat the house. I remember being rescued by a friend with a butane curling iron, because once you got out of the area you still had to look good.

But what I remember most was the people. I met neighbors I never knew existed. People pitched in and lent tools, lent labor, and shared food. People played board games and wrote letters (on paper!). We bonded. We connected. There was no battling among neighbors; there was only love and cooperation. No one complained; they just helped. And although life was a battle for me around the time, I melted into the truth of who we really are – loving, connected souls.

Flash forward. A decade ago through my work, I met a woman named Victoria. She was well-known and had been dubbed the Turkey Lady. Apparently, on one fateful day before Thanksgiving, a group of teenagers thought it would be fun to throw a frozen turkey out of their car. Victoria was driving home from her niece’s recital when the turkey smashed through the windshield of her car, ripped open her face and crushed her esophagus. Barely surviving, she spent months recovering, undergoing reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation.

But she showed up for the sentencing of the crime’s mastermind, 19-year-old Ryan. To everyone’s shock, she spoke of forgiveness and leniency. She told the court she felt Ryan’s remorse and she did not want him to rot in prison. She feared that the experience would turn him into a hardened criminal and preferred he use the experience to turn his life around.