All of us gave to be committed to a life beyond our own aspirations. -Bernice King
I've been pondering "the greater good" a lot lately. A good future for our children, our communities, and our planet depends on all of us seeing beyond individual concerns and personal aspirations. This is not a revelation and the truth within this wisdom is widely understood. However, the integration of this wisdom into the choices we make in our daily lives is a challenge. We may see the big picture and even have strong values related to the collective good, but do our interactions with others, sociopolitical behaviors, and everyday decisions reflect this wisdom? A simple example is recycling in our homes. The choice to separate recyclables is a relatively painless one. Yet, many people continue a lifetime habit of throwing everything away. A bigger and current example is the humanitarian crisis in Haiti. Our hearts may be touched and we may respond with a much needed donation. However, do we see the big picture of how ongoing participation in efforts to dismantle racism is necessary to prevent the anti-Black dynamics operating in the challenges that Haiti is facing now? The choice to be actively anti-racist is a choice for the greater good.
Aligning our values of caring for the collective good with the everyday choices we make requires clarity, intention, and commitment. The daily demands of our lives can sometimes feel like “too much” as we are immersed in trying to achieve our own personal goals and maintain our own households in the midst of the multitude of life stressors we face. However, commitment to life beyond our own aspirations is about awareness of the big picture and its interdependent complexity. This clear and “interconnected seeing” is the foundation for knowing that our choices affect the web of life. When our choices emerge from this ground, we are able to more clearly connect what we do in our daily lives with the greater good.
What choice will you make for the greater good?
With Peace, Love, and Soulfulness,
Dr. Shelly Harrell