Jenny Kuderer: Let us move toward a culture of thriving, not dividing

February 3, 2019

As we approach Valentine’s Day, a holiday too often fueled by consumerist expectations and a very narrow conception of the virtue of love, I believe it would an auspicious time for all of us to reflect on the profound power inherent in endeavoring to love our neighbors as ourselves. In this highly divisive time, with leadership that seeks to stir the fires of animosity and division rather than embolden the quiet fires of compassion and kindness, let us pause to remember that our strength as a community is indeed found in our unity.

The word community is actually derived from Latin words meaning “with/together” and “gift.” What a wonderful reminder it is that when we come together with our gifts of engagement and open-heartedness and inquiry, we are able to make a seismic shift in the ways that our neighbors and friends feel when they are in our midst.

Rather than focusing on difference as negative, we can celebrate diversity while deeply respecting the reality that the same mortal heart beats within us all.

From this position of strength and mutual care, there seems little that would remain impossible with a concerted, focused effort and the intention to truly have a positive influence on all those we encounter.

When the nightly news seems to offer little fodder to uplift the spirit, it would behoove us to remember the goodness found within each of us that only needs tending and that can be immeasurably strengthened by the gathering of the collective. The resources to tip the scales in favor of gratitude and true communal thriving are there if we only turn off the flicker of the screens and mine the beauty within ourselves, our families, our neighborhoods, and our cities and towns. Fear-mongering and mere survival need not be our reality and never ought to be our aspiration.

Let us amplify strides toward self-actualization into leaps toward true communal flourishing and see what the true meaning of abiding in greatness really is.

Jenny Kuderer, Goodview

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