There's an amazing phrase, used by an incredible man. The phrase is "the dignity of difference" and it was the belief of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. I love this phrase, and I have started to use a similar statement: "let's live together, differently".
This blog is all about each other and the power of being together. It is also about the importance of our differences: the unique qualities we each have that can be shared with others. There is immense strength and benefit not only in numbers, but in difference, and as individuals we need to acknowledge and accept this. Our innate character, skill, creativity, and talents when combined with others are awesome. We see it in nature - the instinctive need to work as a flock, herd, school, or forest. Birds fly and navigate great distances taking turns in leading the way, herds of animals survive by working together to protect young and old, schools of fish join in huge numbers to feed and avoid predation, trees live alongside each other sharing nutrients from the ground and atmosphere. Is it possible we could do the same?
We are faced with great uncertainty in our world. Today as there always has been, is disease, war, poverty, and injustice. This is on a global scale. And sometimes we can feel so insignificant in our role within it all. Overwhelmed and anxious by what we see in the news and media. We ask, “What difference can we make?” and “How can I positively affect people's lives who live in another country? What can I do to save the planet? How can I change the world?”
Well, my answer is simple. You don't. You do not try to change the world on a global scale. You start with the world in which you live. On your doorstep, in your street and neighbourhood there is disease, war, poverty and injustice. This is where you can make a difference. It is in our own lives we can choose to acknowledge and accept the power of coming together and the unique qualities we can bring to the table. It is with us that change, and transformation occur. To quote Mother Theresa, “Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home. Peace and war start within one’s own home. If we really want peace for the world, let us start by loving one another within our families. Sometimes it is hard for us to smile at one another.”
Let's consider how we can come together and show together care.
Creativity can play an important role in our coming together. My belief is that creativity is less about drawing, and more about using what we have in new ways. It is the bringing together of different things and making something new, solving a problem or offering an alternative. We can use our intrinsic creativity to combine our skills and abilities to offer new ways of doing things. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Could you join a community project that helps feed families? Is there a group set up in your street to make the gardens in your community more bee/bird/wildlife friendly? Do you know who your local shop keepers are, and do they work together to reduce litter/improve the appearance of the village/town where they are located? Are there new mums who need support because their extended family lives far away? Is there a local society that works with nature or allotments? Can the older generation be included in teaching and nurturing the younger people in your community?
These simple questions provide solutions to deeper problems. You do not have to travel abroad to make a difference, needs can be met in your own home, place of work, or wider circle of friends and neighbours. For my book Upward, I interviewed people who do make a difference where they are. Every single one of these do this with others, as a team. The documentary film maker works with wildlife experts, groups, and the community. The yogi teaches groups and at retreats. The music producers create alongside orchestras and choirs. The single veteran walking around the UK does do with the support of those he meets along the way.
We were made for each other. I am me because you are you. And together we are a groundswell that transforms the world. Mother Theresa, who gave her life in service to others, worked with teams of people - she was not alone. Her words serve as a beautiful reminder of what we can achieve when we celebrate our differences and utilise them. “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things."
Think about what you can do today to make a difference in your world. Remember you can do small things with great love, and these can change the world. Let's live together, differently. Please share this with a group of people, encouraging others to show together care.
Image via Unsplash