Dec 28, 2017

Do Your Thing

Making a salad the other night reminded me of the reality of plurality in our world and how competition is overrated as a necessary component of life. The avocado is as valuable as the tomato or the romaine. The sunflower seeds give crunch while the Feta cheese adds flavor. None of the parts makes up the whole by itself, but the whole exists because of the parts. In some way our relationship with one another and to our shared experience is like that.

The idea of being better than others came from school. We were put on teams and our goal was to "beat" the other team. We were given special privileges if we won or out-played them. There was reward only in winning. I am always struck by how, in any level of sport, the "losers" hang their heads and leave the field in disgrace. It is really ridiculous. They played the game! They ought to be celebrated just for being there. But no, only the "winners" get to feel joy. This is a very masculine invention. If the feminine were included, everyone would be honored for their efforts. One trophy might be bigger than the other, but no one would be shamed.

We are trained to compete, when we ought to be encouraged to express. Our own unique talents have a place in the world and success has nothing to do with besting others. Thinking that competition encourages good work is a false belief. There is an element in us that longs to be seen and known for who we really are. That does not require anything but our willingness to reveal our authentic self. We do not have to make someone else "less than" to be seen. The most successful people are those who gave no attention to what anyone else was doing. As Emerson said "Do your thing and I shall know you." We each have a part to play.

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