I've had lots of discussions of late, and have been thinking about the village and how we recognise our particular, what Mark Silver of The Heart of Business calls our 'jewel'.Your jewel is what you are, who you are and what you love to do. Its the prism of light that you reflect. It is also what others need and therefore basic to a very satisfying relationship with the world, as it encompasses the desire to belong, to connect with others, to have a sense of meaning, recognition and appreciation. It seems that in our culture, the modern urban 'Western' culture, it is no longer enough to be that person that everyone knows to go to for ............ Now you have to sell yourself, market yourself to an unknowing world, town or community. To me its yet another sign of our spiritual poverty-we dont know who are the doctors, the healers, the bakers,the listeners, the person who understands animals, the literary experts and so on. Once I believe we knew who they all were; now we are lucky if we know our neighbours.
At one time I lived in the Cook Islands and there we found a place where everyone knew who everyone was and what their jewel was. It was a small island, limited by its sea boundary on all sides. Having a vehicle was of some advantage, but you lived in a confined space where everyone knew everyone. The local cop knew who the likely thief was who stole a bottle of gin from your kitchen. Pretty soon you saw him on the back of the policeman's motorbike, heading back to the station, a small office down near the reef, for questioning. You couldn't escape your community, even if you wanted to.
I know many people who are frustrated, lonely poor and unsatisfied because no one knows them and what they can offer. They may be doing some repetitive task for a crust,in our rest homes watching tv commercials or unemployed. They are probably you who are reading this, unless you are of the minority who work at the heart level and enjoy the fruits of doing what they love and are good at and meeting those who want hat service or thing. It appears to me that the industrialised society has paid a high price for convenience, efficiency, and material wealth.
I like to end my chats on a high note; what can be done, what is being done to change the status quo. I keep coming back to efforts to reclaim the village. The place where potentially, all people are held with respect. I think of the people I know who are engaging in what animal tracker and onetime native American apprentice Jon Young calls Cultural Repair. We will be forced to engage in this process-its this or death. And we want it so badly but have yet to be concious that we do. We still expect institutions to take up the values of the village. They are being crushed by the burden of the failed village, the burning village.
So let us start from today; reading this blog, making dinner, catching the train, wherever we are right now. What are you core values? What do you bring to the world? What do you love like nothing else-when time ceases for you at your task? We want to meet you. We need you.