We are responsible for our own thoughts, feelings and actions. We can only control our own behavior and choices. These are phrases that govern our household as we learn self-control, personal responsibility, accountability, motivation and follow through. Helpful concepts and true in their own right but they are not enough.
Daily management and personal growth can come from within. Learning resilience and survival skills as an individual are reasonable steps to take. If we want to have a noticeable impact on our environment, our systems, our world, however, we must work in collective.
What does it take to harness the group’s energy? What does it look like when we are working cooperatively? What is the power of the many to effect necessary change for the better?
We live in a polarized world. Opinions are strong and they are divergent. The more we are isolated into groups based on differences, the weaker we become to speak out against practices that are unlawful, inhumane, unjust and inequitable. The farther we get down the path of good for me without the context of greatest good for all, the harder it becomes to navigate our way back to practices that are sustainable for any meaningful length of time.
I have long appreciated the concept of strength in numbers – for the collective-based meaning as well as the literal interpretation of data serving to provide a strong foundation for reason. Recently I came across this extended quote from Richelle Goodrich, author of Smile Anyway:
There is strength in numbers, yes, but even more so in collective good will. For those endeavors are supported by mighty forces unseen.
For a person who does not thrive in highly populated social situations, this is a most welcome interpretation. That there is power in collective virtually, through emotion, thought, intention and purpose. If we can agree on greatest good, if we can extend our mutual good will toward common initiatives that serve us all from a place of health, there is infinite power to be had and incredible potential for change.
Where can you contribute your energy to the collective? Would you like it to be in person? Do you seek a tribe? Where in your geographic proximity might there be an untapped resource that can support you? That is waiting for just the talent you have to share?
What good will can you extend to the universe? Can you set the intention for the greater good from a place of wholeheartedness and feel the return of that energy back to you? Do you feel the difference in your own, individual, thoughts, feelings and actions when they are formed and fostered in the spirit of the whole? How do your behavior and choices shift by coupling your efforts to that of the collective?
May we be virtuous stewards of all that we can control of ourselves and contribute to the best of the greater good, creating power in numbers, indivisible with the strength of benevolence.