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El Paso, Las Vegas, Harvey and Human Connections…

February 24, 2021 at 11:21:25 PM

It feels like the world is coming to an end one moment, while in the next moment we overwhelm ourselves with our own humane caring. Once again, in El Paso, everyday people became heroes when a gunman went on a rampage in Walmart Midst the downpours of Harvey, 1,000 people showed up with boats of all kinds to bring anybody out of rising brown waters to safety Midst automatic gunfire peppering down from above, strangers pushed wheel chairs, and carried one another to safety And millions of relief dollars are raised in a matter of hours These extraordinary events reveal a universal human longing to connect which emerges in the midst of killing fields and murderous fires and floods. And we breathe a collective sigh of relief at our own humanity… hoping against hope that it lasts. But, in truth, we fear that we cannot maintain this level of humane connection given the shrill divisions that fill our social media, media and coffee shops. We seem to be unable to access that deep sense of humanity without a horrifying situation. Culture bump theory assures us that we probably can’t maintain the same level of caring over time, but it also reassures us that we can choose to connect over and over again – without floods or bullets. It further reassures us that the failures to do so can be overcome with knowledge of the process of connecting or disconnecting. In fact, culture bump has been practicing how to reconnect beyond cultural, gender, age and other differences for almost forty years. Indeed, it gives practical Dos and Don’ts for having Conversations for Connection with people who have a different point of view. Fundamentally, we need to be conscious of what we say, when we say it and with whom we say it… Four basic DOS and DON’TS lead to a humane connection. They are: 1. WITH PEOPLE WITH WHOM YOU DISAGREE DO… Pinpoint the difference and Define the universal situation implicit in the issue or incident. (This can be referred to as a culture bump) First, find one specific incident (somebody said or did this or that). Agree that you both disagree with what he/she did or said. Secondly, find at least one larger situation inherent in that “bump”. Don’t continue the conversation but agree to meet again after the next two steps. 2. WITH PEOPLE WITH WHOM YOU AGREE DO… Manage your emotions DON’T assume that you are right simply because like-minded people share your emotional response. Each of us has a set of emotions around various issues, and we intuitively share them with like-minded people. While this is necessary and normal, once we have our feelings validated, continue 3. WITH PEOPLE WITH WHOM YOU AGREE DO… discuss the various ways you would like to resolve the universal situation already defined and the meaning of that solution(s) being a reality. You may have more than one possibility. Once you can agree on one or more solutions, discuss why you all think these solutions are the best – in other words, what would it mean to you to have these solutions implemented. Then return to… 4. PEOPLE WITH WHOM YOU DISAGREE DO… begin your conversation by asking people with whom you disagree, how they find/experience that meaning. DON’T… return to the bump or disagreement until WE have both listened to one another’s meanings … This process is not intuitive and requires a mindfulness to practice. A positive outcome of Harvey, Las Vegas and Florida is the clear knowledge that most of us are willing to go beyond our comfort zones to connect to one another in danger. To continue to nourish that urge for connection and humaneness when bullets stop and flood waters recede requires an effort and a conscious commitment. But it is well worth the effort. An example of six very different individuals who made that commitment can be seen at For latest information on how to connect check (October 8, 2017)

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