standing in mutual awe

This week I was on retreat with the RITW Board of Directors. We spent most of day one sitting by the fireside spinning yarns about our personal purpose. Day two we spent sitting at the loom of our collective imagination to weave mission into strategy and possibility. We also spent a little bit of time considering how our operations compare to those of others, because it’s good for an organization to have a handle on its distinction. 

David Abram, in The Spell of the Sensuous, says, “We are human only in contact and conviviality with what is not human.” We become who we are in relationship with beings who we are not.

I know this to be true for me when I’m standing in the yard with my neighbor Ron, watching our three dogs run, play, and skirmish.  I know this to be true when neighbor Ron tells me of the owl that was perched outside his window the other day and of the pileated woodpecker that he saw down the road this morning. 

As we stand there in mutual awe considering these sitings as gifts, I have a great gladness for my neighbors of human and non-human sorts, each like me in some ways and distinct in others. This all gives me a deeper sense of what it means to be human, and more particularly what it means to be the human that I am.