We, the World | Being Somewhere We Belong

Message from Rick Ulfik, Founder of We, The World and the WE Campaign at WE.net

It is an honor and an inspiration for We, The World to collaborate with Kosmos Journal for 11 Days of Global Unity this year! I was deeply moved by all the submissions that Kosmos collected based on one or more of our 11 Global Unity Themes.


By Laura Titzer

In the sky, geese flock together. Each goose flies slightly above the one in front of her in a long V formation creating wind resistance. The geese take turns being in the front, falling back when they get tired and, in so doing, conserve energy. In this way, the geese can fly for a long time before they must stop for rest. They have momentum and understand that they are interdependent and stronger because of this. Even if one becomes injured and falls out of formation, a few geese will fall back with her until she’s healed.

Our culture of individualism may see interdependence as a potential weakness. This is not a co-dependence on each other but a series of relationships that depend on one another creating strong communities and movements. Our stories are already intertwined. My story is linked to your story. We are already interdependent without even realizing it.  Geese have discovered that they can reach their destination more quickly and with less energy when they fly together in formation. So too could we move through our journey with less energy if we pull together and realize the strength within each node and thread of our emergent moment.

Building strong relationships within broader networks has been on the rise. From non-profits to thought writers, the words ‘weaving,’ ‘webbing,’ and the ‘networked nonprofit’ are being talked about across the board. This isn’t a new idea. Some of us have been doing this work for some time. We are at the cusp of beginning to truly understand interdependence but are still in the beginning stages of this journey. This is a place where we rely on everyoneon emergence, on learning and teaching with others. We’ve been on our own, or so it seems, working dedicatedly with heads burrowed. Now, we’re seeking others to create change. There’s a realization of the joy it brings to pull more and more people into the fold of our work, even sharing leadership, so that we don’t exhaust ourselves. It’s our time for lovers so that we capture harmony, passion, and fulfilling relationships. This is not the traditional sense of lovers. This is the necessity and yearning to revive the Greek word agape which is to extend love to all people, unconditionallymuch like the loving kindness meditation of Buddhism, where we extend love beyond our circle of colleagues, family, and friends. Lovers are those who help to positively push one another forward. They allow separate identities while also fitting together. There is a grace here that does not consist of flapping our wings, but letting the wind carry us.

Currently, we reside in a land of polarities, leaving us feeling ever more topsy-turvy as the divides continue to cut deeper. Even more, we are all a mix of contradictions and paradoxes. Our challenge is creating temperance within this space so that our journey of social change can continue to flourish. Temperance is forming more interdependent relationships using agape. It creates a balance of new order with creative destruction, birth, and renewal. Temperance brings together the polarities and forces that seem to be opposite, if we choose to accept this challenge. If left unchecked, these forces could destroy each other. We each will have the opportunity to play the role of the moderator on this journey of social change. This challenge lies internally as much as it does externally. As we move forward, creating balance amongst polarities, we will have to face and hold all our own, and others’, contradictions. May we bear witness for others and be witnessed by the same.     

Some of us may be inflexible and resistant of change because of the fear of the unknown. We’re comprised of people who are dedicated and loyal to our own mission. With this determination and loyalty, we can get stuck working only on our specific issues, turning collaboration into transactions. We are careful not to fully step into interdependence because we only want to promote what directly impacts ourselves. People in this place get caught up and struggle to see the whole system, its patterns, and interrelationships. A movement’s strength comes directly from its design of interlaced connectors. Breaking one connection puts others at risk. If we do not see how we are already connected, we risk weakening the movement. Much like the geese helping one that falls from the formation, we must also, at times, pull back to work with others so that our own formation can stay strong. As the contradictions may make us want to leave some out, we must find ways to consistently and  relentlessly engage and include everyone.

The challenge for those in this space is that they will encounter difficult and powerful emotions. And yet, we all contain within ourselves the potential for each emotional state. We have the power to decide on our emotions. The work of interdependence will be challenging, for it will surely pull a spectrum of emotions as polarities within ourselves and others are teased out. Therefore, our first challenge of balance and moderation will be key in helping with this second challenge. Emotions will run high in this work, if for no other reason than our passion. We have a choice as to whether we succumb to them or parse them out for what they may be trying to tell us. Here, we must open our heart.

What is our uniting force amongst such challenges as we seek change? The answer lies in community, network, and sharing. It lies within allowing ourselves and others to be vulnerable. Our collective liberation is waiting for us to throw down the dominant narratives and realize our interdependence. What lies ahead will be wonderful and scary. To prepare, we must build community and rethink how we’re collaborating. Relying on each other is not a weakness; it’s our strength during a time that wants us to divide and remain divided. We help each other by realizing agape and bearing witness. We must value, strengthen, and broaden our relationships and communities. Wholeness is expressed through connection not isolation.