As we continue to work on learning about and honoring the pronouns that all of us prefer when giving identity to gender, it occurs to me that it might also be good to start the year giving greater consideration to the ways we balance (or fail to balance) our attention to "me vs. them" and "mine vs. theirs." One thing is for sure, our culture tells us to look after me and mine, not them and theirs.
It is important that we all give attention to ourselves...our well-being, our physical and emotional health, etc. Any attempt at giving attention to others will be thwarted and undermined if we fail to attend to ourselves in these ways. But where is the line? When do we cross over into selfishness, false pretense, and greed? How many material things is enough? When have we done enough self-care? What crosses the line between healthy self-esteem and arrogance?
I certainly don't pretend to know the answers to all these questions, except to the extent that I am trying to understand them in my own life. What I do know is that our obsession with the self threatens our ability to have empathy for others and be of true service to them. So what do we do with this? How do we reflect on our own tendencies to overlook "them" because we are so entangled with our own needs and desires?
One of the things I am challenging myself to do is take a deeper look at an old quote I've seen a million times: "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but rather, we are spiritual beings having a human experience." It occurs to me that I can get caught up in paying so much attention to my human experience that I forget to nurture my spiritual nature! In my life, once that happens, I am no longer authentically "tuned in" to the experiences of others.
Ultimately, this is not a pronoun issue is it? More accurately, it is an issue of working as hard on our spiritual being as we do on our human experience. The imbalance of these adds to the mess in the world, but the balance of them is a true miracle. I invite you to join me in the search for our authentic spiritual selves as a way to do our part in making the world a better place for everyone.
Happy New Year!