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Suzanne Carter | MA, LPC Therapist & Unity Minister
A few years ago, right after I was “laid off” (read fired), I was told by someone that they were no longer in a “relationship” with me since I stopped attending the monthly luncheons that had been connected to the job I had just left.
This person and I always had a very nice connection, or so I thought, but when I was let go, I chose to focus on my private practice and could not attend the luncheons.
I received the “no relationship” message right before beginning a hike on Kenosha Pass in Colorado. The Aspens were nearing their peak in showing the world their enchanting colors.
There is something wonderful about Aspens:
“Rarely is there just one Aspen tree. By their nature, Aspens are not a solitary tree. Their roots spread below the earth’s surface and spring to life with others to form a group. Aspens grow as a community; they are interconnected by their roots and share nutrients and resources to support each other.
I was thinking about this person who had just told me that they were no longer in a relationship with me as I was walking among the aspens.
The sentiment expressed in my title came to me as I hiked with my husband and my golden retriever.
I was looking at the trees and the creek, and the little birds and the flowers and the weeds and the dead trees and other hikers, and I silently asked each one of them if I was in a relationship with them. I honestly could not say that I was not in a relationship with any of these specimens of nature. My favorite definition of God came to mind as well:
God is every one of us together: the rocks, the seas, the flowers and the trees, and all creatures, whether of fur, fin, feather, or skin.
I knew that for me, I was still in a relationship with my friend, and I knew at that moment that it does not matter if he does not see me as worthy of his attention since we are “not in a relationship.” I can be me and follow my highest ideals no matter what he or anyone thinks. I can behold him and all of life as expressions of the Divine (by whatever name we use to call the Divine), and because of this, we are one.
For me, and what I learned from really trying to understand what my friend told me, is that we ARE in a relationship with everyone and everything on Earth, no matter what our minds may tell us. And, for our planet and all her creatures to move forward in health, we must be willing to follow the ‘greatest commandment” as spoken by Jesus, and that is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Every creature is our neighbor because we are ONE. Thus, when we treat someone as not worthy of our attention. We are simply living from the “reptilian” or survival part of our brain, which puts people in differing groups saying this group is in “my tribe, and I will protect it” and “that group is not in my tribe, and therefore it is an enemy which I will not protect.” I thank my friend for telling me that he is not in a relationship with me any longer and, therefore, he does not need to respond to my little bids for connection because this experience clarified for me what I choose to do.
I have been following this idea for many years now, and it has brought me the title of “relationship and communication expert.” I have learned that even when I don’t agree with what someone has done or said, I still need to communicate with them. I communicate with them because we are part and parcel of one another.
I ask all of us together today to celebrate our oneness and to be grateful that we humans can magnify this oneness or tear it apart. If we choose to magnify it, we do it by being ourselves. By being ourselves, we connect with the true and authentic self we have come here to be, and in this, we can live together as the Aspens do and heal our planet one loving action at a time.
Finally, Martin Buber, the famous Jewish Philosopher, tells us this:
Our relationship lives in the space between us – it doesn’t live in me or in you or even in the dialogue between the two us – it lives in the space we live together, and that space is sacred space.” –Martin Buber