This Sunday, Rainbow Weldon shared about our individual experience impacting the collective. Listen, watch, or read her talk titled, “Me to We” as she closed our March Series.
This “talk” is electronically transcribed. Please excuse any errors or omissions.
Rainbow: Bodhi Spiritual Center. I’ve traveled 8,450 miles, been to a dozen spiritual centers over the past three months or so, and there’s no place like home. There is no other Bodhi house band. They bring it. That music is such a healing balm for the spirit, is it not? Thank you, thank you, thank you. So I’m so happy to be here today, and to wrap up the series on we’re all in this together. What I want you to know is that “we’re all in this together” isn’t a cute little phrase. Yes, we put it on a journal, we put it on our mug, our stickers, “we’re all in this together.” But I want you to know that literally we are all in this together. Literally, there is only one mind. There is only one thing happening here. There is this one field that connects us all, that is who we are. Some call it mind, some call it consciousness, some call it God, some call it the quantum field.
Rainbow: Scientists are just starting to catch up to what spiritual and religious folks and philosophers have known all along by just feeling in that there has to be something more than this individual experience, that in fact there is a power and presence within us that is the truth of who we are, that is intimately connected, this web of connection that is all of life. So when we say we are all in this together, this is what we mean by this concept of oneness. And of course in Miracles, it says, “I have no private thoughts. I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.” So this speaks to this web of connection. This speaks to this one mind, knowing that we also have responsibility for who we be.
Rainbow: We talked about that a few months ago, who we be. We have responsibility for the thoughts, the energy, the feelings, the words, the actions, the deeds that we are showing up as, because it makes an impact, and it affects the whole, it affects the collective. So this idea that there are no private thoughts really has us contemplate, when we’re alone in our darkest place, or when we’re in the world and judging others, what are we putting into that field of vibration? And there are no private thoughts because everything affects everything.
Rainbow: I heard Heather last night saying to our daughter Cadence, she was getting her ready for bed and I don’t know what occurred, but I heard Heather’s voice loud and clear saying, “Cadence, everything you do has a consequence. Be mindful.” Right? To become aware of the impact we are creating. When I was the youth director here years ago, there was this activity that I would do with the ball of yarn, and I think it’s such a great visual so I’m going to explain it now. So we would sit in a circle and we would hold a ball of yarn, and one person would hold on to the string and then they’d roll the string to someone else in the circle. They’d hold a bit of the string, roll to the next, hold that, roll to the next. So what we did is we’d create this web of the circle, and we’re all holding on to the string, and then I would say, “Okay, so and so, speak an affirmation and move that string.” And that’s exactly what we do, and we speak our words when we have our thoughts. We’d wiggle that string and what we would notice is that everyone would feel the impact, the vibration of what that person was speaking when they wiggled that string.
Rainbow: So that’s a visual example of what is actually occurring in the visible all the time in our world. We are all in this together because there are no private thoughts, and our thoughts have an impact on this world that we are creating. And this is a good thing, because we can take responsibility for creating the world we desire. Yes? There’s this web of connection, so we get to choose how we’re making an impact, what is that vibration that we are creating in the collective, so that we can be the ones to be the catalyst for healing, for raising the vibration and lifting the consciousness of humanity. How much time do you spend raising and praising yourself and others versus how much time do you spend in judgment and criticism of yourself and others?
Rainbow: This past weekend, I had the last few days, I had the opportunity of being a presenter at the Gold Rush conference with Reverend Lola, fabulous conference for women that Reverend Jackie Atkins from Christ Universal Temple produces, and I led a workshop, and one of the activities I did in this workshop is I call it good gossip. And I led the folks through the visioning process and creating their intention, and then in small groups they each shared their intention, and then their partners in the group would then, behind their backs, speak as if what this person just shared was happening now and speak into the fulfillment of this person’s desire, and this person would sit there and just hear these folks good gossiping about them.
Rainbow: And the energy in the room was palpable, how the vibration get raised when we speak affirmatively. And what so many people shared is how good actually it makes us feel to witness someone else’s dream and to speak affirmatively about that for someone else. Yet, how much do we look in the mirror of ourselves and speak affirmatively to our dreams? Everything we say and do has an impact on this infinite web of connection. One of my spiritual teachers and mentors Reverend Jennifer Hadley always says, “The judger always feels judged and the lover always feels loved.” If you’re sending an experience of fear, of judgment, of criticism, perhaps it’s an opportunity to look how is this a mirror for me in my life and where am I judging others, and am I willing to turn that judgment around, to surrender that judgment and be willing to see things differently, to see the truth of that person despite the circumstances, despite the bad attitude or however they’re showing up in your life, to know that they are whole, perfect, and complete, just as you are, for we are one. There are no others. No one outside of you can do anything to you. You are the one that gets to stand in your wholeness and truth.
Rainbow: And if you’re struggling with doubt, with unworthiness, perhaps the way to start to turn that around is to see the wholeness and the worthiness in others. For others are you. Our growth and expansion is all tied up together, and when we realize we’re all in this together, it brings us great joy to hold that for someone else, to know that someone else’s success does no way take away from your opportunity, that there is more than enough, and that each of us are here with our own unique gifts and talents, here to give and thrive and to make an impact on that web of connection. So how can you be that stand, not only for yourself but for others and to see that potential in others? This is moving from me to we consciousness, from this idea that we’re all separate to we are all one. And I want you to really get this not in a conceptual way but how can you apply this to your everyday life, when you’re just walking down the street in day-to-day relationship with someone else. How can you really get that we are one? I am you and you are me.
Rainbow: Martin Luther King in his letter from the Birmingham Jail speaks to this idea so clearly. He says, “In a real sense, all life is interrelated. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny.” And again, when you hear “men,” just translate. It was the time. Know that we mean humanity, right? “All humanity, all people are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you are to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” And this is so counter to our Western society that values that rugged individualism and “I’m going to make it happen and do it on my own and I’m strong and I don’t need anyone else.” Folks, we need one another. We need one another right now.
Rainbow: Imagine all that you are doing in your life right now, if you have this pattern, this default, if I can do it on my own, imagine if you would surrender and allow something within you to support you, to bring the opportunities to you through embracing connection with others. Everything we need and desire is right here within us, and there’s power to sharing and speaking what we desire and leaning into community to see how can you support me, how can I support you and what can we do together to create an even greater experience of life, to affect that web in a positive way. We appear to be more connected through social media and all these things. There’s an appearance, but I’d say it’s a false appearance, because there’s an epidemic of loneliness occurring right now. We appear to be more connected than ever, yet we are more alone than ever.
Rainbow: There’s an article from Quartz Magazine that I found and it’s by a former New York Times and New York Post reporter, so you know it’s legit. Her name is Jenny Anderson, and the name of the article is “The only metrics of success that really matters is the one we ignore.” Let’s dig in. What does that mean? There was a study that she referenced in this article saying that from 1985 to 2009, the average size of an American’s social network defined by the number of confidence that people have has declined by more than one-third. So although we have hundreds maybe thousands of friends and followers on Facebook or Instagram, Twitter, all these platforms, how many intimate confidants do you have? How many people are in your life where you can reveal that vulnerability, where you can reach out and share something beyond the superficial cute picture of me doing this or that? It’s something to really think about.
Rainbow: It’s like we’ve lost the art of human connection. When was the last time you actually invited a neighbor over for coffee or called up a friend and say, “Hey, let’s get together, let’s visit in person”? Standing in line at the grocery store or on the CTA platform. Making eye contact. Acknowledging someone else’s presence as humanity, as opposed to, right? Knowing your barista’s name. You probably see him few times a week, maybe every day. I don’t know what your coffee habits are. Do you know the people that you are in contact with? We crave a sense of belonging, and yet there’s this way we’ve kind of got it skewed where we think this belonging is somehow going to show up by having more followers and more friends and putting on this kind of false pretense of life. But yet at the same time, we’re neglecting real relationships.
Rainbow: And I don’t want you to hear this as social media is bad because I actually think it is a powerful tool that was created from this need in society to be more connected, and especially connected internationally around the world. Yep, like any tool, it can be misused. So the thing is, where it’s like, this is what’s coming to me now, that make new friends but keep the old. So, yes, there you go. So your social media friends, they’re silver, but you got a bucket a gold over here that maybe you’ve forgotten about, those friends that you met in real life. This article goes on to talk about another study on happiness that was by this woman named Julia Rohrer, and it was published in Psychological Science Magazine. And it said people who were committed to trying to become happier pursued, they studied these people for a year, pursuing different goals. So one group they studied were pursuing self-improvement goals such as getting a new job, making more money, and then the other group were pursuing happiness through spending more time with friends and family. So after a year, what they found is that those who focused on connecting more with others were happier than those who simply focused on self-improvement.
Rainbow: We live in an age of self-help, self-improvement gurus and junkies. And again, that’s not bad. I don’t want you to hear this as either/or, right? Because again that’s separation thinking, that’s [lack 00:16:26]. We are all one. But how can you seek to improve yourself through community, through relationships? I don’t know about y’all, but my biggest growth has actually come when the rubber meets the road in my relationships, not by reading a book and filling out a quiz about my self-care habits or whatnot. Relationships is where we do our work.
Rainbow: So, the studies find, Julia Rohrer says, “Our results demonstrate that not all pursuits of happiness are equally successful, and corroborate the great importance of social relationships for human well-being.” And then the woman who was writing the article, Jenny Anderson, she kind of summed it up by saying, “The thing that makes us happiest in life is other people. And yet, other people are often the first thing to fall off our list of priorities.” Can I get an amen?
Rainbow: So I want you to just put your hand on your heart. Close your eyes a minute. Take a breath and invite someone to come into your field of awareness. Maybe you hear their name, see their face, knowing that something within you is guiding this and that there is a person or people that your heart is desiring to reconnect with. It could be as simple as calling a relative you haven’t spoken to in years, an old friend from college, high school. So just let that person come to your awareness, allow your heart to open and make a commitment to yourself right now that in whatever way you feel inspired that you will connect with this person. Take a breath. Open your eyes.
Rainbow: So I just got back from this three-month journey on the road, what I was calling my mobile ministry tour, and one of the things that really led me to do this experience was when I started asking, “What do I value most? What do I value most? Does my time and energy match that?” And what I got was that I was out of alignment, out of integrity with this core value of connection. So although I was experiencing so much connection in this community, that I was missing connection with my family, with my wife, with my daughter. I was missing connection with nature. It was honestly something like I didn’t even realize how much of an impact that had on me until I embraced this journey.
Rainbow: And what occurred over this time is getting back in alignment with that, making that a priority in my life, and getting to spend so much quality time with my wife and my daughter. And it’s like we’re together 24/7, and we got along better than we were barely having a meal together once a week. She agrees. That’s good. Glad you had the same experience I did. That’d be sad if not. On the road, I got to reconnect with some family I haven’t seen in a while, some really good friends that were all over. Not only that, I got to lean into the generosity of strangers that open their homes to us, that fed us. And what it took was me being willing to just slow down and be present.
Rainbow: And I realized that this lack of connection was because I had this false belief that there wasn’t enough time or there wasn’t enough energy, and I had all these things to do and so I was neglecting those very real relationships that were seeking to be nurtured, and to be willing to just sit with a stranger and to make eye contact, to hear their stories and to realize that people are fascinating. We met so many fascinating people on the road, and just to be curious around how people live their lives, it was so fun and such a fulfilling experience. So I invite you to think about where perhaps you are out of alignment or out of integrity with that sense of connection or belonging, or what it is in your heart that is seeking that more intimate vulnerable experience.
Rainbow: I had the opportunity as well to witness all these different communities and it really solidified for me the importance of community, and especially conscious community. So I want to share a couple of examples with you. So, one of the centers that I was at, and I was leading a workshop, at the end of the workshop, we were kind of debriefing and people were sharing what came up for them in their experience. And there was a young woman there, about my age. I’m a young woman. And she shared that a few years ago her partner had died in a tragic accident, and that she was just now, three or four years later, starting to kind of emerge from that cloud of grief and to rebuild her life and community. She shared how so many people that she thought were her close friends and family had fallen away after that happened because of their own fear about not knowing what to say or how to show up or deal with death or grief. That’s a whole other talk. We’ll just kind of put that there.
Rainbow: And she said, “I’m here today to rebuild and to make new connections.” She was fairly new to the center as well. And to watch this circle open up and embrace her, and not from a place of of, “Oh, poor you,” but from a place of, “We see you, we got you, and this is your home now.” It was beautiful, so beautiful. And then with this woman’s willingness to share her story, someone else piped up and said, he’s an older gentleman and his wife recently died. And before she died, she said to him, “This community is now your family and I want you to keep showing up.” And he says, “I’m taking her advice and that’s why I’m here.” And he goes to every activity that they do. He has actually created a ministry, a team around some of his interest, and he is consciously cultivating that community, taking the wise words of his beloved.
Rainbow: I saw examples of this in every community, the volunteers that show up and how fulfilled they are in being together and being a part of something and being of service. So we’re seeking this human connection, and you all have the opportunity right here, right now, in this community, to make connections, to be that support for one another. And what I think is so unique about conscious community, spiritual community is not only does it provide those social needs and that connection and that intimacy and belonging, but it also provides the tools for growth. It provides the environment for lifting your consciousness, for expanding your container. It provides opportunity for growth that may not always look good and happy, but are sometimes those challenging experiences that allow us to grow even fuller into our own power and presence.
Rainbow: Classes, the workshops, the opportunities to serve. We need one another. And there’s an opportunity right here, right now, to lean into that. I’m not alone in experiencing my thoughts. Everything I do has an impact. What are those vibrations that you are putting out into that web of connection? And if you feel yourself in a funk, you’re in the right place, because there’s so many opportunities here to lean into community and to have someone hold the truth, know the truth for you when you can’t for yourself. There’s so many opportunities here to get in classes and to learn those tools around affirmative prayer, around affirmations and visioning and meditation and those tools and practices that are going to help you expand your own consciousness, and knowing that as you grow and expand and become that loving presence that you make an impact on all of humanity. So it’s the both/and. We are all one. And perhaps that desire for self-improvement can be met with the same need for connection and intimacy and belonging. And it’s right here in this room. Online. It’s a global experience that you can lean into right now. Because what’s true is that you matter. Your presence matters. You make an impact and you make a difference in this community.
Rainbow: I remember it was Pride Sunday this last June, and a number of us attended and Bodhi was in the parade, but there was a whole group of folks who were putting it on that had to be there early to set up. And that service that Sunday, I got up and I was like, “Something just feels a little off,” and I realized our LGBT sacred circle was all at the pride parade and it made a difference. That life, that energy wasn’t in the room and I felt it. So if you ever think, “I’ll just sleep in, my presence doesn’t really matter,” you make a difference. You make a difference. You matter. And you are always affecting that web, that unseen web of life. So are you going to choose thoughts of love or thoughts of fear? And if you don’t know how to get out of that habitual pattern of fear, speak to a practitioner and allow yourself to experience the love of community.
Rainbow: So when you leave today, this is your assignment. I want you to meet someone new. Say hi to someone you never said hi to, chat with someone online that you’ve never chatted with before. And then when you get home, remember that person that came to mind that your heart guided you to? Make that connection. And you know what’d be really fun? If you’re on Facebook, there’s a community group, Bodhi Facebook group, share about it. Share about your experience of reaching out, making a new friend, cultivating that gold mine within you of that old friend, family member that you haven’t heard from in a while, and let’s support each other in remembering how to build real relationships. Yes? So let’s take this into practice now.