The power to come together within similar and across diverse communities seems more and more elusive. Our alienation from the people around us, manifests in ever-growing depression, addiction, physical and psychological abuse, crime, violence and suicide – indicators of spirits in distress and despair. We are caught in giant social and political arguments about the symptoms of our dis-unity that ignore our heart-felt desire for harmony and peace with one another and the earth. In the face of all this, the gift of the power of unity calls us to find our way back to a deep knowing of interconnection and community. Our challenge is to trust in unity, even when we have a history of experiences that lead us to distrust and feel separate from others.
Background Information:This conversation is adapted in part from themes from The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times, by Anita L. Sanchez, PhD.
Let's Get Started!
Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate.
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
- What would your best friend say about who you are?
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Unity (~40 min)
One participant can volunteer to read the paragraph at the top of the web page.
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk.
- What does unity mean to you? What does it not include? Has the meaning changed over time?
- What is your experience of unity? How do you experience yourself in relation to other people and beings?
- What have you experienced as the benefits or detriments of being in unity with others? For yourself, for the other, for the community?
- Are there people you distrust, have yet to trust, or will never trust? If so, how does that impact your life and work?
- What messages about separation or unity do you give yourself or receive from others?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
- What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
- How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group?
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation?