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personal engagement personal engagement socialchange society

Carry Each Other

Dare to reach your hand out into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.
—Norman B. Rice



Beyond our selves, out in the night, there is a hand that is calling for us. It may be a stranger, a friend, a sister, or a lover. It may be your child, a homeless woman, elementary students at school, or an office mate. It’s out there. It is reaching for us, as if calling for help, but holding a secret: The reached out hand is looking to pull us from malaise. 


There are times in our lives when each of us needs a hand, someone to care for and with us. Some people rely on these hands all their lives, and others fight off every hand trying to help them. Heartspace calls for us to be humble enough to accept another’s offer to assist us while insisting we recognize our strength in order to help others.


Heartspace does this by it’s very nature. As the engine for personal engagement within and around each of us, Heartspace insists that we become highly aware of the world we live in every day. This does not mean to watch the news diligently or laugh at the mock news shows. It is deeper than that. It means consciously spending time every single day talking to ourselves, listening to the still small voice within each of us that guides our days and ways. It means deliberately being in dialogue with the people we care about, sharing experiences, ideas, actions, and responses every single day. By staying in continuous connection with the world this way, we strengthen our Heartspace.


As it spans across our lives, Heartspace can look like the scaffolding holding a building during it’s renovation. It is made with the proportionate strength of a spider’s web, carefully interlocking and nestling hugely disproportionate weight. Heartspace holds us, nurtures us, and can allow us to care for ourselves and others even when it may feel overwhelming. Our engine of personal engagement is infinitely strong, with the load-bearing capacity of thousands of suns whirling galaxies of planets and moons and asteroids around elliptical belts in a hula hoop surrounding our soul. This gives us abilities we have yet to realize, except for this basic usage, which each of us is compelled to do throughout humanity: We must carry each other. The most plain purpose of personal engagement is to be able to carry each other.


At the beginning of this journey into Heartspace, I said plainly that if you want to change the world you must change yourself. Now I will say that in order to change yourself, you must change the world. This is why Buckminster Fuller wrote, “Never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes in the world come about. So be that person.” 


We can change the world by simply helping one other person in the most simplest way. You might hold the door for a young mother, shovel an elderly neighbor’s walk every winter, or paint murals across town to inspire others. Each time we reach a hand into the darkness you will pull another hand into the light, and no matter how deep the dark, the light will always be bright enough to temporarily blind you. Like a flash camera, that dazzling light sends your vision elsewhere for a minute. Maybe the flash shows you how much you do not like what you are doing. Immanuel Kant wrote that the more you do not like to help others, the greater the moral worth of the action. Maybe it tells you that our attempts to “change” anything don’t make a difference. About this, Gandhi said, “Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it.”

It is important that you do it because you never know who, how, or where you are going to affect another person’s Heartspace. So let’s carry each other.

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!

By Adam F.C. Fletcher

I'm a speaker, writer, trainer, researcher and advocate who researches, writes and shares about education, youth, and history.

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