Now that some time has passed since one of the most catastrophic natural disasters to hit the North American East Coast in decades, I have been spending a lot of my time in deep contemplation and reflection about the storm and the aftermath that still plagues thousands of people. The question that most frequently keeps popping into my head is “why?” Why do so many people have to endure such pain and chaos, and why now? Isn’t there an easier way to learn the lessons that we need to without going through such hardship?
I believe one of the biggest fundamental issues that exists in our society is the “me against you” attitude that has been conditioned in many of us since the time we were children.
We are taught to compete AGAINST instead of co-create WITH each other.
We are taught that those who are the strongest, smartest, fastest, and most popular WIN in this world, and, of course, where there is a winner there is always a loser. This mentality has created a major fear of failure (that many of us now share) and has fueled our drive for success and winning, oftentimes at all cost. And worse, it has created a massive divide among us.
Back in October, when I was in Vermont speaking to a middle school, the election was the hot topic amongst teachers and parents in the community. Although I am Canadian, I still do get engaged in American politics, so when I found out that the American Vice Presidential debate was on TV the night that I was there, I decided to watch it. I was hoping to be inspired, but instead, I was left frustrated. I was hoping to hear new ideas and solutions, and instead, all I heard and saw was two grown men attacking and blaming one another, striving to be viewed as the better candidate by beating the other one down. In fact, from what I followed, the majority of this past election campaign was more focused on what each party did wrong instead of what we are going to do to fix it. I understand the political process and I get that the two sides usually don’t see it the same way, but what fired me up was the apparent lack of honor and respect that they had for each other. They both claimed that their way was THE way to help unify the people, yet they were not willing to unify on anything themselves.
The entire American election created a storm, similar to Hurricane Sandy, which brought forth a very powerful message to everyone in our society—a message that can no longer be ignored.
If we are going to create any sort of change in the way that we live, the way that we govern, and the way that we evolve, it all begins with bridging the divide that exists among us.
Take New York City, for example. On a regular day, the majority of the people, from my experience anyway, are not openly friendly or helpful. Everyone is too busy with their own stuff to pay attention to what’s going on around them. This doesn’t just happen in NYC. I live in the city of Toronto, and it’s very much a similar vibe.
We tend to be so busy competing to be the best at whatever we do that we miss the most important thing in life—CONNECTION.
Yet, the irony is when we are faced with adversity, we have no problem coming together.
We put aside our differences, whether they are differing beliefs, ways of living, or even political views, and we help each other out. When Sandy, dubbed as the perfect storm, hit the East Coast, I witnessed more unity among people all across North America than I had seen in years, if not longer. So many people offered help and assistance in any way that they could. In major cities and small towns all across the East Coast, people banded together to support one another through this time of need.
But now that the dust is starting to settle and fade, we CANNOT slip back into our old habits and old ways; we need to stay unified!
This storm was indeed perfect because it brought us back together. We forgot about all of our so-called differences on the surface and remembered that, at our core, we are all the same. When we strip down and remove these meat suits we call bodies and get back in touch with our true essence, we realize that we truly are ALL connected.
We come together in adversity because it is human nature to open our hearts when we witness others in pain or suffering. It opens up the door for us to experience something more powerful than any storm; it allows us to feel the power of empathy and compassion. When we show empathy and compassion, the divide among us completely dissolves and a new world is created. It is our hearts, not our minds, that will heal this world!
When we live a divided life and govern a divided world, we will continue to fall and continue to struggle. And I hate to say it, but I truly believe we will continue to endure natural disasters like Sandy until we ALL realize the need to UNITE—not just in adversity but in prosperity too! When we come together and STAY TOGETHER, we will evolve and thrive beyond our wildest dreams!
What can you do about it? What steps can you take to start living a more united and connected life? How can you put aside your differences with others and disagree with honor and respect?
Instead of competing to win, try co-creating to EVOLVE.
Instead of striving to be the best, try focusing on your growth.
Instead of arguing to be right, try agreeing to be FREE!
In every area of your life, take a look and see where you can put more emphasis on connection, unity, and collaboration, and watch how everyone involved will begin to prosper!
Please share in the comments below what YOU will start doing in your own life to live more unified and connected.
Michael Eisen is an inspirational speaker, author, and the founder of the Youth Wellness Network, an organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering youth across the globe to live happier and more positive lives. After positively transforming his own life at the age of nineteen, he is now on a lifelong crusade to share with other young people the principles, strategies, and practices that gave him the strength to start living a more joyful and healthier life. Michael’s first book (Empowered YOUth: A Father and Son’s Journey to Conscious Living) is now available everywhere books are sold. To learn more about Michael and the Youth Wellness Network, visit www.youthwellnessnetwork.ca, join him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.
BUY MICHAEL’S BOOK BELOW: