From A Distance [DR Thursday]

The first photograph of our planet Earth was taken by the crew of  Apollo 17 in 1972. The Blue Marble. Living. Vibrant. Moving. Alive. Fragile. Uncontrollable. Spiritual. Our home. Sometimes I think that the plethora of seemingly insurmountable issues that plague our discourse (our lives), divide our nations, and choke our news feeds are only possible because this photograph is forgotten. Or denied. We are the first humans in the history of humans to (literally) have this global perspective which makes us the first humans in the history of humans to ignore what we know. It’s all connected. We are all connected. It’s impossible to see from the ground but oh, so easy to see from space.

from a distance TOTE BAG copy

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Roger once told me that, in his opinion, denial was perhaps the single most powerful force driving the human condition. Today I’d make an argument for hubris. Or, perhaps one needs to be fully steeped in denial to be so full of hubris. The very notion that we story ourselves as stewards of Earth seems misguided, arrogant – especially given our capacity to step out into space and look back at our home, our selves.  As P-Tom recently said, nowadays we measure the trash field in the ocean in units of countries (3 Frances). Stewards would, I hope, do a better job. More humble stewards might at least recognize what is apparent in the photograph: it’s all connected. We participate, we do not own.

This week marks the 48th Earth Day and what I find remarkable is the first Earth Day was celebrated a full two years before the first photograph of Earth.  I find that oddly hopeful. Perhaps we don’t need a global perspective to entertain the notion that our actions have impact.

from a distance FRAMED PRINT copyIt’s funny. I’ve coached many, many people – all searching for meaning and the desire to know that their lives and actions matter. They fear that they lack impact.  The advice I never gave (a good coach does not advise): leave the city lights so you might see the stars. Recognize what you are seeing. Recognize how small you are and how glorious it is merely to be alive. Instead of trying to distinguish your self above all others, maybe take a look at the Blue Marble and realize just how connected you already are. You are immediate, impermanent. Perhaps in that recognition you will also realize your meaning.

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FROM A DISTANCE reminder/merchandise:

from a distance LEGGINGS copy

kerri’s design from my painting

from a distance MUG copy

kerri designs all of our studio melange products!

from a distance SQ PILLOW copyfrom a distance FLOOR PILLOW copy

read kerri’s blog blog post about FROM A DISTANCE

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earth interrupted V: from a distance ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Protect Our Diversity

Many years ago, sitting in a Starbucks, my brother told me that I should be careful because not everyone wanted the diversity I was promoting. His warning struck me as odd. At the time I was partners in a business that facilitated diversity training and change dynamics. I was traveling to many places in this nation, north, south, east, west, and places in the middle, to work with people in corporations and schools and communities who’d come up against the startling reality that all people do not share the same reality, that equality is an ideal not yet realized, that we are a nation defined by our other-ness.

When I was in school I was taught that the USA was a melting pot, a hot crucible into which people of many backgrounds, creeds, and colors were transformed into something stronger. I was taught that we were a nation of immigrants. It is printed on our currency: e pluribus unum. Out of the many, one. Why, then, would I need to be careful? Diversity was not something I was promoting, it was (and is) our circumstance. It was an identity I was helping people navigate in their workplaces and communities.

I read somewhere that the real challenge of the American Experiment is that we have to reinvent ourselves everyday. Because we are not (and never have been) able to share a common ethnic-religious-origin story, we must strive everyday to create a shared story. We create our story. We were, at our inception, an experiment in other-ness. To insist that we were meant to be singular – white and Christian – is a concoction. Our shared story begins with the single common thread that runs through most of our ancestral paths: we came from some other place seeking freedom in one form or another: religious freedom, freedom from persecution, the freedom to pursue opportunities. What binds us, the single story-blanket under which we can all crawl, is our diversity. Out of the many, one.

There is and always has been a tension in our story creation. Each new wave of others is resisted and often persecuted by the previous wave. When, in a nation of diverse backgrounds, in a country made strong by its multiplicity, does one actually become an American? And, what does an American look like? And, how far are we from living the ideal of all being created equally? With liberty and justice for all? It’s a moving target at best. It is a worthy ideal and worth the struggle.

The Experiment, like all experiments, has had some miserable failures. It has taken some giant strides forward. It is riddled with paradoxes and often runs into a hard wall of hypocrisy. We’ve torn ourselves in half and pasted ourselves back together. We’ve had our share of hate-mongers and xenophobes. We have one now. And, we always transcend them because we do not run on fear or anger but on promise and opportunity. The conservative impulse is always at odds with the progressive desire. It provides the heat for the crucible. It provides the tension for creativity and growth.

The greatest centers of innovation and entrepreneurship in the history of humankind have all been crossroads, places where many cultures cross paths and come together. Difference is a great opener of eyes and minds. We are an intentional crossroads, a meeting place by design. Our make-up of differences might be the single reason why we have grown as a nation of invention, advancement, and possibility.

In one aspect my brother was right: I should be careful, we should be careful to protect and keep the ideal in the center. It is worth marching for, it is worth challenging the fear-mongering and stepping in the way of a leader who plays on anger to create division. We should be careful to honor and steward The Experiment forward to the next generation of diverse Americans.