On my recent travels, I remembered a story I learned as a child as part of my Jewish education.
In Hell, everyone is sitting at a long banquet table laden with the most delicious food.
There is plenty for all. The plates are piled high all over the table, in reach of the people.
But there is something amiss.
The people are all starving.
None of the people can bend their elbows. Their hands can reach the food, but they can’t bring it to their mouths.
The exact same scene.
The long tables, the overflowing dishes of delicious cuisines.
Just like in hell, the plates are all there within reach of everyone.
But the people in heaven are smiling.
What’s the difference?
Just like in hell, the people in heaven can’t bend their elbows. They can reach the food, but they can’t bring it back to their own mouths.
But they’re not starving. They’re happy.
They can’t feed themselves, but they’re satisfied and well-fed.
They’re feeding EACH OTHER.
We forget that we can do this.
Our bodies evolved over millions of years to expect profound interdependence with other humans.
Living under capitalism separates us from our interdependence. We have been systematically convinced to rely only on ourselves and have lost access to the creativity and aliveness that come from solving problems together.
And so today, after many generations of living under domination systems, systems that are not designed to care for human needs, we are starving.
We are starving for connection, meaning, and life-serving togetherness.
To be clear: some of us are literally starving, while others are held at the border in squalid cages, and still others are shot for simply existing. For the rest of us–those not marginalized by race and poverty–we also find ourselves suffering and starving.
Starving of the invisible ills that come from access to dominance and privilege: isolation in an age of increasing technical interconnectedness. Fear of intimacy while yearning for other humans to have our back.
And frustration and burn-out trying to do everything alone.
But the food is within reach.
To me, undoing domination means taking leadership to start to feed each other.
Perhaps even more difficult, undoing domination means allowing ourselves to be fed.
It’s learning how to be in relationship. How to have both the autonomy we need to express our unique creativity, and the interdependence we ALSO need to be nourished enough to reach our deepest creative potential.
As for me, I’ve been fed these past six months sitting at the table next to two people I love and whose work at undoing domination in their own lives inspires and energizes me.
We recently put our hearts and minds together for a few days, and we’re eager to invite you to join us at the table for our next offering.
If you’re longing for more ease in setting up the support you need to stay in the work during these transition times, join us: Getting the Support You Need to Change the World.
It’s a free, live one-hour webinar. We’ll send you off with at least one tangible tool to apply right away. And you’ll get a taste of what we’ll offer in a separate 6 week course that starts in the fall (also live and online).
Even if you can’t make it, sign up if you’re interested; we’ll make sure you get the recording.
Whether or not you join us, ask yourself: How can I let myself be fed?