Friday, November 20, 2015

How We've Decided to Treat Each Other at the Virtual Drop In/ Respite

Some Core Principles 

We are trying something new here.  On the one hand, we offer support, respite and drop in space for diverse mental states, experiences and frames of mind.  On the other hand, we are not about health care or medical services.

The above statement is not intended as a disclaimer.  It simply is not our value.
This space is about community.  Here, we offer our humanity.  Our ethic is to honor human rights. For us there no higher law.  We acknowledge nothing that conflicts with this.  

1. Human family

We aspire to create a group that feels and acts like human family.  This is our birthright as human beings.  We share responsibility to make this birthright a reality.  The quality of our community depends upon our efforts to appreciate this principle. 

2. Inherent dignity

Before we know a thing about each other, we already know something about each other. Every one of us has worth.  Every one of us has something worthy of offering.  We will find it if we look for it.  We share that obligation.

3. Rights

Like the old adage, 'good fences make good neighbors', rights are essential to human relationships. 
They protect us in two ways. 

  • Some rights say "keep out.'  They patrol boundaries and deny entry to things that could damage health or growth.  Such rights say to us both: Your right to dominate ends where my personhood begins. 

  • Other rights strive to bring in or keep in. These rights are about opening channels, or protecting access, to needed resources.  These rights recognize that there are certain things that all of us need in order to live, feel and be well. 

4. Reason

We are all endowed with reason and conscience.  Reason means we have the ability to appreciate cause and effect. We can learn from the consequences of our actions.  We can make sense of experiences.  The implication of this is important: We act in ways that make sense to us, based on our experiences.  This counsels us to judge less and listen more. 

5. Conscience

Conscience is what makes us more than robots. Conscience is about our capacity to care.  How things affect us - and how we affect others - matters to us. Equally important, we care about some things more than others. We express different levels of caring through the choices we make. 

6. Reason-conscience interaction. 

If we put them together, the principles of reason and conscience can teach us about ourselves and each other. Reason asks us to look for why something makes sense.  It helps us connect what happened before with what is happening now.  Conscience helps us to see choices in terms of our values.  It helps us to ask, not only 'why did I pick that?', but also 'what does my picking tell me about me?'  
Viewed through this bifocal lens of reason and conscience, every thought, feeling and action provides a clue to understanding human experience.  

Deeper Potential

On the surface, these are simple concepts.  But if you unpack them, they hold a world of potential. The implications are, truly, vast and revolutionary:

  • The most important stuff we offer each other doesn’t cost a nickel. 
  • There is no higher law. 
  • No profession can license this. 
  • No corporation can patent, bottle or sell this. 
  • No Government can withdraw our funding. 
  • It exists if we create it. 
  • We can never afford to ignore it.
  • We are always on the hook to live it.

Welcome to the human family.  There is no other.

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