Balancing Me and We

It’s incredibly gray today as I write this. Wet, cold, gray. The newness of 2018 is wearing off, vacation is a distant memory and I’m missing the warm glow of a lighted tree in the corner of the living room. It’s tough to feel excited about January with a long winter just getting started.   

I had a whole post ready in my head this morning, but it will have to wait for next week. After meeting a friend for coffee this morning, something I don’t often take time for anymore, I found that I wanted to spend a little longer on last week’s theme of community.  

Many of us try and say no this time of year. The days are still short and damp. We’re tired from the build up to the holidays, from time with family and overindulgence. We’ve got resolutions to stick to and sometimes that’s easier done in hibernation, especially if we’ve made diet related commitments. It’s a good season to prioritize self-care. But even as we make our own health a priority, let’s not forget that we’re part of something bigger that needs attention as well. 

While driving home from visiting family over New Year’s, I listened to an On Being podcast interview with Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie. His thoughts struck a cord with me.  

 I want to share with you...this Talmudic parable about a ship that is sailing, and there are many cabins. And one of the people in the cabins on the lower floor decides to dig a hole in the floor of his cabin, and does so, and sure enough, the ship begins to sink. And the other passengers suddenly discover what’s going on and see this guy with a hole in the floor. And they say, “What are you doing?” And he says, “Well, it’s my cabin. I paid for it.” And down goes the ship. 

Where have we been only focusing on my cabin and me-me-me-me-me-me-me-me-me-me, and where are we not part of a “we”? And how is that true of every single one of us, and how that is true in some ways of America, and how the narcissistic, me-focused, insight-driven, my own needs and aspirations in this age have taken so hold of us? 

 We’re on the same ship together. Me and we have to go hand and hand. How do we move beyond the autopilot to radical love, real love, deep love. How can love be something that helps us build the small intimate communities that we are now yearning for now more than ever?

It seems to me like now is when we need each other’s company. This is when we need reasons to pull ourselves out of our binge watching stupors and brighten each other’s lives. Let’s be a little quieter and move more slowly this season, yes. Let’s have healthy diets, sure. But let’s not give up on being together. Let’s find ways to make the cold, dark days of winter more manageable. Let’s eat well, together. Let’s move our bodies, together. Let’s work towards our dreams, together.  

At the Riveter, our doors are open. We’ve got events and pop-ups planned at both locations to inspire your plans for 2018, daily wellness classes at Capitol Hill, twice weekly meditation at Fremont, and monthly member Supper & Salon and Morning AssemblyJoin us and find your balance of me and we.


Rebekah Papé is a writer, yoga teacher and The Riveter member. She teaches breath, meditation and yoga asana on Fridays at 11:30 a.m. and at noon at Capitol Hill.