An Introduction to Altogether One
Altogether One has been something that I’ve talked about, dreamt of, and spent probably thousands of hours thinking about over the last two decades. The name has changed many times, the planned execution of it has had many forms, there have been a handful of false starts, but the core of Altogether One (it’s “being” if you will) has been there the whole time.
The heart of Altogether One is wholeness: finding wholeness in ourselves and finding it together. As we create that wholeness, we find its prerequisites and constant companions: healing, love, and belonging. As we walk this path, we discover openness, authenticity, creativity, and trust. We’ll discover how fulfilling life can be when we remember that it’s a cooperative game and not a competitive one.
Altogether One is a movement, and its kernel is a manifesto, which should be ready for sharing by mid-February or so. The manifesto serves as a declaration and a call to action, and it will be at the core of who we are. The movement will be the living out of the call to action and it will be seen anywhere that there is wholeness. You see, neither the manifesto nor the movement are new. The manifesto is writ upon all of our hearts, and the movement is the universe itself.
The manifesto will call out the brokenness and disconnection that is currently present in humanity that each of us is quite painfully aware of. Some of us numb out to avoid the pain of disconnection and some of us justify the brokenness by pretending that it’s “just the way the world works.” Our movement will neither deny, justify, nor resist this brokenness, but will start by acknowledging it as a wound will not begin to heal until it is treated, and it cannot be treated until it is acknowledged as a wound.
When one spends time watching young children around preschool age, it becomes pretty clear that overall, authenticity is not a challenge for them (with the sad exception of those who have experienced severe abuse or trauma). They say what they mean, they share how they feel, and they do not hide who they know themselves to be but they speak up and want to be heard. And at the urgent insistence of the adults and older children all around them, they begin to learn inauthenticity and start to pretend that they do not know themselves. By the time that we’re adults, we have often gotten so good at our game of pretending not to know ourselves that it becomes central in our self-story: we actually believe that we have to find ourselves. The manifesto reminds us that we already know ourselves and calls us back to full authentic communication and relationship.
Another stark difference between how young children relate to each other and how adults relate is that children understand that all it takes to be in relationship with someone is to choose to do so. They’ll go to the park and happily play with another child their same age, and within minutes they’ll ask their parents if they can bring home their new best friend who they love. The manifesto reminds us that being in a relationship really is as simple as children have it- that love, trust, and connection are all choices that we make and that even as we experience fear, pain, or anxiety we can still choose human connection over bitterness and cynicism.
And central to the message of the manifesto and the movement is a truth that we all know within our deepest parts, even though most of the time we’re too afraid to act as if it is true at all. That truth is that we are all the same, and we all desire the same thing: we all want to love and be loved, to hold and be held, to belong with others and to have those that belong with us. The vast majority of humans would happily admit that they want these things, and even those that claim to not want them only do so from a place of severe pain that could have only been caused by the fact that they actually do want those things and some event or events led them to believe that they would not receive them. Acknowledging this truth can be uncomfortable and often disappointing as the answer seems as simple as everyone admitting it and then just loving each other and it never seems to happen that way. The movement will hold this truth especially when all the evidence around us seems to say the opposite, for we know that as simple as the answer truly is that the defenses that we have built to protect ourselves from the pain of rejection are rarely so simple but they will come down as we choose love and belonging as courageous and vulnerable acts of cooperation.
As the manifesto exposes and builds upon these fundamentals that are already existent inside of us, it calls us to join the cooperative flow of the universe and to begin to live our lives as a stand for wholeness. The movement will begin to take shape as we learn the patterns of cooperation and begin to find ways of expressing them through who we are. There are many people already present in the movement, although they may call it by another name it is the same thing.