In the pursuit of collective growth, understanding, and meaningful social change, the concept of a conscious collective emerges as a guiding light—a beacon illuminating the path toward a more mindful and harmonious existence. A conscious collective represents far more than a mere gathering of individuals; it embodies a profound commitment to mindfulness, social consciousness, and ethical values.
Within these conscious collectives, individuals unite with a shared purpose—to foster not only a sense of belonging but also a deeper connection with themselves, each other, and the world around them. It's a place where mindfulness isn't just a practice but a way of life, where personal growth isn't just an aspiration but a shared journey, and where ethical principles aren't just words but the foundation upon which the collective stands.
Today, I faced a difficult decision that led me to step away from the community group, "Therapists Supporting Neurodiversity," a place I initially joined with high hopes of nurturing understanding, personal growth, and a profound sense of belonging. This group was formed with admirable intentions, and its mission resonated deeply with me. However, over time, I found myself increasingly at odds with the approach taken to address harm within the community.
In any collective endeavor, the ethical imperative of addressing harm cannot be overstated. It's paramount to cultivate an environment where every member feels safe, heard, and valued. Nevertheless, the manner in which harm is acknowledged and addressed can significantly influence the overall atmosphere of belonging and well-being within the group.
Regrettably, I perceived that the prevailing philosophy within this community inadvertently perpetuated harm instead of fostering healing and inclusivity.
At the heart of my concerns lay the belief that it had become acceptable, within this community, to respond to unintentional harm by publicly shaming individuals and subsequently muting them. Although the underlying intention may have been to hold individuals accountable for their actions, it felt as though we were responding to one act of harm with another, creating what seemed to be an unwarranted cycle of harm. This perspective appeared fundamentally incongruent with the ethics of belonging that I hold dear.
From my viewpoint, a commitment to belonging extends beyond fostering a sense of togetherness; it also encompasses the understanding that every member of a community is fallible, capable of making mistakes, and inherently deserving of empathy and support. Belonging, to me, signifies the creation of an environment where individuals can learn, grow, and heal together—a space where we prioritize empathy and understanding over perpetuating punitive actions in response to perceived wrongs or offenses.
My decision to step away from this community has been accompanied by a mixture of emotions. On one hand, there is a deep sense of sadness and disappointment that I could not align with the community's approach to addressing harm. I had genuinely aspired to contribute to a space where the principles of empathy, understanding, and collective growth prevailed.
On the other hand, this departure has reaffirmed my unwavering commitment to my personal ethical principles—a belief that meaningful, constructive dialogue is of paramount importance, and that our collective efforts should prioritize education and support over perpetuating harm in response to harm.
In the realm of collective action and social justice, differences in approach and philosophy are inevitable. It is through these differences that we learn, challenge our perspectives, and, hopefully, co-create more inclusive and equitable communities. While my journey led me to step away from this particular community, it is a testament to my ongoing commitment to seek spaces where the ethics of belonging guide our actions—a space where empathy, education, and healing serve as the cornerstone of our collective endeavors.
Ultimately, my departure serves as a poignant reminder of the significance of upholding one's ethical principles, even when faced with challenging decisions. Belonging transcends mere membership in a community; it is about being part of a community that aligns with our values and beliefs. My journey continues in pursuit of such a community—a place where belonging is a shared commitment, transcending cycles of harm, and fostering a spirit of understanding and collective growth.