Day 59: Take ‘the other’ to lunch

Within each one of us are a multitude of personalities.

Elizabeth Lesser grew up in a politically active family of ‘warriors’. These warriors were intelligent, opinionated, driven and believed such traits didn’t fit with spirituality, or the ‘mystic’ personality as Lesser terms it. She was the black sheep of her family.

Lesser spent a long time looking for meaning at a time when it was unpopular. She went to mass, read Sartre and Socrates and watched as gurus from the East began to wash up on American shores. Her warrior nature made her concerned about world events; she has spent her life working on environmental and women’s issues. Her years of a mystic have made her proud not to know everything.

Lesser finds herself attracted to rare people who pull off devotion to humanity with the grace of a mystic and the drive of a warrior. Unfortunately a lack of understanding between individuals prevails. With this in mind, Lesser decided to introduce her initiative, “Take the other to lunch.”

The premise behind ‘Take the other to lunch’ is simple. Pick something from the opposite side of the debate as you; an individual who is anti-abortion, your neighbour who doesn’t believe in global warming. Take them to lunch and get to know them. Decide on a goal, be curious, conversational and don’t try to convert.

Before this talk, the left wing Lesser took a Tea Party activist to lunch. Over the course of their conversation, they marvelled at the stereotypes for each group which didn’t match anybody they knew. They never pretended their differences would melt away over lunch, yet each left with a better understanding of the other.

This work is difficult. It’s about 2 warriors dropping the pretence of knowing it all. But it’s worthwhile. In the words of the Persian poet Rumi;

“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

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