Who are my People? Brian 2011 Men's Fast

So I was kind of marinating on this question “who are my people”?   My instinct, when I first encountered this question, was to say “everybody” is my people: humanity.  No one is excluded.  But I don’t think the question would deny that.  It’s not asking about whom I would exclude.  It’s asking “who are my people?” in the spirit of the Hopi Prayer I like:   “Who are my people worth keeping, while I may blow the rest away in a breath of kindness?” 


If I must needs answer that question, then let my answer be this: 


My people are the courageous ones.  When life offers them a challenge, they lean into it.  They’re not afraid to be afraid and do something anyway.  When life doesn’t offer them a challenge, they remember that there is no such thing, life is endless with challenges, and they choose the next one.  They know their potential intimately, and they are not afraid of it. 


My people choose to live rather then not to die.  They have felt and understood that little fulfillment comes from avoiding death and pain, while much comes from choosing life.  They live to be alive, and they know and respect that death is always at their side.


My people are of the Earth.  They have seen, heard, smelled, tasted and touched what our Mother has to offer us with an every-expanding appreciation.  They know that the Earth and the Sky will always be guides to us when we are lost.  When they gaze at the majesty of the night sky, they remember themselves, and humbly give thanks. 


My people are liberated and they are liberators.  They know the various characters within their larger selves and they esteem none as higher than the others, for they know that each one lends a necessary hand to the greatness of the whole.  They know that to ignore some of these inner characters is to fall asleep to the true nature of them all.  They have remembered that we are free, and that all felt obligations are of our own creation.  They choose that freedom though it is daunting.


My people are old souls young at heart.  They play and flirt with life itself, but never at the expense of their human dignity.  And they know that our true source of dignity draws from much deeper wellsprings than the conventional “wisdom” of modern society.  They trust themselves, and they trust the universe.


My people are the people who know we are one.  These are my people.


(Brian, a 24 year old man who participated in this years men's fast, wrote this as part of his letter of intent. I was moved by his words and asked his permission to post them. Feels like such an important guiding question for our times and a conversation that may help guide us to our natural rhythm in relationships and community.)


We do not go into the desert to escape

people but to learn how to find them:
we do not leave them in order to have

nothing more to do with them,
but to find out the way
to do them the most good.

Thomas Merton-