Updated: Jun 9
Common ground can be hard to find sometimes; especially if we think that common ground and middle ground are synonymous. Middle ground seems to imply that we’re each standing in different places, and we need to find the midpoint and meet there. The problem that I see in that thinking is that it begins by assuming that we are starting in completely different places and each have to give up ground that we hold dear.
Common ground is different from middle ground. It asks us to find a place where we both feel at home. Common ground asks us to sit in a place together, where we both feel like we belong. Getting to know another person when you’re on common ground is easier than trying to find middle ground from a place of polarity.
Where I find common ground is, quite literally, in the ground. I hang out with people who love planet earth and enjoy time spent with their hands in the soil. I have befriended people who have vastly different worldviews than I do. If I had met them somewhere where we didn’t have common ground, I’m not sure we could have found friendship. We might have seen each other as too far apart had we not already been on common ground.
I hope I get better at finding common ground, and more patient about allowing common ground to grow connections between me and others before I assume that our different worldviews preclude friendship. My wish for the planet is that we all find a way to find common ground with those we think are too different, and try to grow from there.
I’m striving for middle ground right now. My need to earn a living has led me to an unexpected place. It requires that I be okay with being back in the business world, which isn’t always a place that harmonizes with my core being. Maybe you have thoughts for me that you can share.
Let me explain. Sustainability and living in harmony with the earth is my sacred ground. It’s where I stand in the truth of who I want to be in this world at this time. Wherever I find middle ground, it has to include this principle, or I no longer have any ground to stand on. Everything I do has to fall under this umbrella.
Recently, I started a new venture. I wanted to get some messages out to the wider world, and I collaborated with local artists to bring those messages to life. I loved them so much that I wanted to put them everywhere, so I worked with a print on demand shop to bring them to life on organic shirts, sweatshirts, etc. and I opened an Esty shop and another sales site. I love how it all turned out.
Someone lashed out at me today about this. They saw that I had a shop and immediately came to conclusions about me. It was someone who I had just met on common ground on a FB group that I founded and admin, and they took no time at all to find out who I was as a human before they decided that I was a sellout who didn’t belong on that common ground. It made me think about how we could all look at the ground we are standing on before we jump to conclusion that someone else doesn’t belong there.
As someone who’s jumped to that conclusion many times, I guess I’m just grateful that for once, I didn’t rush to judgment. In fact, this whole blog is just me reflecting on how many doors I might have slammed shut in my rush to judgment. And maybe it’s a message to the person who judged me. I know you, cause I’ve been you. I get it.
So if you ever find yourself on common ground with someone, and you think they don’t belong there, think again. In the words of my favorite prayer: “Let me seek not to be understood, but to understand”.
Thanks for listening, and please share your thoughts in the comments.