Skip to main content
Center for Action and Contemplation
Radical Resilience
Radical Resilience

A Collective Response

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

In the podcast The Cosmic We, CAC faculty member Dr. Barbara Holmes considers the collective resilience needed during times of crisis:

It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a village to survive. For many of us, villages are a thing of the past. We no longer draw our water from the village well or share the chores of barn raising, sowing, and harvesting. We can get … almost everything that we need online. Yet even though our societies are connected by technology, the rule of law, and a global economy, our relationships are deeply rooted in the memory of local spaces.

Villages are organizational spaces that hold our collective beginnings. They’re spaces that we can return to, if only through memory, when we are in need of welcoming and familiar places. What is a village but a local group of folks who share experiences, values, and mutual support in common? I’m using the word “village” to invoke similar spiritual and tribal commitments and obligations.… When there is a crisis, it takes a village to survive.

In each generation, we are tested. Will we love our neighbors as ourselves, or will we measure our responsibilities to one another in accordance with whomever we deem to be in or out of our social circles? And what of those unexpected moments of crisis, those critical events that place an entire village at risk? How do we survive together? How do we resist together? How do we respond to unspeakable brutality and the collective oppression of our neighbors?

Our lifelong efforts to map our uniqueness do not defeat our collective connections. Although I’m an individual with a name, family history, and embodiment as an African American woman, I am also inextricably connected to several villages that reflect my social, cultural, national, spiritual, and generational identifications. These connections require that I respond and resist when any village is under assault.…

There’s a way in which we can come together as groups, as collectives, as individuals, and seek the highest good of all of us by using our gifts creatively. There really are alternatives. It’s not one thing or another. We don’t have to have large systems determining the outcome of our lives. We just have to think through creatively how we want to maximize the flourishing of most of us, not just a few of us.…

Where is your community hurting? Where can you be of help to that community? What resources and gifts do you possess that will enhance the healing of your own body and of your community? As a village, we have a sacred duty to respond to the crises of oppression and injustice. We have a responsibility to respond to the suffering of others around us. But first, we have to figure out who we are, how we’re going to show up, and how we’re going to work with others, our neighbors, in a communal response to crisis.

Adapted from Barbara Holmes and Donny Bryant, “The Village Response,” The Cosmic We, season 4, ep. 4 (Albuquerque, NM: Center for Action and Contemplation, 2023), podcast. Available as MP3 audio.

Image credit: Jenna Keiper, Keeping the Candle Lit (detail), New Mexico, photograph, used with permission. Click here to enlarge image.

Resilience requires endurance – we keep watch to keep the candle lit.

Story from Our Community:  

I ride the L train to get to work and school. Over the past 2 1/2 years, I’ve seen many sides of humanity—the generosity of strangers, the pain and isolation of mental illness, the goodness and the resilience of people who’ve been thrown away by our society. There are babies, the disabled, unhoused folks, and kids on their way home from class. I’ve seen a thousand different needs, hopes, desires, and storylines play out on the train. I ride and I bear witness. The train has become my chapel—a sacred space of encounter. Each ride offers an opportunity to be more aware of my fellow human, to respond to need with compassion, to do the next loving thing, then the next, then the next…. —Yoli J.

Navigate by Date

This year’s theme

A candle being lit

Radical Resilience

We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

The archives

Explore the Daily Meditations

Explore past meditations and annual themes by browsing the Daily Meditations archive. Explore by topic or use the search bar to find wisdom from specific teachers.

Join our email community

Sign-up to receive the Daily Meditations, featuring reflections on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.

Hidden Fields

Find out about upcoming courses, registration dates, and new online courses.
Our theme this year is Radical Resilience. How do we tend our inner flame so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or out? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.