One Plus One Equals One
by Debra Lynn Dadd
Whenever I sit down to write about a subject, I always look up the meaning of the word in a dictionary--often more than one dictionary--until I find the definition that really resonates for me. And so, having been invited to write about "connection"...
To connect means "to join together." It implies there are two, linked together in some way. Like a connection between two telephones or two ideas or two people...each is single and distinct and there is something that joins them together, like a cord or a
commonality or communication.
When I read that definition, I immediately laughed out loud. Because I could see that I no longer perceive myself as an isolated unit linked to another isolated unit, but rather connection to me means being a participant with another or others in a larger unified system.
I want to tell you two stories about how I experience this in my life.
BECOMING CONNECTED WITH NATURE
Until the age of 30, for me, Nature did not exist. Yes, I had been camping as a Girl Scout and had been on nature field trips in school, but my family was not very nature-oriented. I remember my father in particular admiring the ocean, but it was more of a
looking-at-it-from-the-window-of-a-car kind of experience rather than toes-in-the-sand. And I knew there were forests and whales out there somewhere, but they had nothing to do with me.
Then one day, quite out of the blue, I woke up one morning and "a voice inside me" said, "Get out of the city, and move out into nature." It was so clear that I was to do this that I got right up and went looking for a place to live that very day. That it was the right
move for me was verified by the fact that once I made the decision to move, everything opened up easily, and I went from renting a tiny studio apartment in the city to buying a whole two-bedroom house in the woods, for the same monthly payment.
I was drawn very specifically to Inverness, California, a village about 35 miles north of San Francisco, in a forest on a peninsula that separates a beautiful bay from the Pacific Ocean. Having grown up in suburbia, and then moving into the city, to live in such a rural
place was a radical departure for me.
With the exception of going to the aforementioned Girl Scout camp for two weeks every summer from ages eight through sixteen, and an extra-curricular nature study course in grammar school, I had not directly experienced Nature in my whole life. For the first time, I
became aware of nature as something immediately present--it wasn't "out in the wilderness" somewhere. For the first time, I experienced the natural progression of wild flowers appearing from nothing in the spring into full bloom and then disappearing completely until the
following spring when they would appear again as if by magic. For the first time, my neighbors were deer and raccoon. For the first time, I witnessed the whole cycle of watching green leaves unfurl from bare branches to their graceful flutter to the ground in the first
winds of winter. A huge plum tree hanging over my cottage burst into pale pink blossoms each February to let me know spring was on its way and summer meant collecting blackberries for breakfast from the bushes growing wild in my front yard. Each day of winter was obvious
as I shivered from my warm bed to the wood stove, where I actually had to light a fire for heat. The moon caught my attention too, occasionally shining through my bedroom skylight, as it made its monthly rounds.
I lived there alone and quietly for the next two years, without the constant activity of city life. I had never been alone like that before, nor had I lived in a natural ecosystem. I completely loved it. It wasn't a conscious decision to move to the country and quiet--I
had felt "unsettled" and was simply drawn to what I later found was exactly what made me comfortable.
In May of 1987, I gave a lecture sponsored by a local natural food store. After the lecture, a man came up to me and said, "I have a book on water I think you would like to read. May I give it to you?"
The book was Living Water: Viktor Schauberger and the Secrets of Natural Energy. At the time, this book was not published in the United States, and he offered me a photocopy of the edition published in England. I was very interested in reading this book because in
my work as a consumer advocate I frequently advised people on choosing water purification devices and there is much controversy over which is the "healthiest water to drink" and which type of purification is
I began reading about Viktor Schauberger, his experiences with water, and his observations of water in its natural state in the Earth. According to Schauberger, the natural cycle of water from the Earth to the atmosphere and back to the Earth is somewhat more complex than
water comes down as precipitation and evaporates back up to the sky.
In the full cycle, water falls to the Earth as precipitation, drains through the soil (rapidly cooling while sinking deeper and deeper until it reaches a certain level), then begins to rise, warmed by the Earth's heat and being vitalized with various metals, salts, and
gases, and finally bubbles to the surface as a spring.
This full cycle can only take place where there is appropriate vegetation cover to allow the rain to penetrate deeply.
This made perfect sense to me, and as I was reading I had a sinking feeling that the most healthful, energizing, optimal water we could possibly drink was the water that Schauberger was describing and it wasn't going to come from any of the water purification devices I
was recommending. The best that could be done with water purification devices at that time was to remove pollutants from the water we had contaminated; we couldn't make optimum water--only Nature could do that.
Something inside me woke up at that point and said, "But I want to drink Nature's water from a spring, not purified polluted water!"
Instantly I saw that I had been perceiving myself as separate from the rest of life and now I saw my existence as an individual was completely interconnected with the existence of all of the natural ecosystems in which I dwelled. Nature was sudden there, in my field of
awareness, and I was in it--interconnected--instead of being outside of it and separate.
With that experience, I became aware for the first time that what goes on within the four walls of our homes always has an effect--for better or worse--on what happens beyond them. To take actions which destroy the ability of the Earth to provide its abundant natural
gifts of sustenance for us and then try to protect ourselves from our own destructive actions and make an artificial life ultimately doesn't work. We all have the responsibility, and, indeed, the power, to create the
life-sustaining environment we wish to live in.
What was fascinating to me about this experience was ...it was simply a shift of spiritual perception. It was an expansion of my spiritual awareness to include a larger sphere of space to which I could extend my activities, care, and love. The whole wide world, and
indeed, the entire universe, was there all along. The only difference was simply becoming aware it was there, and realizing that it was connected to me and I to it. With this, Nature and I became one.
TWO PEOPLE, ONE MARRIAGE
We have a romantic idea in our culture that when two people marry they are joined together in a connection and "become one." But how, exactly, does this occur? When my husband and I married almost twenty years ago, we bumbled through this until we finally realized how to
both be ourselves individually and also be one.
When we first got together, each of us were operating with a "me first" viewpoint. We were both looking for love and wanting a lifetime partner, but we each wanted that for ourselves as individuals. We didn't much consider how what we were doing as individuals
would affect the other person. We were definitely individuals "sharing" life together. We were a "couple"--one plus one equaled a two.
We did make an effort to not to offend each other. We kept to our mutual agreement to show up for dates and not go out with other people and take joint responsibility for our household. But we were still operating as two individual people in a relationship.
From this stance of being two separate individuals, it was easy to fall into an opposition with each other. We had our first fight when we started living together and needed to purchase some bath towels. We went shopping together and had no problem selecting oversized
bath sheets in a blue we both liked. But then...I wanted to buy six and Larry only wanted to buy four. We had agreed before we went shopping that we would pay for these towels half-and-half. When we discovered our "difference of opinion" on this matter, we both ground in
our heels and fought for our respective positions. We finally ended the fight by "compromising" and buying five towels. It was a lose-lose--neither of us got what we wanted. (But we did laugh about how we now couldn't split up because we couldn't divide an odd number of
Despite the unifying effect of our love for each other, this oppositional behavior continued for years, and eventually ended in divorce. Each of us kept fighting for ourselves until our differences appeared irreconcilable. I don't remember how we split up the towels.
But love proved to be stronger than ignorance. We got back together and made an intention to learn how to have a wonderful relationship. And from that, we learned how to be a team. This is one of those things that is so, so simple, once we saw it we wondered why we
couldn't see this before.
In any situation where there are two, there is opportunity for both cooperation and opposition. In a football game, for example, there are two teams. Within each team, there is cooperation--everyone on the team works together to win. The other team is the opposition.
It is the same In a marriage. We had been--like most couples--opposing each other. But then we realized that in our marriage, we could be a team and cooperate together to win working on various projects and to solve the problems of life that opposed us. This has made an
enormous difference in our relationship. It has created a "we" out of two "me's".
This does not mean we have given up our individuality. Not at all! We both are still responsible for ourselves, but now we also exist as a unit--a separate entity-- we both belong to, contribute to and benefit from. There is me and him and our marriage. We consider what
is best for us as well as for ourselves individually (and often realize that what is best for us together is also what is best for each of us as individuals). From this position of operating as us instead of "you and me," we together
find solutions where we both win instead of compromising and both losing. We each are caring for and watching out for the other and the ongoing existence of the team as well as ourselves.
This change in view took several years, but now we live from it. We both feel secure in our togetherness and know that nothing can break us up. We know with certainty that we are together. This is so natural to us now that we expect other couples to operate from this team
viewpoint too, and are surprised when we see other couples being oppositional with each other.
Though we dwell in two bodies, we truly have united in one heart.
The thing about this, though, is that it doesn't require a husband and a wife to be a team. Any two people can agree to be a team, or any group of people can agree to be a team. It just requires agreement to stand together and act cooperatively for the good of each and
the team. It requires a commitment to the ongoing existence of the team. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all get together and be Team Earth?
© Copyright 2007 Debra Lynn Dadd.
All Rights Reserved.
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Debra Lynn Dadd has
been a leading consumer advocate in the field of health and
the environment since the early 1980s. She was the first to
comprehensively write about toxic chemicals in common
household products in language meant for consumers, which
created a demand for the many nontoxic products we find on
the market today.
Beginning with her first
self-published book in 1980, Debra's various books have been
continuously in print for twenty-five years. Her book Home
Safe Home is the definitive guide to toxic exposures in the
home and safe solutions. She also publishes Debra's List--a
free online directory of 100s of links to 1000s of products
with health and environmental benefits--and three free
online newsletters: Health, Home, and Habitat, a weekly
recipe using natural sweeteners, and Words of Wisdom--a
daily quotation on nature or spirit. She has been a regular
contributor to Natural Home & Garden magazine since it's
Hailed "The Queen of
Green" by the New York Times, Debra has appeared on
many radio and television shows including Geraldo and the
Today show. She was featured on the cover of East West
Journal (now Natural Health magazine) and Yoga Journal.