Thursday, 1 December 2011

Sticks in a Bundle are Unbreakable


The title of this post is a Kenyan proverb and a lovely way of talking about the security of being part of a group. Rather like ‘United we stand divided we fall’, it’s the sort of feeling strikers get when they walk out together in order to raise awareness of a valid complaint.

I decided to Google the phrase and discovered that Sticks in a Bundle are Unbreakable is the name of a movement based in South Korea who want to... 
"...reach to the needy through numbers, through working together and through spreading love. In unity lies strength and the more people who become aware of different humanitarian needs around the globe will seek out solutions faster." 
Now that's an amazingly positive use of group strength. If only everybody had the same ideals. You can read more about them on their Facebook page.

I decided to look for more proverbs with a similar message. [Yes, I was supposed to be writing and no, this was not a strictly necessary activity but it was enjoyable nevertheless!]

None of us is as smart as all of us:
Brainstorming ideas can produce much better results than sitting scratching your head and thinking on your own. It works particularly well with a creative writing class, which brings me to writers' critique groups. They're not only helpful but they're enjoyable and inspiring too. If you're a writer and you don't belong to such a group then you must join one now!

A single leaf provides no shade:
I’m not sure if the two examples I’ve given here quite fit this proverb. What do you think?

Firstly, singing in a choir has a totally different feel to singing solo. I’ve only tried it once and it was amazing to be part of that wall of sound.

Secondly, my most mind-blowing group experience was when I took part in a group meditation. I’d tried meditating on my own several times with little success so when I joined a group I wasn’t expecting much, but as the group leader talked us into the meditation I could feel an atmosphere surrounding me, almost like a presence. I felt calm and positive and there was something else that I can't put into words, something quite spiritual. I've never experienced anything like it before or since.

Have I interpreted the ‘single leaf’ proverb correctly?

And what has been your most powerful group experience?


20 comments:

  1. Hello, Rosalind, I'm finally catching up with you. Happily married, I am still such a loner at heart. I really do not like group activities, but I realize that there is strength in numbers. HOpe all is well with you.

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  2. Great post, Rosalind. I've always believed brainstorming a must for writers. Ideas are so much better and stronger when discussed in a group.

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  3. My most powerful group experience has been with my family. Now that our children are grown and on their own, they make up an amazingly strong support group. My parents and sisters have been the same. Without these family support groups I can't imagine what my life would be.

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  4. Choirs for me every time -2000 people singing Faure at the Birmingham Symphony Hall has to be the tops for me...though I am not a group person in other respects. What about Aristotle's "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts"? Does that count?

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  5. My most powerful group experience has to be my family. I divorced when they were very young and our strength grew from that. Now it extends all the way to great grandchildren. Our strength comes from the Lord and cements itself with love.


    Mary

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  6. I think you have picked really good explanations of these proverbs.When I saw the heading sticks in a bundle it just reminded me how well a family works when they all work together. A bit like,many hands make light work.

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  7. Fabulous post. Most amazing group experience for me involves the church choir ... either singing an unaccompanied Bach cantata, or singing the Hallelujah Chorus. WOW!

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  8. Wonderful post! Some group experiences are sooooo powerful! :)

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  9. Hi Rosalind, the best group experiences I have encountered are when I was a youth with my team mates on our 5-a-side football competition. And secondly witnessing the Nauvoo Illinois temple dedication with a whole host of other missionaries of my church, back in 2002.

    Duncan In Kuantan

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  10. I'd never heard that "single leaf" quote, but I like it very much.

    Pearl

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  11. I love this proverb, what a great message. I'm blank on a group project right now, but I can say that being part of such an amazing group of bloggers has been a fantastic experience. I'm always amazed at how supportive this community is.

    Have a great weekend!

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  12. Yes, you've done well by these quotes. I appreciate the examples, Rosalind. On my own, I've only been able to meditate for about 7 minutes. In a group, I could go for 40. The power of a group is pretty amazing.
    Be well.
    xoRobyn

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  13. Hi Ros .. a great take on group help/influence .. yes I'm sure if one is open at that stage .. so I think all the ideas expressed here apply. I'm quite a solitary person .. and perhaps group people around me who help and are there when I need them .. I must try the group meditation thing one day as I struggle with that too ... I enjoyed my time being as part of a squash committee for the Chamber of Mines - that was fun and hugely rewarding - something I probably needed to experience earlier in life .. but got there eventually! Cheers - great thoughts here ..

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  14. And sometimes a large group of people are more stupid than an indivudual.

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  15. I wasn't trying to be nasty, just pointing out that sometimes proverbs are only apt if we don't actually look too closely at them.

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  16. I have sung in choirs and played in orchestras. But my most powerful group experience must be my critique group. I just missed two meetings by going away and can't wait for the next one.

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  17. Great examples, Rosalind. I have never tried meditating, but my daughter had a teacher in college who led the class in it and she said it was amazing. She tried on her own a few times, but it was never quite the same.
    My most powerful group experience would be my writing group. I've been in many different kinds of groups over the years, but I have never felt so accepted and supported as I do in my writing group.

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  18. I've never tried meditating. That sounds like a great experience! I used to play in an orchestra and I love the feeling of everyone producing music together.

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  19. So true Rosalind and this wonderful group of writers shows that. I have meditated a long time ago. I can't say I have time for it now, but it will be lovely to do something like that when my youngest starts school :)

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  20. Love the quotes. The last one made me think that on your own you have now lover, support - shelter but in a family or with friends you do.

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