The quest to discover each other’s humanity. Imagine!

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Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition.   – Alexander Smith

There is a strategy I suggest teachers use when their students get two concepts confused; things like mitosis and meiosis, latitude and longitude, respiration and photosynthesis, similes and metaphors.  I tell them to teach the differences first because the human brain identifies difference and therefore by discussing how two items, terms or concepts are different, before we talk about their similarities, the distinction is clear.

Sadly, this amazing facet of the brain and how we learn, has considerable consequences for our relationships with others and, at times, our humanity.  If we unconsciously identify difference we see only how others are separate from us, are unlike us and therefore we can fail to connect.

If I see only your different coloured skin, your different language, your different rituals and customs, your different style of worship, your different sexuality; I fail to immediately see the points where we are the same.  Too often this quirk of the brain is abused by media trying to create divide. Groups are labelled, individuals and their human story are ignored to install fear, create derision, to divide us.  Sometimes these tactics are employed by governments to force us into line in support of what may be inhumane, immoral or unjust policy decisions (think the refusal to take in refugees).

You see, once I identify you as a person, with a history, with feelings, with hopes and dreams, I can’t ignore your plight. I am almost compelled to come to your aid, support you, vouch for you.  My fear is gone when I realise you and I are women, we have families, we have struggled, we have loved. Yes, our backgrounds and life experience may differ, we may worship differently, dress differently but whittle away the circumstances of our birth and we are both humans, raw and needy, intelligent and courageous, feisty and loving. This bonding would not serve government but it might just serve the longevity of the human race on this little planet of ours.

In the words of John Lennon, imagine what the world would be like if we sought our points of connection and bonded before acknowledging our differences? Imagine what the world would be like if we presumed positive intent rather than assumed others meant us harm. Imagine what the world would be like if we were positive by design rather than negative by default.  Imagine what the world would be like if we sought to discover each other’s humanity. Imagine what the world would be like.  Imagine!

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Walking with Robert Frost

The road less travelled

The chosen path

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

On my walk in the forest this morning I came to a fork in the path and was faced for a moment with a decision. Which way will I go? Almost without hesitation I took the road to my right. Neither path appeared less trodden, less traveled, they both looked fairly similar in terms of use and of scenery. I forged ahead on my chosen path without a second thought of what wonders the other path held. Instead, I found myself exhilarated by the journey, the sense of adventure that lay in the unexplored.  I was intrigued by the details I encountered – the small flock of finches humming their throaty song, the vibrant glow of the morning sun on my cheek and the deeply satisfying smell of the eucalypt, that always signifies home to me.

I sit now, with warm tea in hand, and  ponder Frost’s dilemma.  I do not wish to grow old, reflect and always hold that sense of loss for the path not taken. I do not wish to question, or second guess, nor do I wish to hold feelings of regret or remorse for what might have been.  There is no right or a wrong decision, no right or a wrong path. Instead, living a life of acceptance and gratitude; living life with a sense of reverence and wonder for the beauty and opportunities that are revealed  is, for me, far preferable than regret.

I will not sigh for moments lost, I will not sigh for what might have been. I will rejoice for opportunities taken and given, I will be grateful for the magic, mystery and wonders my path has held. And let’s be honest, what’s stopping me from hiking back and changing direction if I change my mind?

Wishing you a day filled with wonder.

Strong foundations

When travelling in Europe I revel in the beauty of the built environment. The architecture is stunning but more than that I marvel at how long these buildngs have been standing.

Taking in the awesome sights of ancient structures such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon and The Roman Forum as well as more ‘recent’ buildings like St Peter’s Basilica, the Basilica of Santa Maria Minerva and a wealth of others has me thinking about the importance of strong foundations.

A great deal of work goes into the foundations of a building that will last the test of time and withstand the elements. If we hope to have rich and meaningful lives we have to consider on what foundations are we building. Do we have a set of moral values that guide us, do we focus on building strong and lasting relationships, have we considered what we want our legacy to the world to be?

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What will we leave behind? Certainly there won’t be any gorgeous edifice erected in my name and I’m pretty sure I won’t go down in any history books but if I can leave behind a legacy of love, of joy, of tolerance and acceptance. If I can leave behind a legacy of gratitude, of self belief, creativity and a willingness to seek the truth and beauty in the world, in those I love, I’d be happy with that.

What are the foundations you are building your life on?

values1

Strong foundations

When travelling in Europe I revel in the beauty of the built environment. The architecture is stunning but more than that I marvel at how long these buildngs have been standing.

Taking in the awesome sights of ancient structures such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon and The Roman Forum as well as more ‘recent’ buildings like St Peter’s Basilica, the Basilica of Santa Maria Minerva and a wealth of others has me thinking about the importance of strong foundations.

A great deal of work goes into the foundations of a building that will last the test of time and withstand the elements. If we hope to have rich and meaningful lives we have to consider on what foundations are we building. Do we have a set of moral values that guide us, do we focus on building strong and lasting relationships, have we considered what we want our legacy to the world to be?

values4

What will we leave behind? Certainly there won’t be any gorgeous edifice erected in my name and I’m pretty sure I won’t go down in any history books but if I can leave behind a legacy of love, of joy, of tolerance and acceptance. If I can leave behind a legacy of gratitude, of self belief, creativity and a willingness to seek the truth and beauty in the world, in those I love, I’d be happy with that.

What are the foundations you are building your life on?

values1