Thank you for joining me on today’s post about cultivating differences. This is a very important piece on the way to living a sober and peaceful life.
“We ask, require, demand that those around us be like us, share our attributes, our beliefs. And in so doing, we compare… one to another. In that process, do we not squash the spirit of one who is different from us – one whose thoughts and dreams and talents lie in a different place?
“We are like the gates. Although similar in design, what thrives in one spot does not grow in another. On one, there is corrosion or patina, while on another is mellowed brass.
“One is not more beautiful than another. Each has beauty in its own right, if we will only look… if we will only see.”
I wrote the first and third stanzas in my journal in 2002 as a result of my work and healing around the issue of always having been compared to my sisters and always having been found deficient. In 2004, when I photographed this gate, I added the stanza that starts “we are like the gates…”
Certainly, the message is clear about color, and cultivating the differences with people of different color. There are many other differences among us that can also be cultivated. There are different talents, dreams, and occupations. If we would stop comparing each other and instead cultivate our differences, the world would be a gentler place in which to live.
How do we do that? We become secure about ourselves first, secure in who we are as individuals, strong about our beliefs of who we are. Then, we approach others with a sense of curiosity about who they are – their beliefs, their customs.
We applaud their uniqueness, recognizing that our differences make our lives more rich, more full. We respect them for these differences, even if we believe someone has more “value” as a person if they go to college, for example. We dispel that myth, because each of us has a calling, and we respect and encourage everyone’s calling. We recognize that what we do is not who we are.
How do you cultivate our differences? Do you compare, one to another, or do you celebrate our differences? Today, show respect and encouragement to those who are different than you. Become curious about the customs and beliefs of those whom you will meet throughout the day. Notice how good that feels in your heart, your soul.