Outside forms of media change us as we regularly go through our personal metamorphoses. Just like the Phoenix bird that dies and is daily reborn, we are always being altered. Alice Walker, states in her book The Same River Twice, “You can never step in the same river twice.” (It is always moving and changing). It is especially true for those of us who continually engage in meaningful conversations, read and try new adventures.
Conversations of substance make us ponder for days. Snippets of the exchange keep playing like a tape in our minds because parts of it linked to our souls. As the saying goes, “There was food for thought.” Growth was taking place. Outlooks were being altered. Former events were being put into perspective.
Think about running into an old friend who has not grown for whatever reasons. In trying to talk with them, it quickly becomes apparent that there is little to say. The weather can only be discussed for a limited amount of minutes. It becomes painfully clear that time has stood still for one while the other has kept it moving while expanding. Both will feel the discomfort because there is no common ground and the meeting will probably be brief, so that everybody can breathe.
Books can help us see life from many viewpoints. New information, cultural mindsets, and historical notes- something inside of every book helps to adjust the lenses of the mind. We try to put ourselves in other’s shoes, realizing that they are not responsible for where or how they were raised. We become more tolerant as we seek to understand and become less judgmental.
I recently read a memoir called At Home on the Kazakh by Janet Givens. She shared her experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer. The main thing that she learned while being steeped in a new culture was not to ask why. One of her biggest challenges was to accept the fact that some things just are and questioning their validity did not minimize the fact that they exist. She became more accepting and made lifelong friends.
Travel and new adventures open us as well. That is, if we are truly aware of our surroundings as we observe people, their customs and their culture. If we want to enjoy the journey, we look for ways to become more acculturated so we can fit in more easily.
We water the gardens of our minds by letting others have their own say and allow them to do things their way. Dr. Wayne Dyer wrote, “When you change the way you look at things, things change.” Actually, we change. We are altered as we add more tick marks to our calendars of growth!
July 6, 2015