A single view is a narrow view, an obstructed view, a view of single pointedness… and while it is the truth of the one who is sharing, it will never produce the whole picture, the entire experience or “experiences” of all involved and will eventually leave us wanting for more. More understanding. More empathy. More hope. More love. More awareness. More possibility. There has to be an other way! An other’s VIEW! A view outside of myself, my perspective, my surroundings. Eventually you become claustrophobic if you think your surroundings, your life, your experiences are all there is?
My AMAZING hairdresser, shared with me one day, that she had a young lady come in, who had never been to the neighbouring town of Brights Grove only a 20-30 minutes drive outside of town. This was unacceptable! So my friend arranged to take the young lady on this adventure the very next day. We currently reside in Sarnia, ON. on the St. Clair river at the mouth of Lake Huron. The scenery changed drastically enough on the north end of town that the young girl inquired, “Is this Brights Grove?” This is when my friend realized, she had never even traveled to the other end of town. Now I don’t mention this to bring shame upon the young lady or her caregivers. I simply forgot, that not everybody lives as I do. My world expanded into that young girls life experience and left me reflecting for days! If you never stepped outside of your neighbourhood and local shops, the images you would find on the internet of far away places might have no reality to them. They might as well be made up worlds and far away lands of movie screens and science fiction if you have never physically witnessed a different landscape! The first time I saw a “cow pie” I laughed uncontrollably for like 10 minutes! A) Cows are giant! B) Their poops are giant! C) the phrase “cow pie” suddenly had very real meaning to me! Oh My Gah, I still laugh just remembering. . .
If you have traveled, can you recall your firsts? First time seeing the ocean, or Great Lakes, climbed a mountain, or got lost in the woods? Hell, I remember the first time I stayed at someone else’s house for an overnight! My home smelled different, our food, our furniture and our daily routines were different. We forget the many emotions, thoughts, and beliefs that were blown wide open or brought into our worlds in these quick moments. So easily, I had forgotten. So readily, I have judged the viewpoints of those who have never seen more of the world. How could they not feel certain of their experiences and beliefs? I feel just as certain, having seen and explored different landscapes, and even different parts of town.
A wonderful group of people recognized and addressed the need for broadening students perspectives and experiences through a program called STREAM in St. Louis. They took inner-city kids into Nature, on overnight camp trips, ropes courses, the importance of changing your clothes after hiking all day in order to stay warm at night and to learn and then teach other kids how to make candles, build a fire, work with leather, etc; These were definitely not a part of your average “city dweller’s” experiences. The purpose was not to say that country/rural life is the way, rather to open our eyes to OTHER ways of VIEWING and SEEING the world. As a result many of us experienced for the first time, fear of heights, fear of the dark? (did you know it is much darker in the woods at night than in the city?) I remember attending University in the rural rolling hills of Southern Iowa and I couldn’t sleep for 3 weeks because it was too quiet. I literally had a greater fear of someone or something jumping out to get me behind every bush and tree that first month than I ever felt walking home at night in my neighbourhood alone. We judge each other this way, and think it is so much more dangerous or better where you live and how ridiculous YOUR FEARS are and how MY FEARS make sense! These ideals break down into our marriages, our working relationships, national politics and international diplomacy!
To further this personal inquiry I’d encourage you to view this eloquent TEDx talk from an amazing Story-teller! How could we take her wisdom and strategize to make our life and the lives of others richer and more abundant? Where is your life story, one-dimensional? What fears arise within you if you were to consider exploring the literature of another religion? the foods of an other culture? a full days work of one of your employees or your boss?