Where Are You Headed?
Shortly after my nineteenth birthday I took a bus from my home state to Yosemite National Park in California. As a rock climber I wanted to see what Yosemite had to offer. I hadn’t traveled much outside my local area, so I purchased a bus ticket that went to Augusta, Georgia, then across to San Diego, California, and north to Yosemite.
Throughout the trip I began to learn how diverse the world could be. Imagine arriving at a bus terminal at two o’clock in the morning, waiting for the next bus to arrive a few hours later. I saw people who looked different than me, spoke different languages than I did, and some, had all their worldly possessions in a shopping cart. This was all new to me. I met people who spoke English but it didn’t sound anything like the English familiar to me.
One of the things the bus trip did for me was it caused me to rethink how I saw the world. I learned that where I was raised was nowhere near as diverse as the rest of the country. This realization could have scared me, but instead it opened me up to seeking the commonalities I had with others rather than focus on our differences.
Is it possible to search for our commonalities, rather than focus on our differences? To do so, we must set aside the fear we may have of those who look and sound different than us. On my cross country trip, I saw many people who were looking for ways to improve their lives, just as I was. Even though their idea of a better life may have differed from mine, this did not make their vision wrong, just different.
One of the challenges with accepting diversity is it can shake our foundation, causing us to question what we have been taught, or what makes us comfortable. It can be easy to retreat to old habits of thought, because we know them, and often our thoughts justify our actions, even if our actions serve no positive purpose.
A way to ease our uncertainty about those who are different than us, would be to begin a conversation. When I met new people on the bus, one of the first questions I asked was, “Where are you headed?” It’s a simple question, but from there the conversation always expanded. If we fail to begin a dialogue to seek a better understanding, then we will be making assumptions that are not always true, or based on any real facts.
Arriving in Yosemite, the diversity expanded even further, because Yosemite is a destination for international travelers. If I had chosen to stay in my comfort zone, I would have missed many opportunities to learn about different parts of the world from the people who live there.
When we recognize the benefits of a diverse world, we no longer need to be afraid of what we don’t know. Living without the fear of the unknown, allows us the courage, and compassion to ask heartfelt questions, and then begin to have an honest, informed conversation. It will be in these conversations where we start to see that we have more in common with those who look, speak and view the world differently than we do.
Once we reach a place of understanding each other, no matter where we live, how we choose to live, or who we choose to love, we can open a dialogue that will benefit everyone. One of the powerful things about embracing diversity is each of us has a point of view that may be beneficial to others.
The intention of living a life that accepts everyone is to make life easier, not more challenging. I knew little about homelessness when I boarded the bus bound for Yosemite, but I had the compassion to recognize the homeless, and the struggles they face each and every day. When we are compassionate to those who appear different than us, we can begin to unite as one people to help those who are facing unseen struggles.
Diversity within a society has its challenges. People will judge others without a true understanding of who they are judging. Judgement will always interfere with our acceptance of a diverse culture. As we have seen, judgement is often founded in fear, and a lack of true understanding. When we are informed, and aware, our fear diminishes and we lose our need to judge. This allows us to open our arms to the beauty found in the hearts of others, in doing so we open our hearts to them as well.
I spent the next nine months working in Yosemite. I left in early June on a bus back to my home state. This time traveling straight across the heartland of this beautifully diverse country, eager to meet people who were nothing like me. Excited to ask the question, “Where are you headed?” ready to begin a conversation for more understanding, and being open to learning a diverse point of view.
Can we learn to appreciate the diversity we see every day? Is it possible our fear of a diverse world has no foundation in truth or love? The next time you meet someone who appears different than you, don’t be afraid to ask the question, “Where are you headed?” the answer may surprise you. You may be going in the same direction.
Is it possible to look past our differences and recognize the value in our diversity?
Let me know what you think, I’m always open to exploring the subject further. Leave a question, or comment below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d enjoy hearing from you.
Each week I email an article to those who have subscribed to my weekly. This week I wrote about the importance of peeling back the layers of our emotions to discover their root, Thereby allowing healing to take place. Here is an excerpt.
In the perfect world, love would be the foundation of our emotions and behavior. Yet life can be a challenge at times. It may be difficult to be loving and kind when we are involved in a situation that makes us angry. Although if we fall into the trap of negativity then our anger controls us. Working to remain loving will benefit us because in this elevated, emotional state of consciousness we are receptive to the guidance that will help us the most.
To read or receive these weekly articles, scroll to the very bottom of the page where you will find a place to subscribe. When you do, you will receive a free article titled, “The Journey”.
I recently had a wonderful conversation and a few laughs, with Brett Wilson of Mountain Zen Den, www.mountainzenden.com. We talked about the importance of an intuitive feeling, and how journaling helped me discover my inner voice. Below is the link to our conversation.
Brett and his wife Melissa, use nature as a way to help people on their journey for personal growth, and self-development. Check out their website and podcasts for inspiration.
I’m excited to announce my second book, “A Complete Life, Discovering Your Authentic Self” has been handed off to the publisher with an expected launch date of Spring 2022. I’ll keep posting updates here, and on my social media platforms as to when I have an actual release date.
To purchase a copy of my book, “Your Inner Guidance, The Path to Discovering Your True Happiness,” and you live in my area, you can buy it at Salida Books in Salida, or The Book Nook in Buena Vista. Or reach out to me, I’ll even sign it for you.
Or, you can also buy it through Amazon, as an eBook or paperback, by clicking on the link. Please feel free to leave a review.
I’m fortunate to write a monthly column for Conscious Shift Magazine. This month you can find my article, “Joining Together.” This seems more important now that at any other time in recent history. Click the link to read more.
Check out Conscious Shift Magazine as a great resource for guidance and inspiration.
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Thank you for reading this post, and being a part of this wonderful adventure called life. I appreciate your support.
Peace and Well-Being
Copyright Paul Hudon 2022