Thursday, July 25, 2013

365 Inspirations—206: We are All in This Together

Celebrate the Differences!
"We all have to live together, so we might as well live together happily."—Dalai Lama

I think it's easy to get caught up, through the internet and what not, in all that we may not have.

Maybe you look over the fence and find that you don't have what your neighbor has. Maybe you don't have a fence. The grass is always greener on the other side, so they say.

But is it really?

We are only looking at another person's reality through our own eyes. It is our perception of that person's reality. We can't possibly know the struggles or difficulties another faces by merely observing a situation externally.

It's helpful, maybe, to realize that no one has a perfect life. We are all in this together. Some struggle more than others or find themselves in more trying situations than we might currently be in, but it doesn't make us exempt from experiencing trials and struggles and similar experiences.

Today two smiling Jehovah Witnesses came to my door. An elderly African American woman had such a twinkle in her eye, that even though I don't usually take solicitations, I decided to hear her out.

She said, "What's the one tragedy or difficulty in the world that you'd like to see taken away if it were possible?" I said that I didn't know, there are so many.

She continued, "If all pain, suffering and even death could be taken away, how would you feel?"

I thought about people who are in pain in hospitals or who have lost a family member and I said, "That would be beautiful." I didn't think too much about it, but I thought that would be nice.

She read a few passages from the bible, but she did not preach to me. She just left me with those questions to ponder, gave me a pamphlet and then she smiled and turned away with her friend and told me that she came because we are all neighbors and she said, "Have a wonderful day."

I liked that she said, "We are all neighbors." It made we think of how we are all in this boat together, this world together, no matter what we may be going through, what we believe or how we live.

It made me appreciate my life and made me want to share what I have with others. Understanding that we are all neighbors made me think of how much easier it would be to appreciate and even celebrate the successes of others and to really reach out to those that are struggling too.

In September I'm going to Peru with my husband and a bunch of yoga students. I'm also going there to do book research. The woman who owns the house we will be staying at in Sacred Valley sent me a book when she heard I'd be writing one about the area. It's called Pachamama's Children. Pachamama means 'mother earth' in Quechua and they believe that all of us are children of this earth. One of the most beautiful things I read about in the book is called ayni.

Ayni means "today for you, tomorrow for me." The Quechua believe in the idea of reciprocity. It's the idea that everything is shared and that I'm not separate from you. Everything from farming to rearing children to cooking food is shared. On my very first trip to Peru, almost 20 years ago, I witnessed this hospitality. I was frequently invited to eat food and stay with the locals and they kindly gave me all that they had, even though it was very little.

I can't forget this. Anytime I catch myself wondering why I may not have something that someone else has, I try to remind myself that we are all humans sharing this world. Nothing really belongs to us and we can't take anything with us when we go.

I try and appreciate the beauty I have right in front of me for the offering. It may be a tree or a flower or the sun on my face or the light of the moon that streamed through my bedroom blinds last night, beckoning me to come to the window and look out at it. What I realized, while standing there staring,  was this: It doesn't matter where we live, who we love, or what we believe—we all get to see the very same moon and enjoy its beauty.

Do you appreciate the beauty in life and do you share it with others, even if their thoughts, beliefs and ideas may be different from you own?


  1. Beautiful post. I have listened to a few door-to-door pitches myself through the years, and I agree that sometimes you leave those meetings just feeling so *good,* even when you don't necessarily agree with that person's particular teachings. I think their passion is just what shines through, and their happiness is really contagious. Leaves you with that little purring feeling in your chest like maybe this world isn't so hopeless after all. :)

  2. I'm doing vocal coaching for musical theatre camps this summer and one of the songs we worked on this week was titled "We're All in This Together"~while I'm not fond for the musical from which it's from, hearing my little cast of 3rd graders belting this out made my heart so happy this afternoon.

    And then I came home and found your blog with the same title!