It’s always liberating to me whenever I get rid of clutter in my house. Whether it’s boxing up things for charity or just taking the trash to the curb, it feels great getting rid of useless and messy stuff that takes up valuable space. A bit of a do over can then happen where those worn out old items can be replaced with newer and better things and I can breath easier without the harmful, toxic waste that had been accumulating in my kitchen. The same can be applied to our ways of thinking.
We all have fixed beliefs regardless of how much truth they hold. Take tomatoes. Plump and juicy ones eaten right off the vine are a luscious treat but one I’ve deprived myself of because I’ve always assumed the climate where I live was not sunny/hot enough to grow them. It turns out I was completely wrong and they will indeed thrive in our sometimes extended coastal gray weather. Thanks to a helpful person pointing this out, I may soon be enjoying scrumptious fresh tomatoes right from my backyard!
Fixed Narratives Imprison us
Now missing out on home grown tomatoes weighs in pretty low on the life grievance scale. The bigger point is that I had been purposely denying myself a nice thing because of an incorrect belief I held strongly to without questioning it. How many other fixed narratives was I allowing to imprison me from seeing/experiencing cool stuff because I refused to acknowledge and remove my own blinders?
Where this fails most I think is when it comes to human interaction, as subconscious beliefs about a person based on how they look, their income level, sex, race, etc…creates predetermined thoughts in our head on how this person may act or what their values are. When I was younger and struggling with social phobia issues, I used to talk myself out of going to parties by thinking “there won’t be anybody interesting there ” based entirely on my belief that Southern California was full of fake, shallow people. Keep in mind this region covers multiple counties and thousands of square of miles, yet I had somehow pegged the personalities of all 20 plus million people who live there!
In reality of course, my assuming people I had never met were not worth my effort was a convenient way for me to avoid my own insecurities and feel justified about it. It’s too bad, people can be fascinating and everyone has a story to tell if you give them a chance. I realize that now and thank God because it’s allowed many interesting and dear friends in to my life.
The Demonization of Politics Creates Ignorance
Political narratives too can be very destructive to personal relationships. I believe most of how we think politically comes from our parents and we add our own perspectives as we learn about the world and grow. This is normal and good but what I find disturbing is the hard “left or ”right” boxes both the D and R parties are constantly trying to stuff us in to by “fixing” our narratives for us. This has been going on for eons of course; as each candidate naturally wants you to believe their opponent comes straight from the depths of hell and by fiat this extends also to the every day people that identity with those “villains.”
Social media has put this on steroids which, when combined with an easily distracted public and a press of questionable ethical standards, equals a lot of ignorance when it comes to understanding other political parties and your friends, family, neighbors who may affiliate with them. It’s extremely divisive this demonizing of political opponents as it filters out to the general public and things can get vicious.
I will never forget doing volunteer work with the San Diego Humane Society and chit chatting with my group. We had gotten to talking lightly about politics when I mentioned I identify with the Tea Party’s focus on fiscal conservatism. This triggered one man to let loose a string of obscenities and rattle on about how they are in bed with the Koch brothers, are racist, blah, blah, blah. I engaged a bit but only for the benefit of the others hearing a different perspective. The other man was a lost cause, so blinded by hate against people he had never met and obviously knew nothing about except what politicians spoon fed him. We all missed out that day on what could have been a productive discussion and in sharing our very human experiences due to the fixed narrative this man held.
The Spark of God
We are all unique, built by God in his image with a specific set of traits for His purpose. Keep this in mind when interacting with others and you’ll see it; that person’s divinity and the gift they are providing by communicating with you. This is impossible if your mind is cluttered with predetermined junky thoughts about this person, or if your mouth is more active than your ears.
As Wayne Dyer likes to say, we are spiritual beings living a very human experience. Let’s share that experience with each other, learning, giving and receiving as we do it. Perhaps over a few fresh home grown tomatoes and a nice bottle of Chianti!