The Color Of Our Stripes
Each being deserves a place to be. A place to call home. This earth was made for all of us. Every single one. All souls count. My mix of DNA does not make me better than someone with a different mix. I'm unique, you're uniquely made, and so is the next person. Your genetic makeup does not make you a bad person. If one chooses to knowingly do negative things to others, being abusive to others in any form, treating them unkind because they are different in DNA, because they drive something different, put their socks on the left foot first instead of the right, etc, is a choice that definitely shows a persons true character.
It’s unfortunate that a lot of anger and hostility comes from conditioning, from the culture, family, and those main influences that surround the person throughout their lifetime.
Let’s look at it this way. Let's say your mom says you can’t be friends with John. Sadly, you question why because John is one of your best friends. “Well honey, because they are blue with purple stripes and we are blue with red stripes” is the answer that you receive. Now you as an open child, carefree full of joy and get along well with others, then start to change how you look at the world. And so it starts. But really if we are truly accurate it started long before that, even before you could talk or walk.
There you are on the floor playing, your curious bright eyes take everything in. The sights, the smells the actions of others. You saw your brother refuse to eat broccoli. So guess what? None of that junk for you! You picked up on how your family communicated with one another and you started mimicking that too. Are they loud and boisterous? Most likely you had to learn how to be that way as well to get heard. Were they aloof and stayed away from conflict? Well you might have followed in their footsteps. Or maybe you were the one that was the opposite, the one that defied the ways things were done in your family unit.
Now you’re 35. For the most part you clearly know what you like and dislike. And by now many of those choices have been impacted by others, their belief systems, and their actions. Some are also influenced by your own experiences.
It’s been 25 years. You are walking to your unknown destination looking around. Looking at all of the people. Your monkey mind is in high gear. With each passing person there comes a new thought based on old beliefs. “Oh well that person is dressed like that so they are”, “See that homeless person that means…” “Look at that kid who taught him to act like..”
The thoughts heavily laden with judgments continue. No one is safe, not even you. You ruminate on the things about yourself that you don’t like. You start to feel sad.
Then as you turn a corner you almost collide with someone. You stop. And before you get even angrier and state what’s on your mind, and by now there’s a lot flying around in there, you see who it is. It’s John. The little boy has grown up. Just like you he has his own set of beliefs. John is no longer that boy, that boy that was devastated when you told him why you couldn’t play together.
You told him exactly what mom said, “Well honey, because they are blue with purple stripes and we are blue with red stripes”.
Your face reddens, this time not out of anger, but out of the memory from so long ago that still haunts you at times. You say nothing and look away. You are about to act like you don’t recognize him and walk away.
John recognizes you. As he says your name you recoil. Then John does some thing unexpectedly. With a smile he puts his hand out towards you.
What do you do? Most importantly what would you like to do differently than before?
Oftentimes we hold onto belief systems, programs, pain that no longer serves. Things that we have the choice to let go of and let heal.
Sometimes the souls that are the meanest, cruelest, are the ones that are in the most pain themselves. Whether or not they have identified the pain or choose to acknowledge it is one thing. But that’s them. That’s their story.
What about you? The choice is always yours, even if you were taught one way of thinking you could make the active choice to change that thought process.
Its never too late to remember that its not the color of our stripes that matter but the true beauty of our soul.
Tabby Sapene MSW, LISW-S
Oasis Of The Heart