Today in my group for folks in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, a wise woman who is doing her internship with us, whose first career was as a world traveling journalist and who is back in school at the seasoned age of 58, to earn her MA as a Licensed Professional Counselor, brought in a map to share with us. As she unrolled it, she asked us if we knew where Philadelphia was. Of course, we all knew. Then she inquired what country is North of the United States and naturally, we responded “Canada”. One man, jokingly answered “Mexico”. She then queried what coast we were on and the unanimous reply was “East.” “Are you so sure?,” was her grinning volley back to us. She then held up the map that was an aerial view. From that perspective, everything seemed topsy turvy. Mexico was indeed North and Canada, South of our West Coast city of Philadelphia. Imagine that! The planet is a globe, with no sides or edges.
Our cartographical perspective ain’t nuthin’ compared to our attitudinal perspective. How often do we insist that things are a certain way, and argue our point to the place of exhaustion or even death, when in truth, as my mother would have said, “There are three sides to every story; yours, mine and the truth.”? Way too often. I took it a step further as I asked a group member what color his loafers were. His answer was ‘brownish-black’ and the others nodded. “What if,” I aked “you were taught that those were green and it was beaten into you, physically or emotionally that they were green and after awhile you started believing it? And what if you grew up in a culture where those were referred to as ‘purple’? You would come to accept that they were purple or green.” It’s all about consensus reality. It’s what the collective believes to be so and then we act as if it is true. It gets us into a whole bunch of trouble at times and it can liberate us.
Think about all of the ‘myths’ we were taught about the Earth being flat, that all of the things that could ever be invented were already created, that a man couldn’t run a four minute mile, that people of different skin hues and sexual preference or age or gender were of varying value as human beings, that one religion was more true than any other, rather than seeing them as divergent ways of ‘voting for God’ as I heard a child define it. Consider what you believe about yourself, your abilities, the life around you, and your own worth. If you see yourself from all perspectives, I can assure you that you will see yourself as the world, full, diverse, beautiful and unified. You are and it is indeed, a wonderful world.
http://youtu.be/vufdVD2hAPU Wonderful World