differentThe more I share with others my personal experiences, the clearer it is to me that real life is about diversity. Though we may be together in experiencing these times on planet Earth, our personal experiences vary, and in some cases, contrast with one another.

One of the stickiest puzzles of my life has been the way which I’ve found my own experiences to be so different from the experiences of others. I may be in a group when something occurs and have a completely different take on what just happened than they will. This has been a phenomenon that’s confused me, and also been a source of pain for me for most of my lifespan.

Starting when I was very young, I noticed this differentness in the quality and content of what I was perceiving when compared to the experiences shared by others. It became a source of pain that I nurtured inside me, afraid to mention it, lest it brand me with this differentness. This painful secret has been an arrow through my heart somehow, like some mark of separation for me to know this separation between me and the rest of the human race on some fundamental level.

These consistently contrasting experiences have had me longing for what I felt I had no access to. This longing was for a sense of belonging, for some sort of sameness to prove to me that I wasn’t an exile to the group, an exile to the human race somehow.

Like an oyster building a pearl around an irritating grain of sand, this consistent contrast was kept as hidden as I could, for as long as I could, as a sort of unconscious agreement to an instinctual feeling that I needed this sacrifice of my authenticity to survive. It wasn’t to subside until I became developed enough to open up and own this contrasting quality of my own awareness, of my own perception.

This craziness in my world has even been some kind of secret source of shame as well. It’s only shown itself to be so in the process of opening up and in finding the way to show what’s authentically going on within me. Here I am; rough shell, tender innards, pearl and all. It’s been a long-term rite of passage into maturity to even gain access to this knowledge on a conscious level.

It’s only been in the last decade or so that I’ve found more solace in interactions with my peers. This has happened gradually. This immense blessing has been welcomed as nothing less than miraculous in my view, and yet, even this miracle is no guarantee that the contrast will not appear again and again in my personal interactions.

While it’s been difficult to hold this ‘contrast card’ in such a consistent way for so long, I now begin to see how this is an aspect that is vital to our community too. Along with my acceptance of this aspect and expression of myself, more relations come forth in my life with more closely matching experiences to share. Perhaps without finding the courage to share my own, I might never know this.

Even so, there’s still this subtle (or not so subtle) social pull to match up with some sameness. It’s amazing how often people will show that they only wish for agreement and validation, rather than dealing with and understanding what may contrast with their own experiences.

I’m not immune to these feelings either. In my contrariness, I’ve been feeling these same feelings for most of my lifetime. It’s been like the bedrock of my feeling state about what may be shared with others and like a bed of nails that I created to rest on.

These feelings run deep in us, and yet, we find it hard to communicate honestly and clearly about them. It’s difficult to express our authentic truths with such pressures to conform and agree. We feel we need to swap our unique and authentic experiences for some sense of belonging. All the more slippery is the fact that the driving forces moderating our expressions exist in the range of our feelings and not in our mental fields of awareness at all.

Sameness or contrast, it’s all a part of the beautiful diversity we express as a group. I’ve been personally enriched by our diversity in many ways, as sharing in diversity broadens my ability to know more than I may perceive alone, and refreshes my perceptions versus my own tendency to box them in, in some attempt to control the unfathomable, and to marginalize my own perceptions in order to escape the feeling of being isolated and insular.

It’s also been surprising to me that in coming out of the habitual discomfort in order to speak my truths has caused some people to feel marginalized in their own perceptions. But, is this truth? Or, is it true that what I model in my quest to share the most authentic me triggers their own marginalization of their own perceptions?

Good questions. Ones I don’t pretend to know the answers for anyone, including myself. I continue to try balancing on a tightrope between expressing freely in my fullest integrity, and fearing this may upend someone else’s sense of self (and their ability to manage this balance for themselves). Though I have to say, it’s becoming less and less possible for me to moderate my expressions based on fear of any kind.

In these intense times, I share these thoughts to encourage us all to find acceptance for our own and for each other’s diversity. We aren’t here in such diverse richness to be the same. Unity Consciousness isn’t having the same thoughts, experiences, or coming to the same conclusions on every matter.

We don’t need to be the same to accept one another and our differences. We don’t need to agree, or to like what’s offered. We just need to be willing to offer acceptance.

It’s through our acceptance of both sides of the perceptual coin; that which agrees and validates, and that which contrasts and diversifies, which offers greatest opportunities for growth. May we learn to understand our preferences for what they are, being mindful of them, and to offer more clarity on what are we seeking as well.

This clarity will come. We’re able to offer it as we come to such clarity individually, and we find ways to model what it looks like to accept one another in loving ways. It’s what we’ve come together in these times for. We manage to accomplish this feat through our love, our loving attention, and our willingness to be present for each other the way we really are.

Written for Gaia Scenics’ View

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