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Monthly Musings: Perception

People fear what they don’t understand. 
Traveling the world allowed me to see that our lifestyle, our beliefs, our experience of reality in our small corner of the world, is nothing more than the beautiful combination of choice and circumstance. You grow up to believe this or that, this version of right, this version of wrong. Of course there are truths we all hold to be universal, like the power of love, the importance of community, the gift of friendship, the joy of freedom... But the way in which we value those things creates the order we assign to our lives.
We are raised with a certain set of beliefs, an ideology about the world and the way it functions. Education systems in our given country perpetuate those beliefs, and then as you grow, you hopefully challenge what you were told was true, only to form some version of “life, as it should be” on your own. Rooted in your past wrapped up in the personal weavings of your own experience. Our circumstances shape us and then we chose to carry on in one way, or challenge it and adapt.
But then, we travel the world. We learn about different religions, and cultures, we see inside the family structures and value systems that hold together communities, we see they have a rightful space in existence and then what is there to fear? It is beautiful really, if you are open to seeing and experiencing it all. You realize what you were taught, is nothing more than ideas passed down from one generation to the next, adapted slowly over passing time about what it is we are here to do, to see, to believe, to value, what space we should occupy and why. Travel is freedom… it emboldens you with choices and ignites your future with endless possibilities. Only to learn we are all the same, we are all on what may feel like separate journeys to the same destination, living different realities based on varying circumstances, all just trying to choose what feels like truth, to us.
Maybe if we could all see that, we wouldn't be so afraid.
Maybe if we all knew just how similar we are, and how connected we are, we would treat each other with more kindness. We would see suffering in another as our own. We would honor the circumstances of each other's lives as full, whole, rich, beautiful and rightful realities.
You deserve to be here, to breath in this fresh air and feel your feet firmly planted in the soil of this mountain top, as much as I. You deserve to taste freedom and joy and experience laughter and pain. We all deserve to be loved and respected. 
I can imagine someone reading this will tell me what an idealist I am...but, I deserve to experience life as I choose.
I wish the same for all of you. 

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