Stories are a powerful medium through which the tales of people’s lives can be communicated to the world at large. Storytelling is a unique art that requires the wit, craft, and intelligence to piece the important parts together to create a cohesive narrative.
We say each person’s story and journey through life is unique – but is that really the case? The fundamental unifying factors of all stories are experiences, and emotions associated with those experiences. We are all human beings so how different can things really get…
What’s different is the packaging. Each of us is conditioned to express ourselves in a specific way, which is highly shaped by our past, upbringing, experiences, and people in our lives. This individualized unique expression is gift wrapping paper – it comes in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and designs (just like humans, at the physical level at least). But tear away the layers and layers of gift wrapping and packaging and ultimately we all share a fundamental core spirit within. This may sound Vedantic, but this philosophy (for me) transcends religion and spirituality. It is the very essence of humanity, of what it means to be a living, breathing human being.
Very rarely, we take time to reflect on things we take for granted, especially at a physiological, mental, and emotional level as Homo sapiens. Our capacity to think and feel, to be rational or irrational, to act out or act in – these are all privileges given to the human species. Some may wonder whether these are privileges at all, as they can sometimes seem crippling when we lose control over them. There’s also the flip side that merely being given these sense faculties could result in the opposite problem of over-worrying, over-using, and over-indulging.
Regardless of where people lie on the scale of neurodivergence – or any scale for that matter – each of us is capable of empathizing with another, even if we may not share the same life experiences. It is a hard-wired human instinct that has survived across generations and centuries of evolution and survival of the fittest. There is a deep truth in finding what unites rather than what divides and separates us. In a world filled with as much negativity and hatred as today, there has never been a more appropriate time, not just to stand up and fight, but also to sit down and listen. And listening doesn’t just have to happen with the ears. It is a holistic somatic experience that triggers emotional responses and cultivates spiritual connection. In the years to come, I hope I am able to help make this world a little more pleasant, optimistic, and hopeful a place to live. Through listening. Through art. Through compassion and empathy.
With yet another year gone and the new year in its initial stages, here’s to composting the past, nurturing the present, and planting the future in 2018 and beyond.