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Weekly Tidbit: Celebrating Personal Diversity

We humans are pretty amazing creatures with our continuum of diverse abilities. Our basic nature has the dual essence of physical life and spiritual connection, and the construct of our brain and body allows for a multitude of talents from gymnastics to rocket science and everything in between. We can think, we can feel, we can do, we can be, and most of the time we are engaged in more than one experience at a time.

Difficulties often occur when we get stuck identifying with one particular component of our being to the neglect of other aspects. One way to look at personal diversity is with the idea that we each have a repertoire of different roles in our lives and that it is of benefit to explore and develop those roles that may be under utilized. Expanding our role repertoire allows us to be all that we can be, to enlarge our capacity for experience. When we become overly identified in one role, it is easy to become lopsided and out of balance in our lives and relationships. The busy professional person who loses connection with family and friends, the parent who over involves with a child to the neglect of self or spouse, the person with a disease that becomes their identity.... these are examples of how we can lose balance and perspective. This is not to say that professional success is undesirable, that involved parenthood is not admirable, or that disease does not require our attention. It is more an issue of balance, of staying connected with all our parts even when we deepen our involvement with one in particular. It often requires us to recognize and challenge the human tendency to engage in "all or nothing" thinking and let go of the idea that any one role can really define us; we are by nature multidimensional.

At times being locked into one role or one experience does not seem like it is a choice. When chronic pain or a serious disease or a major life change takes us away from living as we know it, it seems that our life can be swallowed whole by that experience. Our thoughts seem stuck and we forget that the pain or disease is only one fraction of who we are, that we can still choose where we aim the light of our attention even though there is a part of us that continually demands the spotlight. To find a moment to be grateful for the kiss of the sun on our cheek, the caress of the breeze in our hair can mitigate the extent of the pain in our neck, whether that pain is physical or emotional. Choosing to find something to feel better about differentiates who you are from the pain that happens to be with you right now. Focusing on something that brings joy actually produces chemical endorphins that act as pain killers. You bring the role of someone who is experiencing joy into the room with the role of the one who has the problem and the dynamics change.

Honoring our personal diversity can be as simple as stepping outside our usual pattern of action or thought. Do something different, preferably something that brings you to a place of appreciation and joy. Make a list of all the roles you have in your life and notice if there is one that could use some extra attention. Ask for help if you need it. Recognize that you are more than what you do, more than any experience that happened to you, more than your story about who you think you are, more than any limiting belief that you picked up on the journey. Discover other parts of yourself and open yourself to having more love and appreciation for all of you, all of us.

May you be well,

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