Yes, it’s a hectic time of the year, this run-up to the week of Christmas and the pressure that many folks sense in preparing for the Holiday celebrations and the need to get everything done, not to mention the arrangements of social time with family and friends. In looking ahead to the sense of peace and tranquility that we seek at this time of the year, it’s often good to take a breath in the closing laps and assess the challenges that we’ll be putting aside, at least for a brief while. Like many folks, I find it reassuring to reflect on the richness of life around me, especially the richness that comes from interacting with so many people in so many ways through out the year. We sometimes forget the breadth of the world around us, and it’s good to pause and consider what we’ve learned from those with whom we’ve come in contact with during the year.

So, in thinking about the days ahead, I was particularly pleased when a colleague forwarded a message from DailyOM titled “The Kaleidoscope of Life, Living Together Differently.” Inside the message I found a beautifully written discussion about the celebration of relationships and experiences with those around us, and I found it particularly meaningful at this time. Here, reprinted with permission from DailyOM, is the message:

The Kaleidoscope of Life
Living Together Differently

by Madisyn Taylor

When we only associate with like-minded people, there often isn’t room to grow, as new ideas aren’t being introduced.

We tend to gravitate toward people who are the most like us, at least in the ways that make us feel comfortable. But life has its way of bringing us into contact with people who challenge us with their differences. It may be an obvious difference reflected in their outward appearance or an invisible but powerful philosophical stance, but even in our closest circle of friends and family, there are those that confront us with their different ways of experiencing and expressing life. We can choose to resist, but we can also choose to learn from them and appreciate that they too have a place in the kaleidoscope of life.

As much as we may say that we want peace and quiet and a life without struggle, the truth is that human beings are, at this time, thriving in a world of dualities and challenges. It is how we choose to approach these hurdles that determine if we sail over them, confirming our agility, or trip and end up face down in the dust. And each of us absolutely will and must stumble, and then get up, brush the dust off and carry on. This is how we learn and grow, developing depth of character and shades of understanding. In a world of dualities, we have trouble defining ourselves without something opposite, and can’t discover who we are. Without challenge, there is nothing to do and nothing to discover. That leaves us either in a state of non-being or the state of pure spirit, but as humans, we are spiritual beings experiencing the physical world in all of its startling contrast and beauty.

No matter how spiritual we are, our lives will have challenges.  We will always run into people that are different that we are, but the true challenge may be in finding ways to be at peace with this process. Rather than give in to the fight or flight response that comes from our animal nature, we can find new ways to evolve together into higher more beautiful expressions of ourselves, realizing, embracing and celebrating the beauty of diversity and the strength it offers for the future.

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