Seeing Our Adventures as They Really Are. The Authors Collection
July 20, 2015
I HAVE BEEN FASCINATED most of my days to see the commonalities of life regardless of where or into which culture I peer. I guess as a young person I was fooled by the outward trappings of new and interesting places into believing those who lived amongst them would somehow experience life differently from me. Through spending a summer in Colombia as a sixteen-year-old, moving to the Canadian prairies, sitting on a stump speaking with a Cree Native about twenty-first century life for his people and asking a Vietnamese fellow traveler on a boat ride from Saigon to Vung Tau how he can be so civil toward Bert and me, I realized we are capable of relating to one another in a productive and meaningful way, regardless of those seeming differences. The deciding factor is our attitude – do we choose to rise above our differing beliefs and cultures to reach a common ground.
The beauty that is us, we as human beings, resides in us at a level I call reality. When we touch that place within ourselves, we rise beyond the petty, confining views we’re taught to use in looking at the world and begin to sense the nature of what connects us. When we open to the possibility of connection, our conversations, our associations change, and we behold one another in a way that lets us see through the superficial to what’s real. Those moments bathe us in such clarity that we cannot forget the richness of the experience; those memories are ours to treasure forever. I’m sure you too can remember moments where everything clicked, when you and someone else unexpectedly shared from that beauty, making you unafraid to just be yourself.
I was set on this course of reflection upon reading a poem from an unknown Inuit reviewing his life, one most of us would consider as radically different from our own. I wanted to say to him over time and distance, regardless of the worlds that separate us: I have been where you have been. How good of you to remind me of this eternal connection we have with all things. The poem’s title was: “I Think Over Again my Small Adventures.”
I think over again my small adventures,
Those small ones that seemed so big,
For all the vital things
I had to get and reach;
And yet there is only one great thing,
The only thing,
To live and see the great day that dawns
And the light that fills the world.
n the late ‘60s, I meet a teenage Inuit girl from Banks Island. If you look on a map, you’ll see that’s up near Santa Claus. I was fresh out of University and had lived on the US east coast all my life, so stories of her life fascinated me. Her people were still connected by their old ways, even though “civilization” had invaded their domain and called them into the twenty-first century. I can’t remember what I expected to hear from her as we wrote back and forth to each other, but aside from going to a theater to see a movie, something she’d only heard about, we talked about life as if we were sisters. I had taken cross-cultural training at that point in my life and had finally surrendered to the realization that our actions across cultures, our responses to overt acts could indeed be very different, even in primal relationships like mother to child. But I know now that that teacher had not spent enough time “sitting on stumps” to realize that when we dig deep enough, there is only one great thing we all share, the light that glows within us and around us, which we can all recognize due to the underlying fact of our inborn connection with one another and all things no matter who we are or where on this earth we abide. And then I further understood that it is not our seeming problems that create trouble among us, but rather the lack of honest desire to get clear about our nature – to see our adventures as they truly are.
Christina Carson is the author of Accidents of Birth.