The other day, Maya brought up a recent book she was reading, Tribe. She explained how it addresses the loss of strong connections that war veterans experience when they return to civilian life. While this is a great generalization of what the book really encompasses, I couldn’t help but wonder what drew her to this topic.
“Maya, I’m really impressed that you chose a book that doesn’t directly have anything to do with you.”
“Everything has something to do with us.”
Those words haven’t stopped echoing in my brain ever since. Of course, I felt the immediate guilt of coming across as missing the point that we are connected with everyone in the universe, as direct or indirect as it may seem.
But, I hate to admit, that is exactly what happened.
I was reminded, by my 19 year old daughter, that it is as important to pay attention to matters that don’t directly influence our lives as it is to pay attention to those that do. There are still hugely powerful connections to be made and lessons to be learned from opening our hearts to the stories of those that have lived through this first hand.
Yes, reading about my book about the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu and how they find joy is a great way for me grow and learn for myself, but I can learn just as much from reading about things like discrimination, mental illness, and international political struggles.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we as human beings are designed to connect with others. Whether it’s through exercise and athletics, religion, or politics, we have greater potential to grow and find happiness through discovering and developing our connections with other people and the stories and perspectives THEY have to share.
It’s about extending the limits of our curiosity, and seeking out the corners of humanity that we don’t even know about because they haven’t happened to have fallen into the laps of our own individual experience. YET.