It seems like there are 2 types of people around me these days. Like minded and challenging. Sometimes (often) they are one in the same. Human’s are complex, when I am in agreement in one area I can be polar opposite in another. It is those opposites that strengthen.
When I am in class, in church, among like minded friends I feel loved and supported. I feel like my beliefs are solid, I can expand them. I learn how to deepen my faith and my core beliefs. There is no challenge, I hear thoughts and comments that support the path I am on. And this is good for me, it is a safe place to grow.
But then I go out into the world. And that is where I get stronger. Because the world does not necessarily agree with me. I am constantly challenged by different belief systems. Some of those challenges come from people who I love and respect. This is where I step up or step out. Can I stand in my truth and not be afraid to share that?
It is pretty easy to take an anonymous stand. It is pretty easy to say some headline news story is horrible. We can mostly be in agreement when comes to global disasters, we can all be aghast at kidnappings, human slavery, famine. This is when we are wonderful as humans who come together for a common good cause.
But when it comes down to individual beliefs we are different. I was talking to a friend the other day and he was on a little rant against one of the recent police/black deaths that seem to prevalent these days. We stand on opposite sides of this. I didn’t want to argue, I didn’t want to have separation between us. But I couldn’t agree and feel good within myself. So I simply said “I have to believe that in the end Love will win”. And there we found a common ground.
I have another friend who I love dearly. We have common beliefs but we veer away on others. There was a post the other day I disagreed with. I tried all day to avoid it. But I couldn’t let it go. For me, if I stayed quiet, then I was complicit. I had to speak up, I tried so hard to be respectful. I was not trying to change them. But I have to be willing to stand behind my beliefs.
And that is where I strengthen my muscles. It is in the trenches I get stronger. I believe in being kind. I say it, I post it. I’m all about kindness. What about when it is not easy? Can I still be kind? When I am in line at the grocers and your baby is crying and annoying me…can I still be kind? Can I see you are tired and simply trying to get home to feed the baby. Can I just see the humanness and be kind? When you cut me off in traffic can I bless you instead of flipping you off? Can I see you as distracted or hurried rather than arrogant? When you snub me in the hallway at work, can I smile anyway? Can I know a bigger truth about you, and not see you as rude?
Those are some simple daily actions that strengthen my muscles. Life is the classroom. Life is where I do the work. Life is where I put into practice all of the beliefs that develop when supported by like minded people. So my challenges are my greatest blessings. They show where I have growing to do. I can meditate till the cows come home, but if I am rude to someone, feel anger, or impatience then I have more work to do. If I am afraid you won’t love me if I disagree or stand up for my beliefs, I have work to do. And I am not going to see that in my little bubble of bliss. I have to go out in the world and flex my muscles.
So thank you world, for making me strong. Thank you challenges for letting me see where I have work to do. Thank you humans for showing me I truly believe my talk and am willing to walk it. Thank you like minded people for giving me a safe place to grow. Thank you Universal Spirit for this amazingly complex classroom we call life.