I often reflect on Sundays about the question, “Who am I?” and today I recalled another page in the book I created 12 years ago for my sister, Delores. She was asking the same question for herself, and for those who cared for her at that time.
8-January-1998. At breakfast today, Delores and I were talking about individual differences and similarities. We’re so much alike, yet so different. When people who care come together with the common aim to help us, each brings individual differences and talents which we learn to prize like a “coat of many colors.”
Delores then remembered this quote from Pope John Paul II, as he repeated this plea in several languages.
“Let us celebrate our commonality,
and learn to prize our differences.”
–Pope John Paul II during his papal visit to Phoenix, 1986
Delores celebrates this wisdom today as friends and family pay visits to her at home.
Coach: Norm, how would you now make a map of the quote from the Pope, so that you can have a 3-Way Meeting with your wife, Marie?
Norm: I’ve drawn this kind of Venn diagram for many years now:
N: Marie and I have spent lots of time learning to celebrate our commonality, and to prize our differences. So, even though Marie and I come from a common heritage, with similar values and goals, we found it very challenging to learn to celebrate our commonality, and to prize our differences.
C: And why is that?
N: Because of this assumed commonality at the time we got married, we thought that it would be rather easy to get along and to create unity. But, life happened to us while we were making other plans, and we soon came to realize that, when our individual differences were energized by fear in the events of the moment, we diverged from each other, became distant, and went away from each other.
C: Under pressure, you made the Zone 1 choice of going away from each other?
N: Right. But Zone 1 was often preceded by Zone 2 choices, of first going against each other with some level of conflict. But, as we became more mindful (learned to VIEW what we DO) and chose to energize our individual differences by faith, we naturally converged with each other, came closer together, and went toward each other to be more clear about our commonality.
C: But, didn’t you have to give up something of yourselves to go toward each other?
N: Yes, but it was in toning down our Low Road selves, while magnifying our High Road selves.
C: In other words, when you are mindful, you give up the Self-ishness of Low Road choices, in favor of your true Self-worth and Self-care of High Road choices.
N: Yes, when we are mindful. But, when we respond automatically to our trigger events, we naturally choose the Low Road out of fear.
C: And when you are creating distance between you, and magnifying your differences, you can’t celebrate commonality, can you?
N: No, our commonality fades and we become proud of our being from different planets, like Mars and Venus, and we want to protect and insist on our differences.
C: Is your cancer having a positive, or negative impact on your “diagram”?
N: Cancer is now a common cause between us, we share it together. And as we choose faith each day to engage it, we are converging in some beautiful ways.
C: Now, how would you map the big story on the news this past couple of weeks (September, 2010)? As you know, the news seemed to be obsessed with the issue of whether it’s right, or moral, to build the proposed Islamic center at Ground Zero in New York City, or someplace else, or not at all.
N: Whether the “Who am I?” question is being asked by an individual, a couple, or an organization, the dynamics are the same.
N: The fear that drives the dialog, at least that reported in the media, can do nothing but cause a greater distance or divergence between people in both religions.
C: To what extent do you think common ground can be found?
N: If we (they) would choose an eye and heart of faith toward clarity, we (they) would be surprised to find much more in common, and much less that is different.
C: It would be great if the common cause of creating peace and abundance could be shared — a major Zone 4 Challenge for our time!
Now how about a similar map for the Democrats and Republicans in this election year?
N: Same basic dynamics, but that’s for another post, at another time.
[GTG-4. Who am I?]