I recently went on a tour of Italy with a group of people from around the world. There were about forty people ranging in age from twenties to eighties, and from my calculation at least ten countries were represented. It was admittedly a bit peculiar and uncomfortable at first as we ate dinner and mingled with strangers. I somehow felt that I had to be more cognizant of my own habits and customs and wondered if my way of greeting people, dining at table, or even conversing might seem odd or at worst be offensive. It was a feeling that at first made me want to separate myself from the group and retreat to that familiar place of comfort alone with my husband where I could enjoy the sights of the tour without this apparent inconvenience. Fortunately I did not succumb that initial temptation.
It wasn’t long at all before my thoughts were replaced by the warm presence of my travel companions. From the initial introductions when people briefly told stories of why they were on this tour, a sense of camaraderie was forming. That dream of traveling to new and beautiful places is universal as is the deep desire to fulfill that lifelong dream before death, and I listened as people from opposite ends of the earth shared the events that brought them to this tour at this particular time in their lives. The anticipation, the hope, and the excitement were common traits from day one, but I think if we all were to be honest, most of us also had an underlying fear that this important trip could possibly be ruined by annoying or inconsiderate group members. That hidden sense of caution and self-protection was also present early on, I think.
The wariness waned very quickly. My trip very soon became our trip, and I truly believe that each and every person wanted to see the other’s dream fulfilled in the way that he or she imagined. The nationalities, languages, and accents became replaced by one language — human. It’s a language without words, but speaks more clearly, boldly, and is more influential than any other. It’s a language that defies age, education, location, and religion. We all recognize it and respond to it. It’s laughter, dancing, sadness, fear, concern, love, beauty, awe, mystery, joy, kinship, and protection. It’s soul. It’s heart speaking to heart. It’s beautiful, and it’s universal.
Look at the person next to you when you are stuck at a traffic light, or sitting on a bus, or in a waiting room or restaurant. Find the person in the crowd that looks least like you, or the person who does not speak your language. It might be the person who is covered from head to toe in a scarf, or the homeless person who hasn’t bathed in days. Take a second look at the neighbor who is your enemy or the teacher who berates you. Then look past everything that you see outwardly and look deep within. There you will find the human soul — the same one that is within you. Connect with it. You will recognize it instantly, and it will nourish you -- with or without words.
(original blog source: www.ninamariecorona.blogspot.com)
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