We don’t need a Steven Spielberg movie or a Harry Potter book to hear a spectacular story. Just look at the person standing next to you or any random stranger on the street, and ask them to tell you the story of their life. I guarantee that if they were to oblige, you would be captivated on a heartfelt level from beginning to end. I would also bet my last dime that every single story would stand alone as different and unique. We might even learn something in the process; something about life, something about ourselves. Whoever coined the phrase “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” was simply out-of-touch.
And yet, sadly and incredulously, institutions have evolved out of creating labels to categorize, homogenize and divide people into groups often pitting one against the other. But, I’m not a label. Are you? May we be reminded that each and every one of us is a diverse, dynamic individual. Somewhere along the travels of their lives, certain individuals lost sight of this beautiful reality, and thus lost their hearts. Some filled the void with resentment and greed and vengeance towards those who were still able to love. Labels appeared and soon after a hateful illusion that caught fire throughout society like a cancer. Yes Virginia, there is evil. But we don’t have to let it live in our heads.
Here’s a simple exercise. Replace the divisive labels in your vocabulary with the word “individual”. Seriously, give it a try. When tempted to refer to someone as a liberal, conservative, black, white, Hispanic, gay, straight, hater, truther, racist, millennial, senior, et cetera, call them an individual instead, and discover for yourself if it helps you to see them differently; to see the person behind the label. Perhaps we’ll realize that there actually is hope for society.
Some may say the world has gotten smaller, so we need labels to keep track of it all. I say the world is the same as it always was, but we, our egos and our addictions to instant gratification, have gotten bigger and further from the ground. It’s time to zoom in again. Maybe for just one day, we can turn off our smart-phone, our computer and our TV, and ask somebody if they’d grace us with the story of their life. Personally, I would be honored to hear yours. Peace, love, dove homies.