It’s so easy to make assumptions, stereotypes and generalizations. It’s the easiest thing in the world but that doesn’t make it smart. Recently, I was in Mendicino County, California at a cabin in the woods. My time away from the habits of my daily life led to a perception shift.
You see, I’ve lived in Southern California near the beach most of my life. I’ve watched beach movies and the news about California beaches. I thought I knew a lot about California and it’s beaches. I don’t. To get here, I drove along many miles of the California coastline. Miles of undeveloped land. Not a hillside mansion in site. I felt like I was in a foreign land.
I started to think about how many times I/we make generalizations about an entire class of people (men, women, Whites, Blacks) based on the few we’ve encountered. How we think we know all about literature or Europe or shoes because of what we’ve experienced.
I began to realize that in all honesty, I know very little about a lot of things. I know that my misery and limited thinking is a result of my refusal to open my mind. When I think I know everything about everything I am trapped in the limitation of my own perception. So, as I laid in the hammock at that cabin in Mendicino, reading “Ask And It Is Given” by Esther and Jerry Hicks, I decided to let go of what I ‘know’ and be open to what I haven’t yet experienced. In the words of Abraham, it was delicious. So delicious in fact that I think I’ll do it again today even as I sit in my same old house at my same desk I still have to realize that today is a new day, this moment is a new moment and I am alive now.