Sunday, April 7, 2013

Raising Funny Kids 21: Raising Global Citizens

The world has a mind of its own
Sophy M. Laughing

In ancient times, we learned how to complicate our world. In the industrial age, we mastered creating more and more complication. Today, we're overwhelmed by abundance and playing hide and seek with our world, which is why it's so easy to lose track of ourselves. 

Who exactly are we are in relationship to where we exist?  

Perhaps we can never know the answer to that question, at least not here, and not in a subjective human form. We can, however, hope, believe, aspire, acknowledge, understand, empathize, care, give, love, take, yell, scream, laugh, cry, giggle, moan, screech, complain, shriek, blame, whine... the list is endless. 

Adopting the beliefs we hold as our own is natural, and then it becomes easy. Easy to follow in the footsteps of our families, to reject our families, to follow in the footsteps of society, and then turn around and reject that society, to follow spiritual leaders and then reject them when someone cooler comes along; and to even stop, think, wonder, evaluate, reassess, redefine, learn, unlearn, and redo the experience. 

Stop for a moment, if you will, and just try to imagine what it would feel like if we gave ourselves a redo. If we could look at our world from where we are today, not 150 years ago, and then, redo our lives, rethink our thoughts and beliefs, and see the world for what it is and what it's becoming. 

If we could do that, I think many of us would walk away from the traditional brick and mortar institutionalized post-industrial learning centers we built for earlier generations and instead learn how to explore what we've created on this planet we call Earth. 

I don't want my children to ascribe to outdated beliefs and customs. That can't possibly yield personal satisfaction, much less happiness. There are an infinite number of paths toward enlightenment, and there are a million and one ways to survive in the world without working 9 to 5. 

School got in the way of our learning. We're no longer in the industrial age. That system was created a long time ago by somebody for somebody else, and all of those people are long gone. Honoring the history of human thought doesn't mean we have to keep thinking the same thoughts. 

I want to give my children more than I can imagine, far more than what's written in books. I am an individual who has always needed to know what it felt like to see the world from every angle I could imagine it from - and that requires getting up and going to take a look.

I believe that by seeing more of the world, we can replace fear with wonder, regret with satisfaction, and anger with hope. In all of my travels, I have never had a bad day. Of course, I define a bad day by not seeing the world through a new perspective. Even when I am home, I look at things from different angles. I wake up at different times just to go outside and compare what the stars look like and feel like in the night sky. Sure, I can Google or read a book about where the stars are aligned at any given time, but I can't know what it feels like to lie down under the night sky and see the stars for myself if I don't go out there and look. 

As a philosophy major, I was taught to think, not feel - "That's psychology," our professors would say, "If you want to feel, leave and go across the hallway." 

That's what I'm doing now...

I learned that I can think without feeling, but I can't be on both sides of the looking glass if I don't do both. I need to feel something to know if it matters to me. So much of what we do really doesn't matter to anyone, even ourselves. So, at some point, you have to ask yourself, why? Why are we letting the unimportant things matter so much? Not to be overly simplistic, but isn't life nicer when we quit judging and equally embrace all of existence?

Keeping it simple doesn't mean minimizing your thoughts to a few choice memories, feelings, experiences, necessities, and so forth. Keeping it simple means letting go of them all to make room for more. That way, you're not carrying so much in your heart and in your mind. Sometimes those burdens get so heavy that we can't see the forest for the trees, as they say. 

I'm trying to get out of that global cloud to see what's on the horizon, to meet people who live there, to learn and appreciate what their view feels like, not because I think it's greener on the other side, but because I don't know how green feels to someone else. 

The more I learn, the more connected I feel to everyone and everything. For me, the real goal is about connecting. Sure, I have to work, in fact, I have to work harder to make our travels possible, but like the Swedes say, allemansrätten -  it is every person's right to roam the world, to see the world, and to experience the world because it belongs to us all. I just can't think of a good reason to stay stuck at home when there's so much to see. 

Seeing the world though someone else's eyes is quite possibly the most humbling experience to behold in living. Perhaps it is a gene or germ that vibrates in answer to sensations that I can neither define, nor dismiss, that sends me out exploring and traversing the world. 

Sometimes embracing humanity is about embracing whatever genetic element of it we have within ourselves. I have a Nomadic heart. My clan, as they would say, is everyone who climbs a tree to see what's up there or jumps in a raft and heads out toward the unknown just because it is - unknown.

I am raising two global citizens. It is my sincere desire that, someday, when they embark upon their own journey, that in their hearts and minds, they'll take everything we've seen and everyone we've met with them, as if every place were our home and every person were part of our own family, because the way I see it, we're all taking this journey together. 

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