We’re conditioned to clap to celebrate things, people, occasions… We do it to express an emotion and we often do it in synch with other people around us. if you’ve done it before, you would know that you can’t clap with one hand. This post, albeit not about the physical act of clapping, is about our need to be with people, to interact and to build communities where tolerance and understanding prevail.
I consider myself lucky to be living in a multi-cultural community with people from practically everywhere. We all moved to this part of the world looking for new opportunities and wanting to find a new home away from our home countries and families. One thing that we all quickly realize is that being away from our people, communities, origins.. makes us all vulnerable to homesickness in one way or another. However, we quickly discover that meeting new people and forming new relationships make the feeling of loneliness fade away. Don’t get me wrong, as an introvert I enjoy the feeling of “aloness”, which I define as time spent with myself to think, reflect and simply recharge. The feeling of loneliness, on the other hand, is not something I enjoy neither have I met anyone who does. Like I said, we all try to find ways to beat loneliness and to find that other hand to clap with.
Last week, I had the chance to be with a great group of people each from a different country and each carrying baggage from their upbringing, cultures, education and so on. We all gathered to engage in a dialogue centered around tolerance and understanding. I won’t go into the details of the topic in this post (maybe in an other post), but what I can say is that despite our differences and probably divergent opinions about many topics, we all found solace in talking about the importance of dialogue and how simple initiatives and acts of kindness can play a huge role in fostering tolerance and understanding. To me, it was one of those magical times where time stops and you try to take in the greatness of the moment. It’s not that we were solving worlds problems or anything like that but it’s that practice of listening to each other, respecting our differences and having a safe space to express our opinions. We all clapped together that evening and it felt amazing. It was a celebration of our courage to get out of our comfort zones and explore new ways of life. It felt amazing. It feels amazing! Try it! Get together with a group of people and talk. Find a topic and open it for discussion. Practice the act of listening and most of all practice the art of tolerance. Remember that you can’t clap with one hand!