Your paths cross from across a crowded space. There’s a spark, a connection. It’s undeniable. Undefinable. There’s no turning back and thank god for that.
The resonance that is there can reside anywhere — in the eyes of a being, or the footpath of a region.
Sometimes you meet your soulmate … but it’s not a person it’s a place.
When you get to know yourself by learning to forget yourself, and then immersing yourself in your unknown self, the world opens up externally and internally. Interpersonal muscles that are otherwise contracted become exercised in a way that unlocks the gridlock which so often translates into stasis or complacency.
Everyone isn’t meant to uproot from their comfort zone nor their time zone. But something compelled me and there’s never been a regret these many years later. When I took the leap of faith to puddle jump from my homeland to a far off no-man’s land, it was on a whim. Inner Directive. No lover awaited me on foreign shores. No family or job. Just me awaiting my Self, I suppose. And the winds have been in my sail ever since. I feel a harmony that isn’t predicated on any external success. Just pure alignment (which somehow harmonises even the discord in my life).
What defines who we are? Our birthplace? Our cultural heritage? The land where our work lives, and by default us? These were some of my musings as the plane took off en route from my New York birthplace to my European soul space.
From the U.K. to Les Francais to Belgium and Ireland … from Austria to Germany to Turkey and Holland, I’ve lived with cultures that made me adore them. Not because it was “easy” but because it was real. It prompted me to delve deeper into what makes us tick and in so doing, myself. The less I knew in my newfound terrain the more I grew from removing what was ingrained.
The Innocence sprouted Inquiry sprouted a receptivity to Life that fed into me.
A croissant in Turkey is a different kinda dough in Italy. The macaron in France is a different “macaroon” in Austria. A blanket in one land is another’s down filled comforter. Pillow sizes differ and so do perspectives. Tastes and smells and styles and language are the vibrant fibre that nourish my soul.
Now my life has mushroomed into a stimulating international work life with a media company I formed in Germany. My U.S. contingent initially raised eyebrows when they learned I was working with the “enemy”, regularly citing World War II as barometer for Germany’s contemporary society and why on earth I’d choose there of all places.
Pigeon holes become a kind of psychic plague. Times change and so should minds. But change takes time and I have great compassion for the resistance to relinquish those familiar life preservers most of us cling to.
Germans on the whole are warm, genuine, and dependable. They emerged from the dark-night-of-their-soul with a more full-bodied perspective on the complexity of our human condition. They inherited compassion from unspeakable horror and generations later, retain an openness to others which at times even boomerangs back on them (their Refugee Crisis-of-conscience was a sensitive push-pull about how much to shoulder the burden of Welcome. Though still a festering issue for many, the overall willingness to confront and examine their unresolved dark side is an admirable and vital trait for repaving our broken global road of late).
I have just attended a conference in Italy on Consciousness and The New Paradigm in Politics & Economics, a mere day before the G7 convenes in Sicily to discuss their versions thereof. The attendees at our event are an international melange. The striking beauty is their open discourse and availability to disagree while tripping over the English language yet preserving the integrity of the We rather than just the Me.
Russian, Arab, Chinese, Australian, Indian, South American, American, Indonesian … I’m proud to be a Planet Person who recognises the imperative of honouring cultural tradition, nationalistic pride, and their integral contribution to the the global whole.
Living abroad reminds me that no matter where on Earth one lives, the fundamental principle for living well involves flexibility and respect. Wearing the Either / Or straightjacket of Nationalism versus Globalism is going to wear thin. And eventually wear us out.
From where I stand, it’s all about And.
Originally published at medium.com