The past month I was privileged to travel to different places in South Africa for work. What was significant to me was the diversity I experienced. Every place had a different landscape, energy and feel to it. The food, people, cultures and ways of living differed.
In one of the workshops that I facilitated, we counted that between the group of twelve we spoke 11 different languages. For none of us English was our first language. The variety of accents contributed to the richness of the conversations we had. It reminded me of Nancy Klein’s component of the ‘Thinking Environment’. She states that diversity adds quality because of the differences between us. I could not agree more.
I realised that we don’t always celebrate diversity. We don’t invite it enough into our lives. Sometimes I find myself in places where it feels as if everyone had gone through the same cookie presser. Everyone dresses the same and talks about the same things. If one looks at David Rock’s SCARF model one can understand why it is like this. People tend to like people that are like them. That is the way the brain is wired. We feel more comfortable when we can relate to people.
Yet, in reflecting over this past month I’ve learned more in the uncomfortable moments than the comfortable ones. The situations when I was challenged to leave my preconceived ideas and open myself to the amazing diversity of our country. I would like to challenge you and encourage you, even if it is only slightly, to step out of the comfort zone and experience the gift of diversity.
Learning: Diversity contributes to the richness of life.
Healing question: How am I celebrating and inviting diversity into my life?