Diversity

1: differing from one another: UNLIKE
2: composed of distinct or unlike element or qualities

Source: www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diverse

Etymology

Diverse(adj.): “different in kind, not alike, essentially different,” late 14thcentury, a specialized use of divers, in some cases probably directly from Latin divers “turned different ways.”  In Middle English it also could mean “disagreeable, unkind, hostile” (mid-14thcentury).  The differentiation in spelling (perhaps by analogy with converse, traverse, etc.) and meaning prevailed after century 1700.  The sense of “including and promoting persons of previously under-represented minorities identities” is from 1990s.

 

Source: www.etymonline.com

Wisdom

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” 

Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014, born Marguerite Johnson, author, poet, historian, songwriter, playwright, dancer, stage and screen producer, director, performer, singer, and civil rights activist)

Bio Source:

www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/maya-angelou?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8OyPsrn54QIVy4CfCh3j-Qc4EAAYASAAEgIRbfD_BwE

“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.” 

Ani DiFranco (b. 1970, American singer, musician, poet, songwriter, and activist; has released more 20 albums)

Bio Source:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ani_DiFranco

“It is never too late to give up your prejudices.”

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, yogi, and historian)

Bio Source:

www.britannica.com/biography/Henry-David-Thoreau

“Dominator culture has tried to keep us all afraid, to make us choose safety instead of risk, sameness instead of diversity. Moving through that fear, finding out what connects us, reveling in our differences; this is the process that brings us closer, that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community.”

bell hooks (born Gloria Jean Watkins in 1952, American author, professor, feminist, and social activist; her pen name, “bell hooks” is borrowed from her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks)

Bio Source:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_hooks

“Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.” 

Mahatma Gandhi (Mohandas Karamchand Gandi, 1869-1948, Indian lawyer; politician; social activist; and writer, who was the leader of the nationalist movement against the British rule of India; Mahatma means “Great Soul”)

Bio Source:

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Mahatma-Gandhi

Meditation

 
“It is never too late to give up your prejudices.” – Henry David Thoreau
 
It’s never too late to transform our hearts, minds, and spirits.  Our emotional and spiritual growth doesn’t happen by magic, though.  It flows in when we are open to life’s possibilities, unexpected connections, and surprise occurrences, which informs our resilience.
 
Facing our biases and prejudices takes a lot of courage and lots of practice.  It also takes discipline to witness the beauty of our world’s varieties, and to do so without judgment or self-criticism.  In addition, it takes wisdom and discernment to understand what is for us and what is not.   
 
I won’t lie, from my experience, sometimes it can be challenging to understand the differences in others, and to be opened to listening to different perspectives.  But, exposure to other people’s stories is super important for wholeness.  Such storytelling exercises our empathy and helps us to to see how we fit into the whole.
 
Truthfully, though, what we witness in the “other” may not harmonize with our values.  Sometimes, another’s beliefs may contrasts our own.  But, that’s good too.  At least, we get to understand what we are not.
 
My mother was a very creative soul, an artist.  As a young woman in her early-to-mid-twenties, she studied opera.  But, as a wife and mother of four children, like all of us, she had her limitations.  As an imaginative creator and artist, though, she had a very abundant life.  For instance, she was also a designer and seamstress, who was always creating beautiful clothes for her family.
 
Now, how she managed her voice lessons and finish her opera concertos, was with the encouragement of her voice teacher, Mrs. Curry.  My mother would take us to violin, ballet, and piano lessons beforehand, and Mrs. Curry would wait while my mother would run around and take us to our next classes. 
 
Now how creative and extraordinary is that? 
 
Mrs. Curry was an older white woman in her sixties, who nurtured and looked out for the creative and spiritual life of a young gifted black woman, who was also committed to not only learning and enlarging her own life in meaningful ways, but also the lives of her children.
 
My mother lived only to the age of 27, but she lived well and would try her best to expose us to a variety of environments, people, and situations, those that imprinted music, art, and wellbeing into our minds and hearts.  Because my mother was so fearless and courageous, as it was the case with my grandmothers, my siblings and I like traveling and having a diversity of friends, relationships, and experiences.   And we, as her descendants, are the better for it and because of her life.
 
What different experiences or persons are you curious about?  How do you guard against your prejudices and biases?  Do you speak your biases out loud and exorcise them, or do you roll over your thoughts and seal them in with shame?
 
I hope, sojourners, you dare to take a leap of faith out of your comfort zones and into the unknown possibilities of your relationships and imaginations!
 
Namaste, Tonya

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