Tolerance: the ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behavior that one dislikes or disagrees with.
There is a great deal of talking about tolerance these days.
Do we try & understand others even when we are afraid of our differences?
We are being asked, time and time again, to move past our feelings towards different races and cultures.
We are being invited to stand united as citizens of the world.
A world we may not always comprehend.
While some folks angrily turned the invite down, others are going full length to embrace people from all walks of life.
Both geographically and spiritually.
I must confess this has left me wondering.
Do we stay open to others because we truly believe we all come from the same divine source?
Do we hold our hand out because that’s what good people are supposed to do? Perhaps ignoring hints of hidden dangers?
Whatever the motifs might be, I actually have a different question.
Can we tolerate our close family?
Can we allow the ones we never got to choose but grew up with to be who they really are?
Even when we don’t understand their ways!
Even when we don’t agree with their choices?
Can we do that?
Why is it easier to meet a perfect stranger half way, than our very annoying relatives?
Why is it that if I accept the so called “minorities” I’m a good soul, while if I accept my kids’ antics I’m just being a doormat?
Tolerance starts at Home.
If we truly believe we are all from the same divine source, than it makes sense to look at everybody else around as a divine extension of the same energy.
The war refugees are the same as our moronic siblings.
But I feel that way too many people right now are just focused on the world at large.
Perhaps there is a need to “feel good about ourselves”; if we think and act in a certain way towards those who struggle and whom will never get to meet, than we get extra points with “the bearded guy up there”.
I’ve always been adamant that our home can really be the best breeding ground for compassion and tolerance.
It’s there that we usually have to resort to for good will and understanding to keep the status quo with people who can often be very different from us.
How may times our spouses just look like aliens from other galaxies? Not to mention kids and their peculiar dynamics! And what about irritating in laws and tiresome siblings?
They are just like those people spread around the world who are often in need of support.
I believe that we humans all come from the same formless energy, regardless of the life we get to live.
We truly are in our element when we experience joy, ease and well-being.
But we all have different paths, and often that wellness is bartered away for some obscure reason.
So my tolerance towards a world that is often unpredictable, angry and possibly very greedy, will not change it.
At least not in the immediate future.
But I can start with those close to me.
I can hold my hand out to my extremely annoying sister (she is!) and hold space for her while she still acts like a hormonal teenager, aware of the fact that her choices will never scratch her true essence.
I walk along next to my husband while conscious of how different we are.
Despite being tempted from time to time to shout out loud “Hey you, my way is better than yours!” I embrace so much richness and variety.
And in our difference I see our similarities because we come from the same Home.
Most of all, I hold sacred space for Myself.
For all the times I could have done better, but I didn’t.
For all the times I lose my way and Home just looks like a tiny rock in the ocean.
But then I realise that I never went anywhere and Home is where I have been all along.
Blog originally published here.