There is so much that can divide us. I'm not sure if there's a single person I am in universal agreement or disagreement with politically. It's easy to find common ground with some people and challenging with others, but it is possible for me to find some commonality with every person.
Parenting can highlight what divides us, because when we hang out with different families, we bump up against other people's parenting. It's hard to watch people handling their kids differently than we would, isn't it? It's also hard to feel judged or scrutinized for our kids' behavior or our own parenting.
Maybe we can bring the curious, open aspect of mindfulness into our relationships this holiday season. What if we look at each other's relationships with an interested and accepting eye? Watch for the good moments between parent and child? Trust our family to handle the experience of potty talk, a particular religious lens, or uncomfortable political views that can come up when we're with a 'different' family or part of our extended family?
Could we approach our playground visits, school parking lot conversations, and Facebook experience with this willingness to accept and be curious this season?
This is my intention, to be intentionally curious about 'others.' To find the connection, even it's a subtle one, between myself and each of the 'others' in my world. While willing to speak up for my true values (stopping physical, emotional, and verbal assaults, for example), I want to promote tolerance personally, by discovering and letting go of my own sense of separation whenever I can.
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.