We can expect that no matter where we place our limitations there will always be someone or something that comes along to challenge and change them. Our hometown or our local neighborhood provides social roots and serves to ground our life. However, there comes a time when we realize we are ‘more’ than that name or place.
Have you ever received the experience of someone else’s expectations when they comment, “I would have never guessed you were from [fill in the blank]”? An off-handed statement like that can be positive or negative, depending on how that place is defined. Considering the way we categorize places around the world, we may even surprise ourselves when we ‘surpass’ a perceived place name. There are remarkable people who have risen from the ranks of poverty or some war-torn area to become leaders on the world stage. The class clown from some ‘obscure’ small town rises to fame as a first-class comedian.
Taking a look may cause us to question what other people expect and what we expect from ourselves, especially when it comes to the places we experience--throughout our lifetime. The past may have been filled with trials and hardship, yet it carried with it a sense of community and triumph in spite of the chaos found there. It seems no matter where we may look, from our own household or school, to the neighborhood or country, some of the littlest places can define who we are, and defy us to move beyond them.
When we talk about personal definitions and places, what that means to each of us can be a little different. Does personal mean to one person, or family? Does local mean the street on which your house sits, or the area, county, state, or country? Even within a local community, there can be pockets or places that carry a positive or negative meaning to people, depending on their beliefs and expectations. A person “from the wrong side of the tracks,” for example, would be prohibited from mingling from the “nobs on the hill.”
Each of us may be called upon, at various times, to challenge our expectations. Travel can bring intimate and unexpected awareness of what it is really like to live in a different place. We can experience, firsthand, the difficulties and splendors of little places here and there. Brief trips to other locations can expand our horizons of what it means to be from a particular place--whether it adds to the flavor of what we already know, or brings us fresh, new perspectives and possibilities.
With a cosmic view, living in our age and space gives us a much bigger way to reflect on how limiting our labels can be at times. Visual evidence of our precious planet taken from the moon and other satellites reveals to us that the only borders are the ones “we” have put into place and believe to be true in our experience. We can move beyond our limitations, in so many ways, literally and figuratively.
So when do our expectations of ‘self,’ ‘others,’ and ‘place’ change? What does it take for us to accept a “place” fully for all it is, beyond any prejudiced conception we may hold? How might understanding “where a person is coming from” provide us with greater compassion and communication?
The ultimate answer lies within each of us to discover. There are little places in our own physical bodies where we may have lost touch. When did we last communicate mindfully with our spheres of energy and sought to balance their flow? Blockages happen when energies reach a limitation, and freedom comes from moving past that block.
For example, might we be more focused on thinking or “brain” activities that we neglect our heart space? We may discover ‘personal places’ that require some attention. How can we be certain of the external when our internal may be stifled or in disarray?
Can we be comfortable with knowing our own roots and growing beyond them? Once we have experienced a place to its fullest, might it be time to move on and begin the growth cycle all over again in a new place? Conversely, have we reached a time in our experience when we are ready to settle down and plant roots of home and community where we might make positive change happen?
What of those who are more nomadic--who have traveled throughout their lives and may not have any one place to call home? There was a time, and there still may be, when travelers and gypsies were looked upon with fear and suspicion because they were from a different ‘place’ than the rest of the community. It is quite the same way we may view the ‘homeless’ today as being transient and holding a kind of negative essence, based solely upon their present, circumstantial environment.
Does living outside of society’s expectations of place make one a rebel, or do we rebel when we are ‘too defined’ by the place in which we live? Our planet is only “so big;” so we do need to start looking past our current limitations. What might it take to see beyond time and place, and begin to envision a greater sense of global community, connection, and well-being than what we currently expect--from others and ourselves?
Reaching out in growth and awareness can help us appreciate all the little places…that make us who we are.
For our consideration. ~ Namaste ~ Blessings!
Kathy Custren is a mother of four, who strives for balance and has a deep respect for All. Interests include advocacy, the arts, communication, education, health, humanity's cosmic origins, nature, philosophy, spirituality and wellness. Visit her page "Consciousness Live" on Facebook, and her site at kathyc-mindblogger.blogspot.com.