This essay was written by Jennifer Avalon. She has a web site full of them and some very good music. Go and visit it often.
SEEING IS BELIEVING
Recently I was stopped at a red light and to my right was a bus-stop with about five or six people waiting in line. All different kinds of people, one man drinking a cup of coffee, an elderly lady looking through her tote-bag....and three teenagers heading off to school. All around them was the bustle of people making their way to their destinations in the morning hours, nothing that probably is not done in most places around the world.
How we look at people is very important. We all have our good days and bad ones...and we all make mistakes. Have you ever noticed when you're in a group of people who are strangers, the barriers go up....then, all of a sudden, somebody says something that breaks the ice. It could be a casual line, a chuckle, or a gesture, but that breaking of the ice sets off a sigh of relief within the group....a feeling of "It's okay, I'm safe here".
We see ourselves as a society of separate people, but deep down many of us have the same fears and hopes. In most cases how we see an individual is up to us. It's almost as if we have to re-train ourselves into seeing more of the good in people than the bad, not the other way around. How we look at the world has a profound influence on our behavior and moods for any given day. If we accent the positive aspects of people, like everything else, it has a ripple effect. It's just as easy to see the good as it is to see the bad.
In times of major catastrophes or disasters the differences between the people going through the calamity are abandoned. We all become one group fighting the problem. About twenty years ago New York City had a major black-out. I remember that night being in the city with friends when all of a sudden all of the power went out. Now New York City is looked upon as a scary place at night, especially with no power! Well what happened I will never forget. All of a sudden almost out of nowhere people started rising to the occasion...mostly everybody pitched in to help in any way they could....yes there were a few who looked upon it as an opportunity to loot stores, but for the most part all different kinds of people contributed to the elevation of humanity that night. It was a sight to see people directing traffic with flashlights, the young helping the elderly, etc. The next morning the power came back on, and people returned to "normal". Once in awhile I meet people who mention the night of the black-out....we all laugh, remembering how we all pitched in, in our own way, to do things we had never done that night, and in some cases, haven't done since.
There is tremendous good in people. Allow yourself to see it. Don't be afraid to contribute....it does matter what you think, what you feel, and what you see in people. It shouldn't have to take a catastrophe for us to see how good we can be....
Take the time to love,
(C) 1997 Jennifer Avalon