WELLNESS - I do believe that a human’s most natural state involves loving and being loved. As infants, we are strongly influenced by the touch factor, being held, being nurtured, hearing comforting voices, feeling safe, and yes, loved.
Children, adolescents, and adults continue to need acceptance and love, but through family dysfunction, societal insecurity, and misguided priorities, we often deny sharing, or are denied the love that we all inherently need to be happy healthy human beings.
I’ve traveled the world as a tourist and as a health and wellness professional, and I am struck by the fact that, when given permission, in a safe emotional space, love emerges in every country and culture, along with laughter, touch, warm embraces, and kind words…all part of the international human love equation.
The French kiss a lot, the Italians talk with their hands, the Egyptians hold hands, the Japanese bow in respect, the Mexicans smile a lot, the Americans give big hugs, the Brazilians dance, the Norwegians are good listeners, the Ugandans make amazing eye contact, and so on and so on…..these are just some of my quick observations, the point being, ALL cultures express love in various forms: Food, Touch, Eye Contact, Conversation, Gesture, Boisterous Approval, a Pat on the Back, a Handshake, a Kiss (or two), a Gentle Embrace, or a Bear Hug…..and in marvelous combinations of joyful LOVING expression.
We are all different, and yet, ALL THE SAME. Sometimes, when we don’t fully understand a group of people, we humans might internally (or externally) label those who differ as “weird.”
I’m a Caucasian male, who grew up in a suburb in Houston Texas, and I do remember getting the societal message that certain groups of people were different, perhaps less than, and weird. My 5th Grade Social Studies teacher was Alma Allen, an African American woman teaching in a 99% White school. She was the epitome of 70’s style, sporting a beautiful Afro and super groovy bell bottoms. Ms. Allen instilled in us that using the word “Weird” to describe other people was both lacking insight and preventing us from learning about someone else. So whenever one of us would say, “That’s WEIRD,” she’d swirl around, bell bottoms flaring, point at us and sweetly say, “Not weird….DIFFERENT.” I will never forget that, or her. I was fortunate…every kid, in every culture, needs an Alma Allen.
My family went to the Methodist Church, while my nextdoor neighbor, Bart, and his family, were Jewish. We were (and still are) very close friends, and our parents allowed us to have cross-cultural religious experiences. Bart often joined me to functions at the Methodist Church and sat with my family many times for Christmas dinner. I joined Bart at Passover Seder and other events at their Synagogue, and also in their home on many Jewish holidays.
This loving inclusivity between neighbors was SO important. I remember getting into an argument at school with some boys who were saying, “You know Bart has blue blood.” I said, “No he doesn’t, why would you say that?” They answered, “Because he’s Jewish, and Jews have blue blood.” Even though I knew it wasn’t true, because Bart and I had cut ourselves many times in our childhood shenanigans, the boys were so adamant about it that I asked Bart about it when I got home. He looked at me, kind of alarmed and said, “No, my blood is red.” I said, “I knew it!!!”
We all have been taught foolish things, untruths about other people, and we often form opinions that are rooted in hatred of those who differ. Categoric hatred due to skin color, race, religion, lack of religion, sexual orientation, all of it, is just plain wrong, and if you were taught to hate, it is time to un-learn the hate, let it go, and replace that Energy with Love.
I don’t believe that hate-filled people think of themselves as hateful, especially since many claim to be filled with the Word of God, or Divinely inspired. Loving your neighbor is standard fare in most religions, and it doesn’t take much effort to see how so many “religious” people are missing that simple lesson in our war torn, hate-spewing world right now.
Chi (Energy) spirals……and can spiral in all directions. It can spiral exponentially in a hate-filled direction of great conflict, as we are sadly witnessing now. But keep in mind that IT can also (and will again) spiral exponentially towards LOVE. The pain of this process is watching how many lives are being lost, the violence between neighbors, the hate-filled ignorance and rhetoric being spewed out by those who should know better and those who obviously don’t know better.
We were all taught some form of disrespect or “hate” for another group, and it is up to each individual to address it, examine it, and let it go. Systemic or Institutional racism has deep roots in families, religions, or just regions of the world that have been conditioned to just hate their different neighbors.
It is important for us all to step out of our box, travel, talk to people who differ, form relationships with people who aren’t in our regular circles, learn about other cultures, say hello to people who might make you uncomfortable, make eye contact on a daily basis, and NOTICE what prejudice might be lingering inside of you.
From an Energetic perspective, one can encounter the hateful feeling, identify the source of origin (when and where you were taught that), go deeper, address the absurdity of carrying that hatred around, breathe into it, then exert a big exhale and let it go. I swear you will feel lighter and happier.
Un-learning or letting go of hate isn’t difficult, it just requires some Soul-Searching and a Conscious decision to choose Love. That choice, for all of us, is long overdue.
Relating to Other’s Pain
Not everyone is wired for Empathy, but I do believe it can be learned through our observance of other people’s pain, and our own experience of physical and emotional pain.
One thing I teach often and think about daily, is that all of our feet touch the same Earth, we all breathe the same air, we all look to the sky and share the same Sun, Moon, and Stars, our eyes see, our voices are heard, and our hands touch, and…..we all feel and bleed….red.
I worked for 5 years in Clinical Pain Management, developing and implementing movement and meditation protocol for people in chronic and acute pain. I quickly learned that Pain is Universal, and in many ways, is the great leveler. I created what I called The Healing Circle, in which the patients participated together in a group, seated in a circle facing in towards each other, all eyes and voices equal and valid. The Healing Circle put people of ALL walks of Life together, sharing the common element of Pain. Each person was recognized, told their story, why they were there, and what they wanted to accomplish. Each person also listened to every person and every story, and I have to tell you, the friendships that were formed, and the empathy that was generated was greater than anything we see in regular daily society.
When the playing field is leveled…..there isn’t anything in the way…getting rid of pain and showing love for each other were the ONLY goals of the group. At the end of each hour, I had people stand up (if they could, otherwise they would stay seated and still be part of The Circle) and hold hands (right palm up, left palm down) in support of each other, as a Community, and we would balance our bodies and minds together and depart with affirmations and hugs. Each person touched others and was touched by others.
One day in class I had an African American man who had been in a tragic car accident and a White man with a swastika tattoo on his arm, who had experienced a major fall. Both men were in a lot of pain. I seated the two of them next to each other in The Healing Circle, and both men communicated beautifully with each other, showing empathy for each other and yes, they had to hold hands at the end. They both laughed and smiled, acknowledging each other, wishing the best for mutual healing, further inspiring the group with their beautiful bonding.
As we watch the horrors going on in the world, we MUST relate, we MUST stay in touch with our Empathy, picturing our own friends and family in these awful situations (as tough as it is) so we don’t become mired in inaction or apathy. The Pain of others IS our collective human pain and one way we can empower ourselves and our communities is to speak up against injustice and move forward with our own acceptance and Love of ALL people.
Hating someone takes a LOT of Energy, depleting us, while LOVING someone is exponentially empowering and healing for our Bodies, Minds, Spirits, and Communities. Go for it…..
Choose LOVE ❤️
(Scott Cole is an author, speaker, and pioneering wellness motivator. He is a former National Aerobic Champion, star of the iconic Abs of Steel videos, and is the creator of the over 1 million selling Discover Tai Chi series. A regular on tv, you may have seen him on LIVE with Regis and Kelly, The View, The Early Show, CNN Headline News, and more. He has trained Hollywood elite (Christian Bale, Barry Manilow, Suzanne Somers, Gena Lee Nolin) and conducted lectures, workshops, and seminars in 30 countries, and is now focused on helping people MOVE THROUGH and OUT OF Pain, Grief, Addiction, and Hate…..for more on Scott, visit www.ScottCole.com or follow him on Instagram @scott_cole_wellness.)