Diversity is as important as ever as we embark on a new direction for our country this month. Whether we agree or disagree with this new direction, it is an important consideration for all of us to embrace our individual heritage as well as those of others.
With this past holiday season, we celebrated traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. Many of those traditions have originated from our differing cultures. Many folks have decorated, baked, cooked and created gifts from our beloved ancestry. We share the love and uniqueness of each of our traditions with friends, family, neighbors and even strangers.
Our Wisconsin winters remind us of the delight we felt as children and the discovery by Wilson Bentley, that “no two snowflakes are alike,” and the accumulation of many can create varieties of winter fun and breathtaking sceneries.
How wonderful it is that like the intricate designs in snowflakes — or the many varieties of flowers in a garden — we can appreciate our differences by opening up to the creative processes that art provides.
Art has the ability to teach us about places and people that we have visited or maybe have only read about or seen on the television. Art reminds us that we have the ability to share our histories, our passions, our merging futures with each other.
When we create art, we express a conscious — sometimes unconscious — deep and vulnerable connection to our soul. Art has the ability to link us to a higher power and when we share this tapped experience it challenges us to take a risk with others, setting us up for rejection or acceptance. We challenge others to open their minds and discover things from a different point of view. We challenge them to educate themselves, to be curious and share in the risk of this experience.
Fear and hatred stem from a lack of curiosity and ignorance. If we are to stay close-minded and cling to only the thoughts and things that we are most familiar with, misunderstandings are unleashed and threaten peace amongst each other and all living creatures.
When we are able to peel the film off of our stubborn vision we open our eyes, our ears and all of our senses to the beauty this life grants us. When we loosen the barriers of our own ignorance and intolerance and open up to each other’s thoughts, opinions, traditions, creative passions and all of the arts, we are able to detect a common thread. This is the thread that attaches all of our unique and salvaged fibers. This is the thread that embraces our differences and forms a strong, harmonious, loving patchwork. This is the human experience and common language as we discover that we are not that different after all.