Howdy Neighbor

Humans have formed groups for thousands of years; from the family to the clan, to the tribe and so forth onto the kingdom and city-state. Many say that this is simply instinct; a survival instinct. As social creatures we find safety in larger numbers. We also have the clique, here in the sphere of segregation.

The word segregation comes with a stigma as it is often associated with race. However, this sphere represents the unique groups that all humans form, are drawn to, or avoid. Groups generally form from individuals who share certain things in common. These groups then segregate themselves from other “different” groups. This segregation and separation can be seen throughout time in every culture.

Junior high and High school is a perfect example of this. I am often reminded of the cliques and groups that stood as miniature huddles during lunchtime, or in the hall between classes.

During the middle of my freshman year in high school my parents divorced and we moved from Oklahoma to the Mississippi gulf coast. This was a difficult time for me as I was transplanted from one culture to another, landing in a school and place where I knew nobody. I felt terribly alone.

From January until May I stayed to myself, aware of all the groups around me, not sure who was who; who was worth talking to or not. I leaned against the wall in silence for the entire lunch period every day, and barely spoke to anyone. Those who did speak to me often asked me why I looked so depressed. I would usually laugh at the question.

I eventually made many friends that summer, and my sophomore year was much better. I found myself among many groups and cliques, not picking just one. I would float between groups of jocks and heads, artists and band geeks. I wanted to know everyone and enjoy my time. In a way I was a drifter, but one who could fit in anywhere.

In life we have these same cliques everywhere; in the workplace, in our religious institutions, in politics and in private life. We continuously segregate and separate ourselves apart from one another. We only group when we agree on certain things.

For example, the Christian faith has approximately 38,000 denominations.. (Talk about agreeing to disagree). Though all these denominations share similarities, they all follow and interpret the scripture differently.

Within the sphere of segregation, in our separation, we become disconnected with the true nature of life, spirit and humanity. We fail to see the connection that we all share.

People are social creatures, and though we will never always agree, we shouldn’t separate ourselves from one another. We should strive to know each other; learn of others gifts, talents quirks and loves. We are all beautiful beings, all unique and different; each holding a piece of truth waiting to be explored.

Within our sphere, just as it is wise to know the self; it is just as wise to know one’s neighbors. You never know where you’ll find another brilliant mind, another soul-mate or another brother. Seek beyond the sphere of segregation. Seek unity and peace.

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I am an artist, writer, author, philosopher and lover of nature and life. My blog offers a glimpse into my world, my thoughts, my sphere. Enjoy!

47 thoughts on “Howdy Neighbor

  1. Unity and peace among the brethren–YES! And I say this as a lifetime churchgirl/woman who constantly mourns over the separation into cliques of various small groups of women within the same church family!

  2. “You never know where you’ll find another brilliant mind, another soul-mate or another brother.” — Wonderful post, and here in the blogosphere, I found you. Your writings are truly inspiring.

  3. I am still surprised (don’t know why) by how much in common I have with people when I have the courage to just open to them – interconnected indeed!!

  4. So true. Segregation is only in the mind. When we really think about it, we’re all the same though. Great post!

  5. It’s funny, I’ve been thinking a lot about these things lately. Maybe due to the fact that I have a middle school child for the first time this year….

    I’ve been remembering how my first best friends in elementary school were Jewish and Iranian. I thought nothing of it at the time, but now I look back and am pleased that I was drawn to diversity (because the school was mostly white) at such a young age.

    Of course I spent years looking for people like me to be friends with, but now I find myself like I was in kindergarten – appreciating and drawn to those who are different than me in thought, belief, and culture.

  6. Unity and PEACE – if these were the idols we bowed to, oh, what a world we would have. I’m enjoying your writing. Take care.

  7. Great post – yet again!
    Although my school was very small (Kindergarten to 12 was 300 kids), we had small cliques. Even in elementary I could tell these were forming & resented it. I am the person who will find that person playing by themselves & become friends so they can have someone to dig in the sand with or play on the monkey bars. This stopped me from becoming taken over by cliques. I am the social butterfly. My friends can never keep track of me when we go out either because I love to visit with everyone.
    I really wish more people thought like you. We all need to disregard segregation & learn to embrace one another & stop letting our minor differences separate us.
    Thanks again for the great read.

  8. Segregation in an of itself does provide a secure place to venture from and learn about others, a safe foothold to return and feel unthreatened. The act itself has gotten a poor reputation because of what’s been done in it’s name. Segregation without acceptance of others’ differences is a -ism (racism, ageism, etc.); with acceptance it allows the connection you seek. It brings up the question – is the total human being fully independent or fully interdependent?

  9. In the past, groups were scary places for me…but I’m learning how to cope, to go with the flow if it’s going in a good direction, to head out if it’s not for me…doing so without judgement is the challenge…thanks for another thought-provoking post…

  10. ~the simplicity of Love your neighbor~ I believe empathy, tolerance, and appreciation of diversity are what every child should be taught and every adult should learn… Wonderful, heart-warming post!

  11. I think one of the greatest disservices we can do ourselves is to close ourselves off from getting to know people who think differently from us, and making broad assumptions as to what someone thinks about everything based on one belief. I have been good friends with those I have many differences with, there is always common ground and when you are willing to understand and respect differences you just might find a kindred spirit.

  12. Well written, it is so important to remain open. I have learned that the most amazing things begin to happen if you just make a little room, and realize to have such diversity is a gift 🙂

  13. I’m glad you shared more of your original sphere with me – it’s odd to continue to see how “semper fi” means so much more than I would have thought it would, so far back in ’87…

  14. Very well written. After reading this and upon reflection, I think I can safely call myself a drifter – hoping to feel some sort of love from every different soul.

  15. I couldn’t agree more with this wonderful piece you’ve written! Wish more people would be more open and accepting of others, even if we disagree we can still show some respect and not continue to bicker over the smallest of things. thank you for following my blog by the way and keep up your inspiring writing!

  16. Good post, and thought-provoking. I enjoy your writing, too. Yes, cliques and segregation hurt. Separation, exclusion, even hate. I grew up in Southern California and was thankful for the ethnically diverse schools and friendships I had, even in my “era” (I’m 56 now). My parents had left the Deep South behind, and even as a young boy I was shocked to visit my grandparents and to come up against their toxic racism. So unattractive. It’s a myth that we can (or should) always agree about every thought or action. That’s not unity, but conformity. But it is imperative that we value one another equally, even those with whom we disagree, and that we experience and enjoy the rich variety of culture and experiences and individuals out there–even to seek them out. To shut ourselves up in a room of those “just like us” impoverishes us greatly. One quick thought on your 38,000 Christian denominations, if I may. I agree that there are divisions and deplorable hateful attitudes to be found (but of course, no one has a monopoly on those). But at the same time, many of the apparent divisions are not really a divisive “us and them,” but a richness of heritage and the variety of “how many ways there are to be the same.” It isn’t always about disagreement. A great number of those groups come from different cultures, different generations, even different personalities and preferences (much like one friend might be into baseball and another into line dancing, another into both). Most actually feel a strong unity at the core that transcends the surface differences such as language, music style, modern vs. traditional, ritual vs. spontaneous. Sadly, the least attractive attitudes often make the most noise.

  17. Love the truth of the matter. I wish life could be so simple again, but technology has really become a HUGE part in separation as well. People don’t want to talk anymore, don’t love, don’t agree to disagree. It’s really sad IF you focus on the negativity of it, but I choose to do my part and make this world a place of unity! Great post!!!

  18. I’m with you, I always tried to mix with everyone too. My 82 year old neighbor is my best friend in this new environment I’m in now, my last home found my best friend to be a neighbor that had sons my son’s age, and that was it for what we had in common, but she taught me and challenged me a lot that way. 🙂

  19. Many paths to the mountain top…so it makes sense there are that many different flavors of pilgrim. Makes sense. That’s where we find the common ground. Thanks for dropping this into my day. Well spoken. Dan

  20. Excellent post.
    I am continually intrigued by young adults and identity formation. We are all guilty of following the crowd yet we do not see when joining the clique can have negative effects on others. I spent so much energy trying to fit in with a crowd when I lived in Ireland during my twenties that I missed all the wonderful people who wanted to know me for me. Now I embrace my inner Gump – life is like that box of chocolates 🙂

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