As you most likely already know, for nine years I have stood outside in a public place, holding a sign that says free hugs. I love doing it and truly free hugs has been a life changer for me. It took me far out of my comfort zone and put me on display. Or, so that is how I felt my first free hug event and it still happens from time to time nine years later.
Yesterday, as I drove away from free hugs on my way to the community kitchen, I saw a group of young Muslim women. One was holding a sign that said, “meet a Muslim.” I honked and yelled out my window that I stood with them and keep up the great work. I so wanted to stop and meet all those beautiful ladies. The one woman’s smile and sign traveled with me as I drove to the kitchen and it still lingers inside of me, and it got me thinking.
What if we each held a sign that said, ‘meet me’ and truly let people meet us. Not meet us as a Christian, a Muslim, Jewish, or any other religion we identify ourselves as. Not meet us as American, Russian, Syrian, Canadian, Mexican, or any nation we identify ourselves with. Not as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or any sexuality we identify ourselves as. Not as single, married, divorced, widowed, or as any partnership we identify ourselves as. But rather to meet us as who we are – 1 amazingly unique person out of 7 billion who is wishing for love, health, food, shelter, and peace in their life. As one person who shows up in love and when they show up in fear it’s from a place of unworthiness to step into love.
So, let me introduce myself. I am Carol CC Miller. I have a big heart that feels deeply. I love to lift people up and sometimes worry I’m not doing enough. I sometimes hold on to people longer than I should as letting go can be a challenge for me. I sometimes let go of people before looking closer at what they are offering me because letting people in at a deeper level can be scary. I have dozens of ideas going through my head at any given time on how to bring more kindness to the world in the exact moment I am being unkind to myself for not bringing it sooner. I love to laugh as laughter heightens my celebrations and lessens my sorrows. Although I know better, I do take things personally at times. I don’t like to be perceived as small and yet have diminished my own light numerous times. I love the water, being on it, sailing, seeing it, smelling it, hearing it, touching it. I am far kinder than I am unkind, and yet unkindness lives within me. I see the best in people and yet can find myself focusing on my own weaknesses more than my strengths. I am brave and strong and yet worry at times that people see me as weak. I love to travel and meet new people and yet sometimes can be shy. I am small in stature yet feel as tall as a skyscraper when standing for love. I am a hopeful romantic. I am passionate about what I love and I love a lot. I am me – the loving parts and the fearful parts.
Moving forward, I encourage you to meet others by:
Seeing past the labels of religion, nationality, sexuality, or anything else that separates them from seeing YOU in them.
Looking for commonality. The clear majority of people want to live a meaningful, safe, kind, caring, healthy, and peaceful life. We may express it differently because of our own personal backgrounds, but look for the similarities more than looking for the differences.
Embracing our differences. If we were all exactly alike life would be bland. Learn from each other’s different perspectives. It doesn’t mean you must adopt them as your own, but by inquiring and observing, you are opening yourself up to a richer and more vibrant life.
Noticing the individual rather than the group. Now, although I am asking you to meet the individual person, I’m not suggesting you share all your dreams, wishes, and fears with them. I am asking you to recognize that they too have dreams, wishes, fears and are so much more than a religion, nationality, a sexuality, or a partnership.
Mostly, I ask that you see the beautiful tapestry of people in the world and see each person you meet as 1 person in 7 billion – unique, beautiful, and messy…just like you!
Until next time, come meet me. My sign of introduction is offering a free hug that I see you. I hear you. I know you… as I am you.
I meet the most amazing people for the most amazing reasons daily.
Words to Live By:
“When it’s time for souls to meet, there’s nothing on earth that can prevent them from meeting.”
“The journey that I have undertaken, meeting people from all walks of life and learning from them, has been my biggest achievement.”
~ Aamir Khan
“The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”
Sounds of the Soul