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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

One of a Kind

Spoke in the Wheel

Imagine that each of us is a spoke in an Infinite Wheel...”
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening)

We spend the first half of life figuring out what makes us unique. The beginning step in that process is splitting from our family. The teenager who won't speak to her parents in public is a case in point. From that time on, we go through many trial-and-error scenarios to define ourselves as different and one of a kind. By the time we hit middle age, however, most of us have made a few stupid mistakes, fallen on hard times at least once, and been rejected often enough to have a few holes in our egos. It's amazing how much light those holes let in.

Mark Nepo uses the metaphor of spokes in a wheel—attached at one end to the rim, which is our life in the world that differs from one person to another; while at the other end, centered in a common hub, our not-so-unique humanity. When we look around us, we realize that no matter our race, religion, location, socioeconomic class, or gender, we are far more alike than we are different. And, given the right circumstances, we could change places with any other spoke in the wheel. Suddenly, our uniqueness seems a rather silly notion...and that's a good thing.

We can ask ourselves this question, “What makes me unique?” We may have lots of charming characteristics, and a few duds, but there are others who have these, too. Name a trait that you stand out for, and right away, people will pop into your mind who are your equal. Knowing deep in our bones that we all are striving to survive and thrive, that we all want good things for ourselves and our children, and that every single one of us wants to be free to live a prosperous life, levels the playing field. It is the hub from which we extend.

Today, look around at your fellow human beings. Instead of realizing your differences, focus on the myriad ways you are alike. Different spokes, same wheel.

                                                                  In the Spirit,

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