There are some events, some undertakings in our lives, that we come to understand have a profound affect on the rest of our lives. They colour how we see the world, and the people and places within it. We see them as either to be feared or as opportunity to find similarities.

I know that my life has been one of sometimes feeling very different and very outside. A year long experience in my twenties gave me a chance to see myself differently. Moving out of my community it gave me a chance to travel with others from around the world. The international composition of fellow travellers allowed a glimpse into other cultures and societies and as a result, find the similarities.

This is a gift, because it tends to remove the very harsh “us” and “them” mentality. If you have ever been a member of “them”, where you are looked at as less than or to be suspect, then you know what I mean.

Us and them is fear based

Us and them is fear based. It is power and control and believing that there is limited – everything- and so we must hold on at all costs. Us and them can be about gaining approval, winning the prize, and being top dog.

Have you ever noticed though, that some of the greatest creations are because we have come together? One of the things I love watching is when musicians from different groups interact. There is concentration, focus and flat out enjoyment.

They aren’t trying to best each other, they are entranced by new musical styles or instruments; new ways to vocalize or a new interpretation of a piece. They are open to learning all that can be learned about becoming  better. Not just at what they do, but in adding to the musical repository of the world. Less versus and more verses.

If there is an us and them within it, usually it surfaces as we and them. As in, we learned a lot from them.

Current political climates continue to give us as many examples as we would like for us versus them. Only you can decide if you accept it as winner takes all or winner makes all.

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