Every time I move across a cultural divide, I am shocked by the adjustment I have to make. Since I am repeatedly traveling back and forth between Canada and Honduras, I would think I would get used to it! Yet, I still find it a surprising shift.
I find I am comfortable in both cultures. I just live with different priorities and perspectives in each one! When I settle into Latin America, I slow down. I open up my being – to people’s eyes and hearts. People are expressive and willing to meet me with open eyes. I must unlearn my more guarded instincts that come from the busyness of our first world approach to life. I leave behind the guarded expectation of distrust and find I must actually step out into the embrace of people who are more willing to smile, to acknowledge lack and need, to give a warm embrace and a kiss on the cheek.
Vulnerability is a treasure that we have exploited in our western agenda driven world. Vulnerability is valued in a different way in other cultures. All people guard themselves – it is part of human instinct. We have all been injured – in fact, repeatedly through life. Latin culture with it’s focus on emotional expression, gives people a deeper instinctive set of tools to read and mesh with those who live transparently and offer safety to a wounded heart. This set of tools is a gift to those who learn to walk in vulnerability through a broken world. I have much to learn from this culture!
So i find myself shifting gears. I find my antenna tuned differently. I find my heart engaging in a different way with my spirit. A fresh breath reaches out to caress my soul. I quiet myself to a new round of learning.
Author – Bill Tidsbury