Joining-Conformity vs. Independence-Nonconformity

Over the past few months, there have been many topics on which I have wanted to write about, but because of being without something to write on, or having a topic which I thought was inadequate at the time, I haven’t written anything, till now.

I may have written on this subject before, but I can say that this is a topic very close to me.

I am an American living in Mexico, which is in itself is a trial in many ways, but not all. The main difference I have found difficult to adjust to is space. We Americans love our space! Just look at our streets – wide and long. Our freeways and turnpikes; wide and smooth. Our sidewalks; wide, smooth and typically clean; our personal space – distance. Mexico? Small, narrow, short and close (typically).

QuestionAuthorityOne of the things that is individualistic is nonconformity. From my point of view, the world is a place of conformity – everyone has to be alike to succeed, and most everyone I know has bought into that idea – even those who say that they’re independent.

Someone I know is constantly “annoying” me to join a religion she belongs too. I constantly refuse to do so, so the next thing I hear is, “If you don’t join my religion, I’ll never see you again”, and there is usually a slight variation to that. My reply has been, “In my journeys, I have met and befriended many people from many walks of life, and many different religions, and those who profess no religion. What all of them, as well as us have in common is, all of us have experienced “miracles” – things that have happened in our lives which we can not explain. What I have come to know is, our Creator doesn’t care about our religions, after all, religions were created by man (see the book of Genesis for reference). Man has gone to war over religion, and conformity.”

Conformity takes on many different covers/descriptions. Many think that tatoos, body-piercings, coloring your hair green, pink, red, blue, multi-colors, etc. is nonconformity. Really? How many others are doing the same thing? Why? If people are still wearing their pants below their buttocks, that’s not nonconformity, and many that I’ve spoken with don’t know why they do it, other than they know someone else doing the same, and without knowing what it means.

In the 1990’s, the “New Age Movement” hit it’s high and it seemed that there were a lot of people trying to ride that band wagon to fame and riches. Books and classes in some kind of new age science were abounding. I tried also, but not by writing a book, just from giving classes. I started out with free classes – no one attended. I charged a little and got a little; I charged more and got more (weird). When I got a packed room, I asked, “What’s the difference between this class and the class I offered for free?” Everyone who answered replied, “I don’t know, what?” My reply?

Nonconformist

“Nothing”

Conformity tells us that if it costs nothing, that must be its value.

Now, here in Mexico, I do two things: I teach English (P and C Advanced English), and I perform holistic therapies, which is curative, or maintenance for the mind, body and soul (La Verdadera Salud Texcoco). What makes my teaching and therapies so different? Let me explain in short form:

  • In teaching English, most everyone (I don’t know everyone) here teaches with books. They teach young and old as if they’re in high school or university. They can tear a sentence apart, but holding a conversation? I teach in a combination of ways; non of us learned our native languages from a book. Perfected? Yes. We listened, watched, spoke and praticed along with making mistakes until we got it right. I do somewhat the same, except I teach the multiple meanings of words. For example, “My computer is broken, I need to fix it.” and, “Fix the picture to that wall.” or, “The bathroom is in a fixed location.” I teach in businesses, so I have to teach effectively and books don’t help a lot.
  • In holistic therapies, I have met many people who have come to me saying that they have been to two to four doctors trying to get relief for a problem, only to continue suffering with the same problem(s). What I have learned is, doctors usually try to help you by attacking the problems you have, i.e., if you have a stomach ache, here is something for that problem. I on the other hand want to know what caused the problem, then solve your problem(s) from that angle. So far, I’ve had a lot of successes.

Thinking GPatton

There are a lot of differences between nonconformity and rebellion and you would do well to know them, but for now, being a nonconformist means being yourself in a world which wants you to be the same because you’re easier to control. If you conform, you won’t question the difference between police and sheriff: morally correct and legally correct: what is accepted and what is correct, and so much more. I also understand that there is a certain amount of comfort in being a part of the crowd – the boat seldom gets rocked, everything is the same everyday, you’ve reached your goal and growing more isn’t anything you’re interested in… the list goes on. Well, if that’s what you want, have it. You have a role in life. For the true nonconformist, we do not hold that against you – that is you. Quite seriously, “Live well and prosper!”

If I have done nothing more than help you to think about something different, I have accomplished my goal. I am a nonconformist. I am alone, but not lonely. However, I am also a bit unique in a different way. Learn something about personality types. Here is something in video form which will teach you a bit more – for those who don’t have the time or patience to read. I am an “INTF“. This is a (short) YouTube (video) link.

Now, ask yourself again, “Who and what am I, and why?”

Whatever you do, be true to yourself.

WhoStopsMe


 

Identity

Not long ago, a friend whose parents are of different races made a comment concerning her identity. She identifies herself as one race with the public, but I feel that she is a bit confused when she is not totally accepted by those she identifies with. I am a product of multiple races, as are many of my friends – most who will admit it, but as I do, I just leave it for those who question my origins to ask if they are curious enough. How do you identify yourself?

Several years ago, while living in a northwest city of the U.S. State of Wisconsin, I had befriended a younger adult man at the business where I worked. A few weeks after meeting and working with him, we happened to see each other at a local gas station and started a conversation. Somewhere in that conversation he asked me about my racial background. I chuckled (as I usually do when asked this), and proceeded to tell him about my racial heritage. We spoke some more, then we parted company. We continued our friendship up till the time I left the area.

In other places I’ve lived, such as Chicago, many have identified me as a Latino – by word of mouth per my mother’s side of the family, there is a Portuguese line as well. My point here is, I allow others to determine what they choose because I only consider myself as a person who lives in a diverse world.

Speaking of Chicago, years ago a friend and I were dining in one of my favorite restaurants in a northern suburb of Chicago. A young and very nice college student was our waitress. By all appearances, she was a young caucasian girl with very fair (not pale) skin, but she had curly hair. We had established a comfortable rapport with her, so I asked which European country her family came from. Her answer surprised me: she stated that she knew her family has a mix of Black (African) dating back a couple of generations or so, and she like me, didn’t make a big deal of it – it’s there, but I am who I am.

Now, I live in Mexico and not long ago, a student of mine started a conversation about identity here in Mexico. His statement was that most Mexicans have an identity crisis. This is because after the Spaniards came and conquered, they managed to kill – whether by force, or by contagious diseases, many of the indigenous people here, then ‘intermarried’ causing a lot of offspring which has resulted in a nation of far more mixed races than indigenous. Along with the Spanish are the French who wanted to claim Mexico, so there are mixtures of Spanish, French and because of escaped slaves from the U.S. and the Mexican-American “wars”, there are other mixtures. This has been written about in a book by Octavio Paz, “The Labyrinth of Solitude“. Here in Mexico, the people are generally loving and accepting of most everyone, with one exception (still being a general statement), they don’t like the “Indians”, or as we might say, the indigenous people. I suspect it’s because they hold on to their “native ways”.

identityFor me and those I’ve met who have interracial backgrounds, I’ve found that those of us who accept our “diversity”, we lead healthy lives when we accept our diversity as a unique aspect of life. We have less stress about who will accept us, how we appear to others and when we accept those who accept us for who and what we are rather than who and what we want others to see. We see more value in what we have to share with others, rather than having a concern about how we appear.

In the U.S.A., there still exists a division of races, partially because of its history, but now because many feel that there is something to be lost if they drop that identity. Sadly, many do not see themselves as “Americans”, but they feel the need to place an adjective before the word American. Here in Mexico and other Latin American countries, those who are born there, no matter the racial mixture, are addressed as their nationality – no adjectives implied. Does a “racial caste system” still exist? Yes, in some countries, for sure, but others will address you according to how you present yourself, even if you have to apply confidence, not forcefully, but confidently with love and acceptance for everyone. The moment others sense an air of arrogance in you, you may have lost your plea for acceptance.

If you are one who has a multi-racial, multi-cultural background, my advice is to accept and love yourself (not in a narcissistic manner), and focus on what your role in society is, and those who matter will accept you and your uniqueness, and a happy life will be yours.

I hope this has helped.

God in a Box

During the past week since my last post, I’ve had many ideas that I thought were worthy of writing, but alas, none had “heart”.  Wednesday morning here in the America‘s, I was going to write about the hatred and all the negativity being expressed concerning the re-election of President Obama – that didn’t have heart either.  With regard to his re-election, I even had selected posts from “religious” people who were throwing literal “hissy-fits” over the election results.  One of my facebook friends posted this picture, then

“I don’t fit in your box”
– God

I re-posted it.  One friend caught on and a conversation followed.

Without divulging our conversation, but at least giving the highlights, this is pretty much what was covered:

… We are a people who love to hate for any number of reasons. Love is something we talk about, but practice in a very limited fashion.

Also, I’m one that not only believes in miracles, but lives them on a daily basis. I don’t claim to know the mind of G-d, but like Albert Einstein, it’s what I strive for. Even as Abraham Lincoln is credited for saying (paraphrased), “It’s not important that G-d is on my side, it’s far more important that I am on G-d’s side.” To live in HIS shadow means that I can be both part of a miracle, and the recipient of such; and if you wish, the observer of a/many miracle(s) that others miss.

Mankind has a L-O-N-G history of screwing things up when we forget who really is in charge, then take matters into our own hands. It’s my suggestion that instead of being so angry and upset over the outcome of an election, embrace what is and seek whatever your role is from our Creator and be a part of what He has either made or allowed and grow.

I only include this here because I made a decision yesterday – I’m not going to write about the ill’s of our world, they’re quite evident.  If this means that I lose even more of my readers, so be it.  I know that “bad news sells”, but this constant rehashing of negativity tends to drag me down with it, and in the end, I don’t like myself or the world in which we live.  I have chosen to focus on all that is great, and what can be through love and compassion.

When my now 31-year-old child was around six years old, we were on vacation and traveling cross-country by car.  Each time we stopped for gas and/or food, I’d talk with people like I’ve known them for a long time (something I learned from my father).  My daughter asked, “Dad, is there anyone that you don’t know?”  I smiled and answered her with a quote from Will Rogers, “Strangers are friends I haven’t met.”  The truth is, I like to make people smile – and think.  Whenever we have the chance, why not make a person smile?  It costs nothing and from time-to-time, the smile you just shared makes you smile too!

For some of my friends and/or readers, if you haven’t noticed by now, I do believe in G-d, and it’s based on my relationship with It.  I say “It”, “Creator”, “Source”, et al because I don’t attempt to put “Him”, “Her” in a box.  For me, it’s enough that I have conversations with our Creator, so gender is of no consequence for me.  If you’re offended by my “liberal” expressions, I guess this blog won’t be of any interest to you – but this does not mean that it will turn religious… I have no desire to make this into a religious blog, but from time-to-time, there will be quotes and thoughts that will come from a belief system.

Anyway, have a great and wonderful weekend and if I’m so inspired, there will be something here to read next week!

All the best!

 

Dancing to the Music

Most of us throughout our lives have met and possibly know, or have known people who don’t “fit in” with what many call, “our society”.  They don’t march to the same sounds that the masses march too.  There are those of us that would rather dance to our own music!  We’re often labeled as strange, weird and most appropriately, non-conformists.

Oddly enough, those that have made a name for themselves in history are the ones that danced to their own music.  Socrates, Plato, Albert Einstein, Beethoven, Mozart, Count Basie, Chuck Berry, George Carlin, Richard Bach, Amelia Earhart, Martin Luther King Jr., and so many others.

When you hear music that only you can dance too, that’s your music – listen to it, dance to it.  Don’t just walk your way through your life’s journey, dance your way through it!

It’s your life and you should enjoy it!

P.S.

Don’t worry if others call you insane – you know yourself, you know your desires and abilities and as long as you care for others on your way through life, just show your critics how to live!  You’re probably doing what they’re saying is impossible.