Join us each and every Monday for a strong cup of inspiration, Soul Coffee is a collection of stories, thoughts, questions and images to help you kick off the week with a bit of hope and encouragement
“Where you live shouldn’t determine whether you live.”
The first time I heard these eight little words there was no looking back. I have grown up in a society that celebrates success, achievement and extreme wealth. I have grown up with good schools, always had access to health care, and seldom have I truly gone without. I now teach young people who live a life with an even greater status, and the entitlement builds.
Where I have lived has absolutely determined the fortune I have experienced.
But what did I do to select where I was born? I did not choose to be born middle-class, or American, yet, because of just those two factors I have no doubt led a life very different from most of the world.
As Americans, we are often lulled into an apathetic sleep when it comes to the numerous global issues that most of the world’s population endures. Our news is filtered through our often limited perceptions and, as a result, we are blind to the daily walk others face. Even right here in our country we have many places that resemble much of the developing world.
But what if we took the above quote as a challenge to be authentic in all areas of our life?
Over the past few years, I have worked to live more and more with authenticity as my guide; I have slowly begun to see past the lines my society has drawn around global connectedness. As I invited understanding into my life, experience after experience flooded my world.
I have sat with recent genocide survivors, shared meals with former child soldiers, listened to immigrants who envision hope in the face of insurmountable obstacles, seen the power of music to cross all cultural barriers, watched as a refugee selected a new date of birth because they have never known when they were actually born, seen the impact of a solar-powered lantern to transform a family, and listened to a former sweatshop laborer share about the harsh treatment that scarred her hands. For me, each story is no longer a global issue, but rather the experiences of my extended family. There are no lines, just limited perceptions. Do you believe that…that we are all family?
I simply cannot shake the idea that where we live does not have to determine our survival. It gnaws at my heart asking me to become aware and remove the blindfold of privilege.
This month, at The Authenticity Project, we challenge you to live the next 31 days without that same blindfold. Global Awareness is about to be much more than a theme, this time, let’s make it about listening to that inner voice of authenticity.
We have some amazing stories, guest writers, and interviews headed your way, but if the next 31 days leaves your soul a little jolted, then in the words from the film Invisible Children: The Rough Cut: ‘If you see that and you’re uncomfortable, well ask yourself why…”
Join us this month around the larger table of humanity and let’s break a little bread, share from the same bowl, and begin to see the power empathy has to shift it all…
Heidi Rickard is the Creative Director for The Authenticity Project, you can contact Heidi at TheAuthenticityProject@gmail.com