Why “A Journey of Other Discovery” as the title and theme of the Reciprocity Blog? Simply put, I want to explore the question and share the stories of what I and those I work with, notice as we attempt to “practice” shifting the focus of our attention from our own reality to the realities of all the ‘others’ in our lives.
I see the unfolding of this knowledge as an unplanned exploration of a multitude of random, chaotic interactions. It in no way seeks to represent the development of a static set of predictable propositions of social certainty. I will be attempting to approach all interactions and conversations with no result in mind, but with the sole intention of developing deeper inquiry wherever that leads.
It is a journey that begins anew with every experience: every conversation creates new meaning; every interaction changes us in some way. Our tentative realizations emerge as a growing sensory awareness. It’s a “feel” not a fact, a “touch” not a truth.
Are we really all too caught up in our own realities to sense the magic that might come from finding out about what is happening in someone else’s world?
As a journey of ‘other’ discovery, it quite deliberately challenges the now mainstream phenomena of the self-help movement of the last 50 years that posits meaning as developed deterministically during the individual’s journey of ‘self’ discovery. A context where the ‘self’ is maintained in isolation, irrespective of, or often to the detriment of, the other. Alternatively, I sense that the ‘other’ may be our greatest source of self‑knowledge. Perhaps, the more we discover about the other, the more of ourselves is revealed.
Discovering the ‘other’ works on many levels. It can be as simple as asking someone how their day is going and listening to understand what is meaningful to them. As a friend recounted to me recently, she was profoundly touched and changed when, after making conversation with an old woman in her local shop, the woman turned to her and said “Thank you for being interested – you are probably the only person I will talk with this week.”