Lately, I’ve been thinking about how we make mole hills from mountains. They’re so much of the landscape we can’t see them anymore.
A boyfriend was cooking dinner once. "Can I help?" I was given a pile of green beans to prepare. I did it the way I was trained, snapping each end and pulling the string. He grabbed a handful of beans, and whacked off the ends with a knife. I was shocked. My world changed in an instant. Really, why painstakingly string beans? I told Mom about this epiphany and she said, "But that's the way it's always been done!" A side discussion of sitting on porches with old ladies, but in the end we agreed grocery store beans aren't very stringy, and we won't die from cut ends, though Mom still prefers it the old way.
It never occurred to me to question my green bean training. Now apply it to something that matters.
I started wondering what other mountains I’ve made tiny. It’s hard to know because our perspective is so skewed. You can point at something like women’s role in society through the millennia and wonder how many women actually stopped to wonder if it was a good idea to cripple their daughters by breaking their feet for foot binding or giving them genital mutilation. It all seems so obviously abusive now, but I bet millions of mothers just thought that’s the way things are.
Are we still crippling ourselves? Even though the wounds are invisible compared to foot binding, aren't we still keeping people down in countless ways?
America has about 3 more months of political craziness before the election. During that time we get a chance to see impassioned people spouting off their dearly-held beliefs. Some of their invisible mountains will be obvious to a lot of us. The white supremacist yelling about welfare mothers and immigrants had to be taught white is best and everyone of color has to be feared and kept out. But what of our own beliefs? How many of our own thoughts are flawed?
And really, I'm not talking politics or racism. I'm trying to explain that I've been trying to figure out my own faulty thinking on a very personal level. What do I believe that hurts my own success and happiness? For instance, I've been taught that my value in the world is measured by what I do. Whether that's my creative output, giving of my time or money, whatever, whatever. I bought into this, but it's a skewed view. I bet I have a lot of them, and I bet you do too.
Sometimes you just have to find someone who cuts the ends of beans with a knife to see things differently, to find people who haven't bought into your belief system, especially people who are positive and uplifting. It’s like the old saying about what you water in your garden. If you water weeds, you get weeds. I prefer tomatoes. I prefer being around happy people.