Too often, we seek out learning opportunities that help us become more comfortable with the world around us. It’s hard to leave these comfortable places. It’s hard to acknowledge conflicting perspectives, and it’s harder to admit we may not have all the answers.
I find I learn the most from situations that make me feel uncomfortable. In these situations, I am forced to question my previously held understandings – of the world, and of myself – and subsequently, evaluate any underlying influences that may be shaping these understandings. Essentially, these uncomfortable situations help me to begin processes of unlearning.
Unlearning involves letting go of what you have already learned, while simultaneously creating openings for new discoveries and transformation. It’s about exploring who you are through questioning how and why you came to hold the opinions, beliefs, and values you do. As such, unlearning necessitates the willingness to be challenged, and to be changed.
These processes of change, however difficult, can be quite beautiful. Through opening up to unknown territories and unpredictable paths, our hearts are softened, our minds expanded, our spirits renewed.
No one has all the answers. But our individual perspectives are all equally valid and worthy of acknowledgment.
“To paraphrase Albert Einstein, ‘You can’t fix what’s in your head with what’s in your head.’ You need other people for that. You need their ears, their hearts, their spirits. You need words plumbed from the very core of your being pushed out into the air and given meaning by being shared with someone else. You need the sound of your own truth ringing in your ears. When you do that your heart changes, it softens, becomes malleable. When that happens your feelings become clear and you experience your truth. When that happens your mind changes and you become open to change. When change happens your spirit soars with newfound freedom. I’m learning this all over again these days – that the head has no answers and the heart has no questions. Live from the heart today, my friends.”– Richard Wagamese, Ojibway author