Culture is what makes you a stranger when you are away from home. – Philip Bock
We have all experienced culture shock at one time or another. It is that moment when the excitement of a new adventure meets with a jolt of misalignment. It may be a new job, a new family arrangement, a new town, a new house, and in our case, a new world culture. There are people who welcome the jolt and those that don’t enjoy it at all. We are clearly in the “jolt seeker” category. The beauty of moving slowly through the world is that at times we stay long enough for the shock to wear off.
This past weekend was unforgettable for many little reasons. We celebrated family birthdays, played cricket in the park, and watched the World Rugby sevens tournament. The neighbor baked us a pavlova with summer blueberry sauce and delivered it on a hot Saturday night. The kids stopped by the library to return books on our way to the Kapa Haka Regional Championships where teams were competing for a spot at Nationals. As we sat on the grass with the summer sun beating down, listening to the Maori ceremonial war dance chanting, I realized all that I was experiencing was no longer shocking.
It may take a day, or a month, or at times years, but the shift always occurs when we arrive aware of the shock and yet possess a vulnerability that says we are open to the alignment. What is remarkable is that we don’t shift into alignment because things suddenly feel more like home. The shift happens when we don’t need that familiarity anymore in order to feel safe. That growth is exciting to us because it means we are no longer observers. We are slowly becoming part of the story.
Today’s Tweetable: Cultural shifts happen when we don’t need familiarity in order to feel safe.