May 17, 2012 by
Categories: Emotions

It is far too easy to live in isolation. To forget the rest of the world. To forget that we are one person among billions of people. I was reminded of this the other night while watching a program on PBS about nomadic herders living in the high grasslands of Tibet.

What captivated my attention was that I found myself identifying with some of the same issues that this nomadic couple was struggling with. Don’t get me wrong…I am well aware of the differences that exist between my lifestyle here in Kentucky and their lifestyle in Tibet.

Yama, Locho’s wife, awakes before dawn every morning to milk the yaks. She then turns the yak milk into butter and cheese that will feed the family throughout the year. Locho awakes every morning to herd the yaks and then makes his way into town to buy needed supplies for his family. In the middle of all of this, Yama and Locho tend to their five-month-old daughter.

My life, on the outside does not resemble their life in any way. However, as I was sitting and watching this program the similarities began to emerge.

One morning Yama awakes and looks outside of her family’s tent to see that her brother-in-law and sister who live across the pasture have already milked their yaks and released them to graze. She instantly shares her observation with Locho and criticizes herself and her husband for being lazy that morning and sleeping in. She makes a comparison. She feels inadequate because she has judged her work ethic/worthiness on the basis of someone else. We all can most certainly relate.

Somewhere in the middle of the documentary, Yama is asked by the cameraman if she and Locho will have more children. Her mood changes instantly and the smile vanishes from her face. Yama explains that she has lost two babies to illness before the birth of their daughter. To further complicate things, Yama explains that Locho had an affair during their first year of marriage that resulted in the birth of a child. The child resulting from the affair counts toward the government quota of three children, meaning that she and Locho are only permitted to have one more child. The pain and betrayal that Yama is experiencing as she recounts this story are heavy in the air. Yama was betrayed by the man she loves. An experience that some of us have gone through and one that we all fear.

So no…I do not live a nomadic lifestyle in the high grasslands of Tibet but I do know but what it feels like to compare myself to others and I do know what it is like to experience betrayal. I also know what it feels like to forgive like Yama has and what it feels like to experience many of the other emotions expressed by Yama in the documentary.

It is so easy to forget that we do not live in isolation. We are surrounded by billions of people experiencing the emotions that we are dealing with. For me, that is a comforting realization. For my clients, I also think that it is a comforting realization. We are not alone. We are not flawed for experiencing whatever emotion it is that we are experiencing. Sometimes it takes a documentary/therapy session/friendly conversation, etc. to be reminded of this.


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2 Thoughts About Common

  • Fatimah
    May 17, 2012 at 9:00 pm Reply

    You are so very right. Thank you for sharing. I think about this a lot when I connect with a song really well. It reminds me that someone else has had a similar feeling.. enough to write and sing about it!

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