By Deb Matlock

As a child, I was utterly obsessed with rainbows.  They formed the décor of my bedroom, my clothing choices, and even my Halloween costume in Sixth grade.  Indeed, I loved rainbows so darn much, I wanted to be one.  As I child, I went by the name Debbie instead of Deb and would often write the six letters of my name in the six rainbow colors – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple.

rainbow colors on stones

Seeing a rainbow in the sky was a true treasure.  Whenever it would rain and the sun would remain, I would be outdoors looking in all directions, certain I would find those beautiful wisps of color tracing through the sky.  Removing even one of those colors would make the rainbow incomplete.  It would change the entire beautiful experience.

rainbow ending in forest

One of my greatest joys in life is being a part of such a diverse and intricate web of beings.  Flowers of all colors, plants of all shapes, rivers that twist and turn in all directions…each unique in their own way. Trees delight with their numerous shapes of leaves, and rocks are a marvel as no two rocks are ever the same.  Snowflakes as well…each a precious one-of-a-kind miracle.  Removing any of this astounding diversity leaves a hole, a missing color of the rainbow.

Similarly, cultural, and racial diversity enrich this world and allow us all the joy of looking for our commonalities and celebrating our differences. Each contribution of every person, race, or culture forms a part of the larger whole and informs and influences each of us.

four linked hands with different skin tones

I recently took a walk around the lake at my local neighborhood park.  It is just over a mile around the lake.  I took my time and walked for about one hour.  During this walk, I focused on diversity…diversity of plants, animals, and people.  I wanted to really see who was here and what they were doing whether they were human or another member of my community.  Below is my list of what I observed in one small hour, in one small place on this amazing and vast planet.

3 languages (English, French, Spanish)
5 skin colors
1 large community gathering

1 small birthday party
People fishing
People biking
People walking their dogs (Eight different dog breeds or mixes)

Family picnic

Children playing on the playground
One person taking photos of the lake

One person painting a landscape

Several people playing frisbee
5 bird songs
8 different kinds of birds
1 turtle
1 snake
Countless plants

Diversity is the heartbeat of life. It is what makes the world go around. Nature shows this to us daily and we are a part of nature’s diversity. Much of the diversity I just mentioned is only surface level…only detectable by what we can see and hear. Diversity is like an iceberg.  Much is below the surface kept there to be revealed only in certain circumstances and certain company.

Some of our deepest and most sacred stories also live beneath the surface.  And, some of these stories can truly help us see the beauty in ourselves and those around us.  Some of these stories hold the key to our sense of sacred connection with each other.  Stories hold the wisdom our world needs right now.

I wish for you all a one-hour diversity journey wherever you may be. Who lives near you (human and non-human) and what are they doing?  And, most importantly, what do you have in common with them?  What might their stories beneath the surface have to say?

We are woven together and held there by diversity.  We must learn from each other, respect our differences, and strive to live well in the intricate web of life of which we are all part.  This is my wish for the world.

woman with brightly colored rainbow face paint

Deb Matlock grew up in the mountains of Colorado and is deeply committed to nurturing the connection between people, animals, earth, and spirit.  She has spent twenty-five years working as a professional environmental and humane educator and naturalist.  Additionally, Deb offers shamanic-style spiritual guidance, animal communication, nature connection workshops, and retreats through her business, Wild Rhythms.  She is passionate about helping people find connection and deep spiritual meaning in their lives and in the places where they live.  Deb holds a Master of Arts in Environmental Education from Prescott College and is pursuing her doctoral degree in environmental studies at Antioch University New England. 

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