CoexistMy wife, Laura, posted this photo on Facebook recently – and for good reason given all the strife lately. Surely there is way for all of us to respect other religions and not be intentionally provocative. That doesn’t solve anything!

The photo brings back fond memories of our first trip to South Africa back in 2003. We had been living in Tanzania for almost 3 years by then and eager for our 3-week self-drive B&B tour of the Western Cape. It as April, which is autumn in RSA and beautiful!

Arriving in Cape Town was, for us, like stepping into Europe. We were staying at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in the Breakwater Lodge – a former jail converted along with this whole beautiful waterfront to a swinging and exciting area for tourists.

Walking around on an early autumn evening we gravitated to shops and cafés and came across this sign printed on a huge white canvas. I couldn’t not capture it on film. It’s brilliant and as timely now as it was back then when South Africa was working through its Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Every time I see it, I am saddened by how poorly we work towards this goal of coexistence. Perhaps we can all take a page from Avvaz’s book – have a look at their latest campaign and ask yourself: Can you live your life and work towards adopting their “Three Principles“?:

Show Kindness and Respect 

We will show kindness and respect towards ourselves and others whenever possible. And it’s always possible, because everyone we meet is fighting a battle we may know nothing about.

Strive for Wisdom

We will seek to be wise in our decisions, listening deeply to ourselves and others, and balancing our heads, hearts and intuitions in a harmony that feels right.

Practice Gratitude

We will regularly reflect on what we’re grateful for, because it brings perspective, dissolves negativity, and grounds us in what’s most important.

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