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By August 4, 2011December 9th, 2014Claudia's Corner

My blogs are usually personal, reflecting some troubling aspect of a life lesson that I am attempting to get a handle on.

Many times I have said that there is no unique human experience and many readers have commented that they felt I was reading their minds when I wrote about what I was grappling with. But I was wrong about that.
More specifically, I should have said there is no unique human emotion. We all experience anger, sadness, love, fear…we may or may not share an experience that creates that emotion in us.
I remember being in a department store with my three year-old daughter. I was buying a lipstick or something and when I turned around, Kelsey was not in sight. Nowhere. I called her name. No response. She had been right beside me, but I couldn’t find her. I started to feel a rising panic as I made small but every widening circles from the make-up counter in search of her. This went on for several minutes – maybe only seconds in reality – as I began to imagine the worst: my child had been taken. I began to get physically ill, praying that she was safe, trying to decide if now was the moment I called store security. And then, there she was, right in front of me, as though she had been there all the time.
I can tell you what that sick fear feels like. I share that emotion with the mother who has had a child taken from a playground or her front yard. Our human experience was not the same, but our initial gut reaction was exactly the same…disbelief, terror, a sickness in the pit of the stomach that cannot be described in words.
There is no unique human emotion. The experiences that create these emotions are what create “our story” as Byron Katie calls our life. The experience is the landscape of our life and that terrain varies from individual to individual. The visceral reaction is the underpinning that connects us in our humanity, just as the earth’s crust has a structural foundation upon which mountains, valleys, prairie lands, and the seas rest.
I was lucky. My child was safe, unharmed, probably not even aware of what had happened in that store those few moments. Do I know what the other mother went through as hours grew into days or weeks? Well, not exactly, and yet we are sisters.