I frequently tell groups that the true value of face reading is being able to see every person we meet without initially stereotyping them.Traveling in countries with completely different cultures brings this fact home in a way words cannot express. All of my pre-conceived notions about what Viet Nam or Cambodia were like evaporated as soon as I saw the faces of the people who live there.
Even the most complete documentary about some other place in the world is not at all like the first hand experience. What I came to realize is what makes a place unique is not the temples or monuments left behind, but rather the incredible stories of the people who have lived there and who are living there today.
The wonderful thing about face reading is that it is not only a universal language but it is also timeless. Cambodian history sites Alabamian VII (1092) as the greatest king of the Khmer Empire. He defeated the invaders who had taken over his country. He built temples that were as majestic and ornate as anything in Egypt and larger than the island of Manhattan. He built resting places for travellers and established hundreds of hospitals and turned his expansive empire into one of the greatest in the ancient world.
However, all the information in the museums about this incredible man did not compare with seeing his face preserved in stone. His powerful jaw, strong chin, and warrior cheeks explained his ability to unite his country and defeat their enemies. His broad nose and large low ears gave proof of his concern and compassion for his subjects. And finally, his thick even eyebrows and high forehead gave insights into the intelligence that built the lasting legacy of his empire.
I have never gone anywhere in the world without gaining a deeper appreciation for the beauty in the faces of the people that I met. Every face tells a story, and the stories written on the faces of people from exotic cultures are fascinating. Of course, their life challenges and struggle to survive are clearly marked. The most lasting impression is not how different they are but rather how much we are alike.
It is difficult to really see or understand our own culture while we are imbedded in it. Seeing ourselves through the eyes of others gives us a chance to have a more objective self perception. Sometimes we cannot really see ourselves until we get far enough away from our own culture to have a new perspective. Reading faces gives a new perspective even about the people who are the closest to us.
Perhaps that is where it all begins -- with our families.
Taking a few minutes to try to read the faces of those you live with and celebrate the holidays with can be a surprising and rewarding experience. Feeling seen, understood and accepted, especially in this holiday season, can be a tonic that lifts the spirits and rekindles the family bonds. Taking the time to do this would foster greater patience and acceptance of those people whom we think we already know.
Our collective prayer might be for World Peace and perhaps the best way to reach that goal is through individual efforts to make peace with those we live and work with. May the ending of 2010 and the dawning of 2011 be filled with peace, joy and love for you and yours.