Christa Dowling - Cultural Communication Advisor

Borders are in our heads – Christa Dowling

Not too long ago, I had just arrived from abroad and wanted to share some time with Christa Dowling. We were sitting in a Café overlooking the Hudson River; it was a cold but sunny day. The air was crystal clear and the waves were bobbing up and down in the chilly wind. We were comfortable inside.

Christa had just remarked “borders are in our head.”

I asked her “what do you mean? “

“You travel much and see the world. In many ways we create our own reality yet it seems through our advanced technology we are forced to reach out to the world all the time, saying we have hundreds of friends, yet if we are fortunate we might have five or six.”

Christa Dowling - Cultural Communication Advisor

“Yes, but this does not answer my question.”

“No it does not; I am just setting the stage. Defining my answer I would need to go a bit further. Making friends takes time, effort and thoughtfulness. Yet, all the people I have ever been lucky enough to meet have much in common. Let us start with respect for one another; it matters not what nationality, creed or religion. The other important part is education and the curiosity to learn. Life is learning about all these great gifts … gifts we were born with.”

“You mean to say life is a patchwork…like a quilt.”

“Yes, indeed it is how we weave this patchwork of experience into a whole picture. As life demands we need to be authentic, true to oneself…to make sense of reality.”

“What has influenced you to have come to this insight?”

“Oh, I do not mean to sound pretentious, just contemplative. One was the encouragement by my parents…to learn…to know what you know…no one can take it away. I have also been fortunate to have been exposed to some great learned people. My assignments as a writer or editor-in-chief has given me the chance to experience many parts of the world. These assignments in Germany, Italy , Africa, Israel , Egypt or Brazil have always mirrored this feeling of ‘there are no borders’.”

“How do you see these experiences today?’

“In ways these many experiences have also helped to formulate a work ethics which I am talking about today. My purpose is building bridges for a better understanding between people…in art and commerce. For example it takes funding to present music or art, in any form. The thought is that art, in dance, in music enriches people’s lives. Music has a language of its own …and no borders. “

“Tolerance would be part of this thinking?”

“Yes, very much so. It comes with the territory! I remember being in Gambia, West Africa…and was watching people drumming their drums in a musical discord to my ears. Small ones and very large ones…and all of a sudden their drumming rhythm fell into a harmonious sound. It was as if the language they used…from different parts of the African continent… had one sound of joy and finding ways to speak in a common language of music. The language of human need for love, shelter. It was very moving.”

“Now …I feel to understand your remark, your contemplation. Thank you for sharing it.”

 

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