coffee cup before two men talking

It was a cool, spring night and I was sitting alone in a café when a man sat down beside me. At first I judged him; he seemed restless and I felt that my space had been a bit impinged upon, but soon I let those feelings pass and I introduced myself. We began to converse, and over the course of the evening, I came to find that I was sitting next to someone very famous: quietly famous as I had to pry his life story from him sentence by sentence. First, this man was a foreigner, a stranger, and yet, as we engaged, he became a friend.

The Greeks thought strangers could be gods or goddesses in disguise.

Traditionally, the Greeks were always kind and respectful to strangers, because if the stranger turned out to be a god, they could be eternally blessed by that god or goddess. Xenos​ refers to the variety of what a particular individual can be, specifically guest, host, stranger, friend, and foreigner. And, any one of them could be, in turn, a god.

This ambiguity, this reciprocity allows one to be both: guest and host, foreigner and friend. When we look within, we can treat all parts of the self in this same manner. We can welcome those hidden aspects, make friends with our murderous qualities, and remain open to our personal evolution and transformation.

My new friend and I have since shared a meal with family, and we have made some future plans to listen to music at his club. Had I not been able to move beyond my judgments and become a good host welcoming him as a guest, I would never have met this God, A God of Rock and Roll. 

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About The Author

Tim Dukes's picture

Tim Dukes, Ph.D. develops leaders and communications across fields ranging from executives and business owners to entrepreneurs and artists. His communications model and workshops, built on presence and mindfulness, foster open environments based on trust and candor. Tim’s clients emerge as socially conscious, culturally sustainable, and strategically focused innovators.​

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