I’m grateful for what you’ve done—and I’m ungrateful for what you haven’t done. A cup half full of coffee is also half full of sleep-
A little over 8 years ago, I traveled and worked in the Middle East and Southwest Asia for two years. I was miserable, unhappy, and I spent a vast amount of time alone, worrying about what the future had in store for me.
Travelling around Afghanistan and parts of western Pakistan had a profound effect on me. I befriended a local man on the Pakistan border named Ajiphan, we were close in age and shared many similarities in life. I feel in love with his country. However, Ajiphans life was a daily struggle of survival for him and his family – Will there be enough food and water to make it through the day, shelter at night and fuel to warm themselves during the harsh winter months.
When I returned home to Nebraska, I felt as though I had a completely new perspective on life. I felt incredibly lucky to live in a part of the world where life is easy, where even the poorest folks seemed wealthy when viewed from my perspective. After witnessing many beautiful people struggling with the basics of life, I felt incredibly lucky to be healthy, a roof over our heads and not having to worry about what will be for dinner. Looking back now I remember saying to myself when I arrived home, “‘My days of complaining about trivial things in life are over … ”
Of course it didn’t last. My appreciative frame of mind lingered for a few weeks, then slowly I began to take my situation for granted, and returned to the same state of unhappiness and dissatisfaction as before. Instead of “waking up” to the reality of the our phenomenal world and of life’s situations? Bitching and moaning (for me) was easier.
My Son and I watched Big Trouble in Little China over the weekend, a favorite movie of mine and Ajiphans. We watched this movie no fewer than a dozen times on my computer, which was powered by a generator. Sitting in a warm shelter, snacking on naan-e afghani, while enjoying a cup of black tea. I genuinely miss his companionship, and everything he taught me about this “thing” called life. Be well my friend, I miss you.
If you claim to be a real friend then be real in your soul. If you claim to be fake then be an enemy instead-
I was in my early 30’s when we first met. This particular marathon was in a beautiful and exotic part of war-torn Baghdad, Iraq. I did not like it from the start and it only got worse from there …
I nuzzled my way onto the starting line cocky, arrogant, and self-centered. I couldn’t stand the thought of having to run through the pack, outlasting the early sprinters and generally weaving through the pedestrians. Much to my dismay, I faded back 10 miles into this scorching hot race. This was just another marathon, but I was the same person.
And there I was at the next big race in Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The same person I was a year earlier followed me to this race as well …
It finally dawned on me, blonde hair and all, that it was I, who needed to change or else I would be my own worst enemy for the rest of my life. As I began to walk the path of meaningful change in my life, I came to realize my poor marathon performances were a metaphor for the way my life works. I can cast blame and run away from poor performances, although they will keep returning until I finally face them, and owe up to them.
Over the past three years of blogging. I tried at times, and failed more often than I like, to share with you, thinking out-loud, why these particular traits of me bother me so much.
Once I set out to change myself all those years ago, I started to notice that the “old” me doesn’t come around as much anymore. When these feelings do arise out of nowhere? I tap deeper into my inner compassion and gratitude … Noticing that in some ways, I have been trying to help myself all along, I was just to cocky, arrogant, and self-centered to notice.