Sala Kakuhle!

It’s 6:56am PST. I’m sitting in the home of a dear friend in Seattle.  There are quite a few of items on my yet to be created to do list and I’m feeling fine.  I mean, I was feeling totally fine until I typed that sentence.  For the most part, however, I’m neutral.  Yes, I’m about to travel with a group of students to a country I’ve never been and where I barely speak the languages.  That will be stressful at times, but right now, it’s not happening, so why be stressed?

Leaving my students on Friday was sad because I’ve grown to care for them already.  There are a few that I hope change drastically, and the rest I know will change drastically.  At their core, they’re sweet and caring young people and I’m proud to be on this journey with them.  I just hope I can take care of myself in the midst of taking care of them.

Well, this is it. Le Maroc here I come!

Hunger

I’m worried because the two things I need right now do not match; I need sleep and I need to write.

Today I was denied the ability to eat due to a lesson for those more privileged than I.  Hunger is not a lesson I need. I’ve been hungry and unloved and most things in between. I’ve had to make do with flour and cheese for weeks. Gone for runs in graveyards to distract myself from the pain of maternal silence and the noise of need.

Hunger is all too familiar. Hunger is an emotion that triggers me.

Now that I’ve inadequately met one of my needs I’m going to try to more adequately address the other.  Two days until Morocco…

Facilitation

It is important for me to remark that this exhaustion is not one as a result of negative leanings, but one of lying supine after beneficial toil… after engaging in conversations so powerful they have their own area code that doesn’t include numbers but heart and emotion and all of the things that leave people raw.  They’re located in that part of state that’s difficult to access, but worth the endeavor and scary to embrace.

I worked with a group of educators today and was amazed.  Though I set myself on the path to do one thing the day turned into another.  Why am I still surprised that student centered learning will derail what you set out to do in the best ways? I was taught today. I’m working for myself and knew that I would learn, but today, I Learned with a capital “l”.  I want to, and frankly must, remember that I should never position myself as the teacher. It is more powerful to facilitate than to teach.  Yes, there are moments with instruction must take place, but instruction is necessary in facilitation as well. There’s so much I have to learn and I’m going to enjoy cutting it up into bite sized pieces and chewing it slowly.

This is the work I want to do– engaging in conversations around marginalization and the outdoors. This is it — well, not “it” but it is a piece. Thank for those who welcome the work associated with justice.  We are a powerful collective. I’m privileged to be a participant in this endeavor.

 

Passport

I’m packing my belongings in a room in Chicago that smells of overpowering cat urine.  Staring at treetops over plant starts growing on the windowsill and wondering how my life will be different one month from now.  I’ll have been in Morocco for quite sometime and all of this may seem so small.  That’s what happens when I travel. My life in The States becomes much smaller.

My passport is in front of me and I just flipped through the pages with all the stamps from visas. There’s Republic of India, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Tanzania, Kenya, Jamaica, Republica Ferderativa Do Brasil, and Vietnam. Some stamps, some stickers, most old, a few relatively recent. I have traveled. Though I was labeled student when the majority of those visas were I assigned I still feel as such though currently traveling as teacher.

A friend of mine just returned from burying his mother in the traditional Islamic way — they handed him his mother’s coffinless body wrapped in a cloth and he helped lay her six feet below the surface in an Arizona desert facing east.  It broke him in many important ways and in some unimportant ones too. But during our conversation at midnight as he smoked and drank beer I could tell her death repaired him as well.  I cried last night thinking of my grandmother how, like he, I missed her death because I was too far away. And, like he, felt the pull to relocate to be closer to the remaining loved one.

Life happens like this; in bits and pieces never all at once.  We are changed by our momentary involvements but life is never changed by us. Too old for influence it bowls us over or passes us by, but doesn’t stop to check for a pulse.  I was changed by my travels. I was changed by the death of my grandmothers. I am changed by everything that happens to me.  There is something peaceful in that realization.  I am changed by everything. I wonder, how will I be different tomorrow.

 

Solemnity

IMG_2131I am feeling exceptionally solemn today. That tends to happen after magnificent days and so I’ll take this one in stride.  Had a client meeting that went well and spent the day doing for others in a way that frustrates me.  I’ve been having problems with a friend as of late and their name no longer brings me the solace it did in the past. I used to think that this person would be in my life for the rest of it and that brought me peace. How does one, though, maintain oneself in the presence of another broken in unflattering pieces?

This woman I loved and — perhaps still do — is so different she’s unrecognizable in spirit and in action.  I find myself reverting to childhood behaviors in her presence because I desperately want to make her happy. I want to do that which pleases her and when those actions go unnoticed I become unrecognizable to myself.  I look for her approval in body composition, in the meeting of our eyes, in the acceptance of the gifts of my actions and yet receive nary a sign.  We are different she and I and it is difficult to accept that. It is difficult to remember that I spent much of my life pleasing others and it is foreign to me to try and please myself.

That is the notion that’s eluded me thus far. My recent question of, “Why has this time originally dedicated to my grandfather and his final steps transformed me into this journeywoman as I stand now?” is beginning to make sense.  The suffocation that drove me to Chicago is driving me still.  I am suffocated by a life of codependency and need to wipe it out. Free my neck from the grasp of bruised hands other than my own.  I am the one that makes my steps though they may be guided by another a Creator of souls.  I am the one who determines the quality of my life. I choose.  My steps may be ordered, but it is I who do the stepping.

If the rest of my life does not include those from my past I will be changed. Not better or worse, just different in the way I’m supposed to be.