WONDER

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January 12. The Ultimate Blog Challenge

I overdid the skiing today, going twice around the golf course. I was aiming to increase my endurance. I know I cannot get any faster. I know I am a tortoise. I felt pretty good after my second round. No sweat! I thought even though I was quite sweaty. I was counting on relaxing and stretching in our mobility class at the gym shortly after. I didn’t count on our instructor changing things around. The mobility class was yesterday. Today’s was on upper body which was not stretching or relaxing.

I am physically tired but I am relaxed after a long soak with epsom salt. My brain is too relaxed and a bit mushy. I am not sharp or focused. I caught an interesting podcast whilst soaking on Tapestry. In this episode Karen Armstrong talks about the value of wonder in a despairing world. Give it a listen if you have time. It is very interesting. It made me think about this morning on the ski trail. I love snapping photos. I want to capture the magic to hold and look at again. It is impossible, of course, but I still try.

It was very foggy today. The grey of the sky was so soft and velvety and the trees with the hoar frost…I was gazing at it all. Then a woman glided by. Her jacket was a peacock blue, so bright and luminous. So beautiful. I tried to capture the wonder of it. She glided away faster than I can dig my camera out of my ski pants. I resigned myself to watch the wonder and beauty of the moment. It did occur to me that I might be just a wonder, too, in my tangerine red ski jacket. I felt awe by the wonder of it.

There are many wonders around us and in our lives that can give our spirits a boost. Sometimes all we need to do is to stop, sit, listen, watch and remember. I’m thinking back again to March of 2011 and my memories of time in Ghana. I’m remembering some of the wonders of that time.

Last Week March 31, 2011

I’m on a countdown of my days in Ghana.  In exactly one week I will be winging my way back home.  Before I came, someone asked me if I have been in a Third World country before.  I guess they were worried about how I will fare.  Or maybe it was because they were surprised on their first trip here and wanted me to be prepared.  And since I’ve been here, people have asked how do I like Ghana.  Does anything about it resonate with me?  Hard questions to answer.  Well, not hard to answer on a superficial level.  As a tourist it is easy to say that I love my stay here.  I can hear the ocean from my bed and the breezes are warm and soothing.  Everything is new to me….my physical surroundings, the people, the politics, the colours…..everything.

On a much more personal level, I am unable to tell what it is that I feel about Ghana.  I have not been homesick the time I’ve been away.  I have not missed my suspended life….the cold or snow.  I have not missed my work.  You can say that I am really away. I do miss my family and my Sheba.  At times, I would really like to have free running clean water from the faucet….water that I can drink and to brush and rinse my teeth with in abundance!  And I wouldn’t mind having hot water to shower or shampoo my hair with.  So, I’m learning to really appreciate what a valuable resource water is.  And I would be able to have that most of the time, had I been staying in an upscale hotel instead of an eco-lodge.  I’m not feeling that this has been a hardship or a deprivation.  It has been an experience.  I have a very privileged life back home.  And I can have a very privileged life here if I choose.  The question, of course, is do I wish such?  I have always enjoy hard work and being an independent woman.

One week left!  Impossible to know if I will miss Africa till I leave it and see..….

AWE AND NOTHING

April 30th, last day of the month and last day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I have mostly shown up. I missed a couple of days. I believe in commitment but I’m not as rigid as I was. All or nothing is not good. Prioritizing and showing up when I can is good enough. That is my favourite phrase, good enough. I’m not sloughing off. Really, I’m not. I like being flexible and secure enough not to feel I’ve failed if I miss a day or two. Boundaries and moderation are good practices.

Keeping track of goals is as tough as my mail and finances. I must have a built-in radar system. I do most things by hook and crook. Often I can’t find anything but I haven’t encountered any disasters and my finances are in pretty good shape. That’s probably due to my Chinese-ness. We’re good with money. We know how to spot a bargain. And I am cheap. I don’t really want to classify all my fellow Chinese as cheap. I might end up standing by myself in a corner.

After a month of mutterings I’ve come to the conclusion that I am a square peg. I’m trying too hard to fit into a round hole. I could give up the effort and look for a square one. It would make more sense. I cannot make myself into what I am not. I’m going to give it all up and relax into the nothing, the not doing. I’m tired of  being a gerbil on the wheel to nowhere. Instead, I could focus on the awe of the sunrise, sunset, the moment, the breath.  You know the drill. I can mutter a new song. I can look at the hole rather than the dough in the doughnut.