I have treated this iconic Thursday like any other day for many years now, whilst my family has gathered around various food-laden tables back home. There were some soft attempts at making the odd pumpkin pie and some more organized efforts inviting large groups to my farm cottage for intricate meals, but often I was alone in my understanding of the holiday.
Yesterday, I took part in an organized potluck in the desert Wadi. Driving into the mouth of the valley, I was struck by the winter lighting as it graciously illuminated the ancient forms. Our picnic tables were crammed and teased by the accompanying dogs and smoking campfire.
Thinking about this Thanksgiving, I am struck that this day is not about just appreciating what has happened this past year, but rather it is about finding meaning and gratefulness across the breadth of one’s life. As I turn 33 tomorrow, the realization that our accumulation of years will often account for a growing list of “thanks” is distinct. I offer these questions as a way to guide a personal reflection of gratitude: Continue reading “Guiding Thanksgiving”
As if there was snow wafting in small tears from the sky, my spirit sang as the rain softened Cairo yesterday. The cries of joy from my students paralleled the eagerness with which snow would have been received in Cape Town, if ever it had fallen. I had been warned the rain would be dirty, washing the caked dust off the buildings, the leaves, the birds. But I didn’t care. Even with the pulsating pain eating through my face over this past week, my sinuses acting as a barometer, nothing can compare to the earth letting go after three months of hot, dry air. The rain fell delicately, almost imperceptible except for the sheen glazing the ground. This is one of a few sacred rains anticipated each year.
I sourced another poem from Mahmoud Darwish and I share this as a way to ponder how we are internally governed by landscapes, by weather, by seasons and the ways in which that connects with our time and place as set in ‘reality’: Continue reading “And then there was rain…”
Upon moving to Cairo, I heard “You are so brave,” “I could never do something like that,” and “Why would you move there!?” Regardless of how much fear and anticipation I felt in deciding to leave the familiar, starting over is the scariest part. The more different the place you leave, the more you have to roll up your sleeves. I am happy to report fear is losing its grip and I am feeling more relaxed. Handling “baksheesh” (tipping), hailing a cab, finding my house, going somewhere new, designating my comfort-zone with clothing (how much skin can show), dating, going to the gynecologist, asking for baking soda in the grocery store, managing a flooded apartment, integrating my daily rituals, repairing my bicycle. Continue reading “Fear: Part I”