I’m feeling a somewhat pensive today . . . it’s my friend Kathy’s birthday. She lives in Cincinnati and I live in New Zealand and this time last year I was able to celebrate with her. I missed a whole month of winter and spent the time in the company of some of the best friends I have ever had. Another of my friends turned 60 earlier in the year so some of us met up in Chicago to celebrate.
We all met working at the same international school in Bangkok, all of a similar age, all on our own, all looking for adventure. We travelled together in small groups thither and yon, soaking up the sights and cultures of the world, delighting in the food and doing our best to support village economies by buying local art and craft.
Several of us lived in the same building – it was a 12-story hotel of serviced apartments. We had a lounge and restaurant downstairs, room service, and small shop, pool, gym and best of all, a housemaid who came in once a week and did the cleaning, changed our bed linen and made sure everything was in order. Imagine that, no housework for almost 6 years!
There was a mall 10 minutes walk away where there was a variety of restaurants, 4 floors of shops, picture theatres, a supermarket – every material thing we could possibly want. Best of all was a team of well-trained masseuse who for a ridiculously small fee would give the most bliss-inducing foot-massage you can possibly imagine.
All of that and joys international travel and of living in Bangkok! Did we know how fortunate we were? Did we truly appreciate our relative wealth? Absolutely! There is not one of us who doesn’t appreciate that our privileged position is merely an accident of birth, a blessing so enormous . . . and yet often undervalued by so many.
If you are reading this, you too have a position of privilege – you have a computer, electricity, running water, a flushing toilet, you can read! If it’s winter you’ll be warm tonight and go to bed with a full stomach. You probably have access to health services, a car, and think little of it – you may think of it as your right.
Maybe you complain about maintaining what you have, a lack of money, how expensive everything is becoming, and have a whole raft of minor complaints about your weight or whatever. Just remember, if you have friends, you are privileged and you have choices – most of what you have and do is by choice.
Evaluate your life according to the criteria in this short 6-minute YouTube clip by Zig Ziglar – Evaluate Your Life. I’m extremely content . . . are you? I hope so.
Some people have the courage to be vulnerable while for others, they have to be brought to their knees first.
At the Voodoo Cafe earlier this week, Ricë Freeman-Zachery interviewed Jill Berry. During the interview, Jill had some words of wisdom about the value of allowing yourself to be vulnerable – you learn that way.
Also this week, friend posted this link to Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability on Facebook – sorry, I don’t have the facility on this free version of WordPress to embed a video.
If you have ever suffered from self doubt or that inner critic, I urge you to watch – it’s 20:20 minutes long, wise and witty. When you’ve watched please come back and leave a comment – let me know what resonates with you. There was a bit 12:50 in that shook me – as well as many other a-ha moments.
Love and courage.
Do you refer to half-finished projects as being on the back burner? I’ve been thinking about this saying recently, one reason being that I’m going back to work full-time in a demanding but satisfying job so I will need to put aside some of the creative ventures that take up my time and ideas I have for the near future.
I visited a glass factory in Yangon Myanmar where rejects were put out under the trees – definitely on the back-burner! Eventually everything would be recycled. The place sparkled in the sunshine and looked for all the world like an Aladdin’s cave full of treasure.
My friends and I were invited to look for anything we might want – it was like a treasure hunt. I bought a large, wonderfully lop-sided, bowl and a number of small paper weights.
When things are laid aside, it’s not necessarily the end for them. Partially finished projects, plans or ideas can be refined, redesigned and invested with new life – they’ll wait for you.
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door – Milton Berle
Sometimes doors are opened for you however the doors I’ve opened for myself are the ones where I have gained the most out of what was on the other side. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to travel quite a bit and I often took photos of doors and windows, sometimes it was because I could glimpse something through them but often not -I was always fascinated by ancient doors and windows. Who had been through them, looked out of them? What were their hopes and dreams?