I am

EditedI have always been around. At the beginning you accepted me without question. You felt me in the pearly laughter that bubbled from your soul when you discovered something new. You felt me in the boldness of your curiosity. You saw me in the loving eyes of others; warm and oozing like golden honey dripping from the comb.

But you lost sight of me. It happened so slowly that you never noticed. Like a bud feeling the coolness of the night air, you closed your leaves one by one.

I sent you many signs that I was still around; with loud cries and subtle hints. But it wasn’t time for you to notice me. Your eyes were always focused ahead, waiting for that moment where I would show myself and give you what you dreamed of.

For I am…the dull throb pulsating at the back of your head, knocking at your door urging you to open.

I am the gurgles, the flips, the flops, the butterflies fluttering inside your stomach.

I am the hunger that eats at you from the inside, gnawing and biting.

I am the tingling on your skin, your scalp, the vibrations constantly changing, but always there.

I am the smoothness of the dirt nestled beneath your bare feet.

I am the twists, jerks, pulls and rhythmic vibrations your body makes when you hear the beat of the drum.

I am the uplifting sounds that elevate you into another space.

I am the salty drops that drench your face when you feel pain.

I am the heaviness that rests on your shoulders.

I am the space between spaces.

Sometimes you feel me, embracing me like a knitted woolly cardigan hugs a shivering body. We nestle against one another, as you recognise the familiarity.

One day your confusion will pass…and we will merge back into one, when you will see that I cannot happen to you.

For I am…you.

 

 

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Goodbyes

I really hate goodbyes. And depending on who I am saying goodbye to, I can get very emotional. I try so hard not to cry. I use tactics such as avoiding eye contact, use an abrupt, short tone and cut off conversations. I want to escape to my safe place as soon as possible. Basically, someone may consider me quite rude. But that is not my intention. I just want it to be over and done with.

After watching me say goodbye to a loved one, a comment was made by a friend: Why are you crying? Why does saying goodbye make you so upset?

I was taken aback. Because I love them. And I am going to miss them. I don’t want them to leave.

You’ll see them again?

But what if I don’t? I was confused.

If you saw me cry while I was saying goodbye to my family, would you think it weird?

I thought to myself. Of course I would find it weird, because you see them quite often, every couple of months or so. And I’ve never seen you get very emotional, and by emotional I mean crying…so heck yeah, it would be very bizarre!

Yes, it would be weird.

So then, don’t you think it an extreme response?

I thought about it some more, trying to answer the question. Why do I get so emotional? Admittedly I do not cry if I am saying goodbye to my cousin, or a close friend who lives in Melbourne, or a few hours away. It might be 3 months until our next catch up, but I know I am going to see them again soon. There are some friends that I haven’t seen for over a year. A year is a long time. Yes I miss them, and think about them, but I know we will meet again, so when I say goodbye to them after a gathering, I do not cry over it.

However, I still find the goodbye process awkward. I hate how it can drag on. I have a friend who spends an hour saying goodbye to people. Getting into long conversations with each person as she says goodbye. It is what I love about her and contributes to her ‘specialness’. Goodbyes don’t make her feel uncomfortable, and I know everyone appreciates the individual attention she gives them. But to me, the thought of it is painful!

Why so painful? Well when my friend asked me, I didn’t know where it stemmed from. I never thought it to be ‘weird’ or ‘extreme.’ It was just ‘normal.’ It could be a result of my family’s Croatian and Macedonian heritage. They are known to be passionate, emotional people. I’ve seen my aunty, cousins and siblings cry when saying goodbye. Yet my friend’s question did jolt me: is it just because I am sensitive or is there a deep-seated cause?

As I was peeling back the layers in this piece, realisation hit me like a slap in the face: saying goodbye have been dramatic experiences for me. I still view them through this lense. All of a sudden, someone near and dear to me ‘disappeared.’ No explanation given. It was what it was. They just weren’t there. And I don’t mean ‘The Sopranos’ style.’ For one reason or another, a conflict was not resolved. So as a kid, it was difficult to find out why and no way of contacting them. Now as an adult, they may be contactable, but for one reason or another, you are on different paths…paths, which do not cross for many, many years. And you never know if they will again.

I used to cry every time I said goodbye to my Uncle because I never knew when I would see him. I felt close to him and loved spending time with him and his family. Then there would be a period of 2-3 years where I did not see him. We didn’t have computers back then so no way of seeing what he was up to, or contacting him via email or Skype. Unfortunately I couldn’t just pick up the phone and call him. I may see him a couple of times for a few months, then nothing. This happened as long as I can remember. One time when I was about 12 he turned up at our house out of the blue. I saw his car coming up the driveway and screamed with excitement. I ran jumping into his arms. Crying tears of joy, but also tears of sadness because I knew I had to value every second with him. Time would go so quick.

So here I was again, saying goodbye to him at the depot in Nakuru, homeward bound after spending a month together. Of course I cried. Not only because I will miss him, but for all the years we missed together, for all the years missed with other family members and dear friends. I cried for the last month we shared. He got to know me as an adult. He found out what I’ve been up to, what I was like as a teenager, about high-school, university, my views on love, life, hopes, dreams and fears. And I learned about his projects; his hopes, fears, passions and the love he has for humanity. I cried, releasing years of stored emotions. I knew that this time it would be different.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESHe watched me get on the bus with tears in his eyes. It’s not goodbye, but see you soon! I smiled holding onto this thought.

So to my friend who asked me why I react with tears, I hope this answers your question. However I do hope my perspective has shifted positively through this musing.

And to my friends; when I ‘phantom’ from a party or gathering, or you see me having difficulty when saying goodbye, just know that I value your time, friendship and love. Saying goodbye is never easy.

And to my loved ones who I haven’t seen for a long time. You know who you are. I will always be here, thinking of you and loving you. I hope our paths meet again.

I cry because I feel…and to feel is to be alive.

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Dear Mom in the Waiting Room.

A beautiful read…

Dear Mom in the Waiting Room,

I didn’t see you at first. What I noticed as we walked in was a young, laughing girl spinning around with a stuffed animal at the end of her outstretched arms. She had that kind of pure laugh that made me smile just hearing it.

We were there for an ultrasound. Not a major procedure, but my son had major stress. My son is autistic, and has a boatload of medical trauma from his years in an orphanage. Add those together, and hospitals don’t end up high on our list. My son didn’t even notice the spinning, laughing girl.

I sat my nervous son down on the couch, gave him his iPad, and went to fill up his water bottle. (“Have him drink lots of water for an hour, and don’t let him pee,” they told us.  Yeah, okay. We had peed 4 times since the parking garage.)

The waiting room…

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8 Blind Assumptions We Are Taught To Believe (Pt. 1)

Inspiralight

How much of our daily interaction is based on blind assumptions passed down to us from yesterdays story? How many times have you consciously questioned your own fundamentals? How often do you consciously pave a new path of personal discovery to re-write your own understanding of the cultural operating system? If there’s anything I’ve uncovered by personally questioning the envelope it’s that many of yesterdays assumptions we’ve been taught to exchange our lives for are outdated, inappropriate and unsustainable for today and tomorrow’s future.

The longer we live without questioning the fundamentals, the bigger the bubble gets and the greater the long term consequences. So as a way of addressing the elephant in the room I’m going to open discussion around 8 blind assumptions we are taught to believe that I think are holding many of us back. You’ve no doubt noticed a lot more and I’d love to know what you’ve noticed.

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Sacred Space in Time

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It was a Monday afternoon. I was heading back to Nakuru, Kenya, East Africa. Locals were either still working or making their way home. As we got closer to Nakuru, I saw more and more people resting by the side of the road. Some appeared fast asleep as others watched the cars whizz by.

One guy was lying under a tree with a sack next to him. Hat over his head, legs in a relaxed comfortable position and arms folded across his chest. I thought to myself, He looks so comfortable. But it’s four thirty in the afternoon; doesn’t he have somewhere to be? Isn’t someone expecting him, or even relying on him to get home with that sack? How can he be so relaxed by the roadside? It is going to be dark soon.

My immediate thought processes finished and I suddenly realised that I was projecting my own time schedules, ‘shoulds’ and expectations onto this person. I began to question my own questions! Why does he HAVE to be somewhere? What if no one is expecting him? What if it doesn’t matter when he arrives, as long as he arrives home safely? Why shouldn’t he be able to relax, despite how close or how far he may be from his home? He will have to travel the distance, so why does he have to do it straight away? Why am I thinking this? Is it because I can’t relax when I have things to do? Why can’t I just rest, enjoy the moment and not feel guilty?

The Kenyans have no schedules. There is no bus timetable. People wait by the side of the road or highway waiting for one to turn up. They sit and wait. There’s no hurry. The Kenyans have their own concept of time. It is referred to as ‘Kenyan time,’ which is anytime within a day. But never early. Things get done, but there appears to be no anxiety or stress attached. I was amazed to see the relaxed attitudes of the Kenyans in relation to work, duties or appointments.

It got me thinking about the phrases I constantly hear back home: running out of time, no time to socialise, no down-time, no personal time, just too busy. We use calendars, diaries and schedules as tools to organise events. Life gets hectic. Technology has enabled us to be connected with others and the global community more than ever before. But are we disconnecting from ourselves? When do we switch off from our busy schedules? When do we just relax and do nothing? No cooking, no work, no emails, no Facebook, no Instagram, no instant messengers and just enjoy the day, or even the moment – Without feeling guilty.

Ever since my first job at the age of fourteen my working life has been dictated by time. When I worked at an Insolvency firm, we charged clients in 6-minute increments. So I had to keep track of what I was doing every 6 minutes and record the client’s name on my my timesheet. This was checked and signed by my manager, which was then reviewed by my boss. Upon reflection, I was so focused on recording my time that I did not completely focus on the task at hand. Multi-tasking is meant to be a skill right?

As a teacher, I feel like my mind is invaded and governed by time: seconds, minutes, hours, sessions, blocks, first half/second half yard duty, warm ups, introductions, lessons, reflections, weeks, terms, meeting schedules. I am constantly keeping an eye on the time, calculating how much, how little, not enough. Before you know it, another year has passed.

Last year my personal work goal was to pay attention more during meetings. I had become aware that my thoughts were consumed with my ‘To Do List.’ I was worried about running out of time. I was barely present on tasks whether it be checking emails, planning lessons or talking to colleagues and students. It frustrated me that time dictated my world. Or was it my perception of time as the dictator that frustrated me?

I am first to admit that I can get very caught up in all the things I feel I SHOULD be doing. The perfectionism comes out in me, and I cannot relax until my ‘jobs’ are done! But by the time they are ‘done,’ there are more. I have noticed that when I focus more on what I am doing, rather than on the time disappearing, ‘spare’ time appears. Time is always the same, it is constant, but it is my perception that changes. The more present I am, the more relaxed I feel and the more I get done. It’s as if time itself decides to slow down. But I know this is not the case. I have created more space, and this space presents itself as more time.

I grew up in a Christian family. Saturday was our day of rest, which we called the Sabbath. The cooking for Sabbath was done the day before, as was the cleaning and all the jobs. Sabbath was spent going to church in the morning, then family time in the afternoon. Oh how I loved Saturdays! We (my parents, siblings, aunties uncles, grandparents, cousins) would go to the gardens for a picnic. We would share our lunch and our time together. Some Saturdays we would go to the river, go for walks in the bush or eat and sleep. It was my favourite day of the week.

I recently read an article by Pico Iyer, ‘Why We Need to Slow Down Our Lives.’ In the article Iyer talks about a secular Sabbath, where people switch off from technology and create space to just be, doing nothing, going nowhere. He writes, Many…at Google headquarters observe an “Internet Sabbath” every week, during which they turn off most of their devices from, say, Friday night to Monday morning, if only to regather the sense of proportion and direction they’ll need for when they go back online.”

Iyer continues, “This is what the principle of the Sabbath enshrines. It is, as Abraham Joshua Heschel, the great Jewish theologian of the last century, had it, “a cathedral in time rather than in space”; the one day a week we take off becomes a vast empty space through which we can wander, without agenda…Of course, for a religious person, it’s also very much about community and ritual and refreshing one’s relationship with God and ages past. But even for the rest of us, it’s like a retreat house that ensures we’ll have something bright and purposeful to carry back into the other six days.” (Iyer: 2014)

I love this idea. A pause in time. Whether it is a few minutes, an hour or a full day. It reminded me of how much enjoyment I had with my family on Sabbath. There were no distractions. Just us!

And just him; the guy sleeping by the roadside with his sack. Maybe he also sets aside his own personal ‘Sabbath’ – that empty space – his personal time to switch off from the hustle and bustle and chaos of life.

Do you have a day that you keep sacred, a space created just for yourself and/or your family, where you switch off from the world? How do you deal with time? Love to hear your views and thoughts about this.

 ‘“Some keep the Sabbath going to Church—” Emily Dickinson wrote. “I keep it, staying at Home.”’ (Iyer: 2014)

 

 

Reference: The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere by Pico Iyer

http://ideas.ted.com/why-we-need-a-secular-sabbath/

 

 

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This is Amos…

IMG_3486This is Amos. Amos wants to learn how to read and write. He wants to learn how to speak English. He wants to learn to get a job to support himself and his family. He came to see Uncle Ivan to ask him for this opportunity. He had heard about the Mission in Action (MIA) school through the children of the woman he is living with.

This is Amos. Amos wants to learn how to read and write. He wants to learn how to speak English. He wants to learn to get a job to support himself and his family. He came to see Uncle Ivan to ask him for this opportunity. He had heard about the Mission in Action (MIA) school through the children of the woman he is living with.

Amos missed out on this opportunity as his family is very poor. There are nine people in his family. He does not know his father and his mother does not work. When a woman is married off in the villages, they do not inherit anything from their father. They are not entitled to anything. Amos came to Nakuru, Kenya to work for a man who needed help with his cows. When the original employee returned to his job, Amos moved in with a family. There are five children in the family. The father works and lives in Uganda, while the mother works in a hotel as a waitress. Two of the older children are at university, and the three left at home (one of which is a cousin) go to MIA school. Amos helps by tending the cows early in the morning. During the day he helps at the hotel, washing dishes, and does other odd jobs. In return he has a bed to sleep on and food to eat.

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Amos has been working with me one on one for the last week or so. He is starting from the beginning. He is working twice as hard, learning to read, while also learning the meaning of the words, as he cannot speak English. It is getting easier to communicate. We have fun trying to communicate by using sign language, drawing pictures, pointing to things, the internet, using Google translate (which does not work all the time) and when I am desperate finding a Kenyan staff member. He is a very capable student, and has picked it up very quickly. Each night he completes homework I set, and promptly returns each morning holding his folder of books I bought him. He always returns anything I lend for use at home. The other day I showed him a map of the world. You should have seen his face. He was in awe! He was amazed to see the shape of Africa, as he had never seen a map before. He traced the continent with his finger, as we read out the countries.

For Amos to go to school, it will cost $100 AU a month, which includes schooling, uniform, shoes, books, stationary and food. He will have to start in Grade 1, which he is committed in doing even though the older kids will most likely tease him.

I am looking for a group of people to sponsor him on a probation period of three months. I have two people who are interested, and I was imagining if we had a group of four or five this might be more affordable and viable for people to commit to. If you are interested, please contact me direct via email at rebekahhusk@gmail.com, or privately message me via Facebook.

Please watch his video, which I have uploaded on Facebook.

Thank you for reading.

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank

 

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Amos had never seen an orange like this before. The oranges around here look like lemons. He was learning about an orange orange, which made him laugh!

 

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Lightness

In the midst of chaos and confusion, there was calm and clarity

A glimmer shining steadfast, never wavering, always there,

Surrounded by space and silence.

It’s light penetrating the uncomfortableness

With every breath inhaled lightness,

Allowing space to take place,

Embracing all that is,

And giving it freedom to be.

Accepting and releasing,

Never holding,

Letting go.

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