I’m not sure what to do with this blog. It has morphed many times as I have in the past few years that I have maintained it. It was a space of expression that I used to enjoy and maintain daily for a couple of years. It was a place that was an outpouring of my inner thoughts that I shared with no one, and when they were here they were shared with everyone. But then it became a place of activities, events, campaigns and anger. Nothing wrong with that… but it went away from the personal to the distant. Today, when i write it is deeply personal and vulnerable and I dont want to expose that. So I write and the writings get buried away in an electronic archive.

 

But I think back at a time when I did expose my self and I did make my self vulnerable, and it was OK. What has changed? Am I censoring myself? I feel I censor myself for others and because of them. I know when I was in Lebanon, that that was why I stopped writing altogether.  I am no longer in that place or space, yet I still cant bring myself to say the things I want to say. Censorship, self censorship is a scary thing.  

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With everything that is going on around us it is hard for me to stick to my resolution of writing positively. There is so much anger around us. Justified anger, and with it has come violence in a lot of instances.

 

Today in Jordan demonstrations of Anger were reportedly peaceful. To me that is a big and pleasant surprise. Reports of olive branches being given to security forces by demonstrators put a big smile on my face and reminded me of images of flowers in the muzzles of guns in anti war demonstrations. I am happy to see the voices of the people rise. I am happy to see them assemble and march. But I wonder how much change will be affected by this? It is no secret that the marches would not be possible without a security clearance and the government’s approval. So we were “allowed” this freedom of speech today. We were “given” the space and “permission” to march, to chant and to express ourselves about inflation, prices and economy.  I wonder if it would be the same had the issues being protested different.

 

Last night whilst talking with a bunch of friends we said Tunisia is burning, and quickly others replied with and so is Egypt, and Sudan is disintegrating, Lebanon has no government, Jordan is angry and the list is growing. There is a lot of dissatisfaction all around, and with it has come dissidence. The winds of change are here. They are raging storms in some countries and gentle breezes in others. But the wind is gaining speed. You can hear it in people’s conversations and rhetoric and it is about time.

 

 

 

My heart is heavy, my mind is clouded. I don’t know where I am going only where I’ve been. I am in a dark strange place with few candles lighting the way. Unsure when I used to be so confident. I know not what I want. I think of the past that cannot be regained, the present that is so prickly and a future that is so uncertain. There are things I know in my heart that I won’t let my mind know and things in my mind that my heart won’t hear.  Yet there is a voice deep down in my soul that is always carrying me through my darkness and in my darkest of hours it always tries to calm me. It shouts “it will be OK”. It is faint and sometimes the wind carries it strong and loud to drown out the noise in my head and heart and other times it just fades. But that voice is always there. It never stops and for that I am grateful. Even when I can’t hear it inside me this message manifests itself when it is least expected in a gesture, a laugh, a hug, a memory, a hope, a smile and I know It will be OK. To those manifestations (and there were many this weekend) I say thank you!

I am a strong believer in energies. The energy of places and people. And I strongly believe that when you move, when you meet people, when you let someone in or someone out that there is a shift. I have experienced this many times and in different ways with different people and places.

Some places drain me, hold me back restrain me. I can think of an apartment I stayed in. It had dead air with no breeze coming through no matter how many windows you opened. The people in it were thorny and unhappy. Whenever I stayed with them all doors were closed, nothing worked, nothing was right with the world. The minute I moved to another space, an open space, which housed a lot of love and some animals it was a seismic shift and things just fell into place. The people in the first apartment are no long a part of my life. The people in the second one were keepers
I can think of the times I worked in offices with no windows, I didn’t last long. The jobs were no good, my productivity was terrible. It was lifeless. I can think of restaurants and cafes in which I feel comfortable and stay for hours and others where I just want to leave.

Sometimes I go out with friends and they drain me so much that I actually ask for others to join so that I am not exhausted within 30 minutes and they can deflect some of that energy. Other times I go out with a person and feel so exhilarated and energized by just being around them. And there are others that make me prickle and be on edge by just being in the same room. At first I didn’t understand any of this. I still don’t to a large extent. But I do recognize these things and learn to respect them and respond to them.

But its not just about space and the people around us. It’s about us too. It’s about affirming our needs and wants and going after them. Sometimes I am very good about that and sometimes I just get stuck. And when I am agitated and upset I don’t like anyone touching me. I don’t want to pass it on. I want to find ways to let it out into the world or as someone I was talking with last weekend, channel it to and from the universe.

But how do you channel this universal energy?  I don’t know.

What I do know though is I need to listen to my body and respect its needs and try to meet them. Lots of times I feel the need to sit on the floor, to ground myself and I do for 5, 10, 30 minutes and I feel so much better. Sometimes I need to dance, others I need to swim, and yet others I just need to lie flat on a bed. Sometimes I feel the need to touch others and hug them or give them massages (no this is not an invitationJ ). But whatever the body wants I try to give it. I am also trying to learn yoga and meditation to help quiet the anxiety of my thoughts and dispel agitation within. But I have also learned to let myself get angry, get sad, cry because that too is a need.

But whatever you do and however you dispel or channel energy I truly believe the world, no the universe, conspires in ways that affirm you with many signs and people that come your way and somehow reaffirms what is inside you and what needs to be done. You just have to be able to see, recognize and let these all in.

I never realized just how demanding looking after a baby can be. This past few months have been very educational for me as I have learned to truly appreciate what it takes to look after a baby. It has been a privilege for me to spend time with baby H and be entrusted with her care.

I met Baby H months ago when she was still hanging out in mama’s belly (see Meeting Melon), and so I have gotten to know this baby since she was swimming her way into the world. Watching her grow, cry, feed, and now laugh and smile has been a wonderful journey. Babysitting baby H taught me that time means nothing, truly nothing when there is a baby around. You get so absorbed in the baby’s needs that when you do look up hours had gone by and you really aren’t interested in rushing to make up that lost time.

I also learned that when you are taking care of the baby then you are taking care of the baby. You cannot multi-task in any way … not even a phone call! Babies are in constant need of attention: you feed them, and that includes preparing the baby meal, you then burp them, they poo or pee and their diaper will soon after need changing- otherwise baby will get cranky, and after all that they take a nap. And when they wake up you play with them for a bit before you have to do it all over again. Baby H was no exception. All of this needed my full attention and so nothing else could happen.

If this is what it takes to look after a baby, then raising a child is no easy feat. It is not something one person can do alone. After this experience I truly do not understand how single parents do it. I have a new found respect for anyone raising a child single handedly. It’s hard enough looking after oneself let alone having a tiny baby or a helpless child dependent on you to fulfill its needs.

Babies and children are a lifelong commitment. You commit your time, your energy, your money, your thoughts, but most importantly your love. Seeing how baby H is cared for is a great insight to how bringing children in to the world should be. She is a loved and wanted child and will grow up with those privileges and many more. Yet as wonderful as being with baby H was, I still am sure that I am not cut out to be a mama… not for little ones at least. And unless something drastic changes in my life I stand by my choices not to wed or have babies. I am just not cut out for those kinds of commitment.

So if you read the Elastic List you will know that one of the things I want to do is to learn to ride a bike. Yesterday I took the first step to making that happen, I took my first bike ride. YAY! It was at the sports city, two friends came with me for moral support only to be told I don’t do well in front of audiences, so off they went on their bikes and I stayed behind with my instructor.

I learned what I had to do to peddle off and after getting my feet off the ground, I was very quick to put them back down. And so 20 minutes into this I was still learning how to take off. It was frustrating because just when I thought I had it, I would lose my balance. But after a while and with the help of the trainer I was able to ride, for a couple of minutes, but I was able to ride. Oh what fun it was.

An hour later I was kind of riding, still learning to balance and how to break, still not getting the start right, but you know what ,I was on a bike and trying. I was making my dream come true. I was on a bike! It was fun, and frustrating, it was scary and exhilarating, it was funny and fun. But I proved to myself I can do this and I will. So hopefully and soon I will write about driving a bike down the streets of Amman and then you will know I did it. I would have crossed out the learning to bike again off my list and will start something new after that.

I don’t drive. I took the lessons and learned very early on this was something I would not enjoy. So I never even went to get my driver’s license. This translates into 15 years of being a taxi rider in Amman; and guess what, I really enjoy being a taxi rider.

 

Contrary to popular belief, not all taxi drivers are dangerous drivers, out to cheat you or are plain rude, sleazy or are asses. In fact I have had more pleasant rides than not in my humble 15 years of riding the yellow chariots. I’ve had wonderful taxi drivers who look after their cabs, keep them clean and tidy and even smelling fresh and nice. I’ve had taxi drivers who were quiet and serene. Others that were funny and full of optimism and life. The religious, the rockers, the young and the old, the fast and the slow… you name it and I’ve probably dealt with it. Sometimes I even get the same cab driver by coincidence, and we both remember each other. It’s always amusing.

 

But away from who is driving the cab, I enjoy being driven. I am a control freak, I like to be in charge and in control of most things in my life. But here is a situation where someone else can be in charge. And when that happens I am free to do other things. Back in the day when I would freelance, I was always on the go and so cabs were my offices, always on the phone, or reading some document or other. When I had a toastmaster’s speech and I was heading to a meeting I would tell the cabbie I have a lecture and start practicing out load. Other times I catch up on my sms and phone calls while en-route between places. And if I have nothing else to do I read. I have done some of my best reading in cabs. I even have my morning cab ritual which involves daydreaming and waking up to my thoughts and sending good morning, good energy messages to friends.

 

People always tell me I should get a car since I am all over the place. I disagree, and reply why drive when you can be driven? But I also know that I would be a dangerous driver because I have conditioned myself to being a passenger all my life and for 15 years I have focused on me and my world instead of the road and what is happening on the street. So to my wonderful drivers I say thank you.