Thursday, September 15, 2016

taking time to stop & smell the roses

Now that the jetlag has worn off and my belly is full of hummus, I can share with you what has happened thus far.
I have been journaling more than ever, feeling so connected to my words and myself. Floating through each day, allowing what is meant to happen to happen. I feel myself drifting instead of going against the current. Allowing this trip to happen instead of forcing what I want to see or do. I came with the expectation of growth and that was it. I truly didn’t expect to feel this revitalized. 
When traveling your daily routine is destroyed and instead you must allow yourself to adapt to those around you and how they live. Because isn’t traveling all about learning of other cultures and seeing how people live through their eyes.
I could have never fathomed this trip would clear my mind so much. I have made it back to the capital of Lebanon after traveling for the past week to my dad’s village by the sea, then to my mom’s village up in the mountains. Wi-Fi is limited in the villages; which allows people to connect with each other instead of being submerged in the social media world.  We truly do not realize the amount of time we spend stuck looking on our phones and focusing on other people’s lives. Life is happening all around us and we need to look around and experience it.  
Water and I have always been connected. I find myself reborn in certain bodies of water, emerging from them feeling brand new. The Mediterranean Sea crystal clear in color when you submerge into it and multiple shades of turquoise when you view upon the horizon has always been one of my favorite bodies of water. Etched into the sand on the bottom are designs created by the waves and currents, as if the sea was creating art for the fish. I swam past the buoys and all the other beach inhabitants. I wanted to be out in the open water alone. I looked back at the shore and viewed the beautiful old city of Sour in its luster under the sunshine.
Floating effortlessly from the mass amounts of salt, I let my body become one with the water. Releasing my legs, arms, and neck and allowing my entire body to just float. I felt a wave of calm come over me knowing that I am exactly where I am meant to be. I felt safe as the sea cradled me, swaying me side to side. Squinting up at the sun with salt stinging my eyes, I could not feel the pain or the exhaustion from paddling so far out into the open water. I felt a sense that I was experiencing exactly what I was meant to experience.
Emerging myself not only in salt water but also into the Lebanese culture and the past of both of my parents. I went to my mother’s village up in the mountains with her cousins and her aunts. I learned of the lady my mother was as a girl growing up and how different she was from the rest. It gave me confirmation to know I am her daughter through and through.  Her family lit up when they saw me and embraced me. The glisten in their eyes was for my mother, they see me as a younger version of her.
There are people you are meant to meet. Regardless of any language barrier you are meant to connect with. A universal language exists that goes beyond language obstacles. It includes emotions based on love and care. It includes laughs and smiles and finding mutual interests.
An unspoken universal language that allows people from two different countries to understand each other entirely just with an eye gaze and a connection. So regardless if people I meet speak my language, if there is a connection beyond words we will be able to communicate.
Whenever I travel I try to always look up at the stars from wherever I am in the world. Looking up at the same galaxy of stars from different continents to be reminded we are all under the same universal sky. The shine of the stars and the glow of the moon can be seen from wherever you are.
You just have to take the time to look up and see the moon radiating and all the sparkles in the dark night sky.
We never take the time to stop and smell the flowers. Since being here, I stop to gaze at the array of flowers and to appreciate the beauty this country has to offer. I walk in the gardens to see the trees and the magnitude of fruit they produce, the herbs that take over all empty spaces of land and how the land produces meals and snacks. In car rides I look out at the landscapes we drive by. The views change from banana crops, to seaside and to cityscape.  
In life you need to take time to stop and admire what is around you. Take a breath in and realize how incredible the world is around us.
Even if you are not traveling, appreciate the little things.
Take the time to look up at the night sky. Appreciate how the moon glistens to the earth every evening.
Take the time to swim out into the open water and become one with the water as you float a top squinting up at the sunshine.
Take the time to appreciate the people around you.
Just take time to breath in the world around you in the present moment.
We have a tendency to take it for granted because we are studying our phones and living through social media photos.

Take the time to disconnect and to smell the roses.