Yoga Journal Pose of the Day

Sunday, October 18, 2009

mirror mirror

big dreams

This little guy with the big voice has big ambitions for his country. His message is that hard work is the only solution to get out of poverty, encouraging his people use their God given natural beauty and resources which have been neglected for centuries, to change the face of their beloved motherland.

I don't understand all the words, but the music grabs at my heart, and I can't help listening to this over and over again.

Abet Abet -Kirar

traditional Ethiopian medicines

making solar energy affordable


traditional Amharic music

Saturday, October 17, 2009


selling children

failing aid

In Dambisa Moyo a very interesting person has emerged from Africa with a fresh perspective on why Africa seems to be falling further and further behind. To me, her voice is incredibly important because it points a very accusing finger on the mindset the West seems to have regarding Africa, that in my experience, is way off the mark.

To me, it was very noticeable immediately. When you look around you in Africa, you see incredible beauty, a richness and abundance of nature and natural resources and vibrant, intelligent, creative people. Africa is not, as many people in the West imagine, a desert, as described by the pleas for aid, with starving, ill millions lying around apathetically at death's door.

However, one of the most difficult things to see is the begging culture. It is an attitude that often infuriates Africans themselves. How do we raise our children to become hard-working, responsible, creative citizens of the world if this is the image of themselves they see presented to the world, they ask.

Read Dambisa Moyo's "Dead Aid" and ask yourself if what she says about the failure of our aid policies to Africa is correct. Let us challenge ourselves to look at Africa in a new way. Let us open our minds and look at the ways we have been in the world that have contributed to the poverty in Africa. Have we been satisfied to soothe our conscience by donating to relief projects, when the underlying inequalities are never addressed?

As a woman, I can't help but identify sometimes with the plight of Africa. I understand the attitude implied in the discrepancies in power which impact women all over the world in the same way, and which are also behind the inequalities between the first and third worlds. I feel it often as I encounter powerful men in our culture in their attempts to relate to me as a woman. Their expectations simply do not allow me to be my whole self. And I find it very interesting how the most successful attempts to raise the standards of living in the poorer parts of the world have only been successful where the help has raised the hopes and opportunities for women. That should say a lot.


The day before yesterday, I nervously hied myself off to have an arthroscopic procedure done on my knee. Dr. F. says he cleaned up some arthritic changes in my knee and repaired a torn medial meniscus. I should be able to resume my running in two weeks.

A little knowledge is dangerous thing, as they say. Being a nurse, I know a little about the risks of these procedures, anaesthetics, etc., which didn't help me one bit!

Thank God for the familiar faces of nurses I have worked with over the years, friendly professionals whom I trusted and made me feel so much more at ease!

While the anaesthesiologist was reviewing my medical history, Dr. F. made me smile by interrupting and declaring that I'm very healthy, an athlete who runs marathons!

"Not lately!" I said, acutely feeling the lack of running in my life over the past summer.

Well, this surgery is in the hopes of fixing that problem, getting me back out there. After all, I've spent weeks this summer on my back, laid up with a broken toe as well, with nothing but my books, television and magazines on running for company. Those running magazines were my best inspiration!

In those running magazines, I read about races all over the world that would be challenging and fun. I read about ways to be stronger, faster, healthier.

I started day-dreaming about the next race I want to run as soon as I'm better. I laid out new training-regimen after training-regimen for myself.

As soon as my broken toe had healed enough, I headed out on my first run of a new training schedule...only to be stopped by the old problems in my knee.

Ah well. It's all a journey, isn't it. I have no idea how this will end, but this is my journey. I love running and I hope I'll be out there running soon. I hope I'll get strong again, strong enough to start entering some of those races I've dreamed about. And strong enough to do something in my own way for the Ethiopia that I love.


Do you ever wonder if your life has meaning? Are you here for any larger purpose, beyond the borders of your home, your family, your town, your country?

Does the idea that your life seems to be limited to scrabbling for a living, a rung on the ladder, a little status, some sort of legacy for just your own family, send you like it does me, screaming for the exit?

There has to be more, doesn't there? I mean, the idea that I got an education, entered the world of work and adulthood, merely to go on and reproduce and launch into the world some rather responsible, interesting citizens whose contribution is limited to enriching themselves and their children, frustrates me on way too many levels. I know I hope that my life has been more than that. (Let's be clear, I am very proud of my children, and I know some of my values have rubbed off on them. I am proud to say, I see their caring about the larger world in many ways!)

But I continue to struggle, to hope that in some small way, I have touched lives along the way, made the world a little better. But I want to do so much more. Don't you feel that way?

Don't you find it unacceptable that there is still so much suffering in the world, that the suffering is so unnecessary?

I have no answers. Trust me, I feel just as overwhelmed as you do. But this is what this site has been about from the very beginning, bringing my powers, such as they are, to bear on making the world a little better.

So, today I'm asking you to tell me what you plan to do today to make the world a nicer place. Maybe it's just taking the time to smile at a stranger, to really connect and just say "hello". Maybe you have a project that excites you. I invite you to comment and tell me how you are finding a way to give of yourself, your caring, your time, your commitment to the idea that we are meant to live lives that are just a bit larger than ourselves.

I believe our creativity is exactly that, a way to expand upon what is good, to stretch the boundaries of our lives so that what we are/are becoming, is truly a blessing to the world into which we have been born.