Hello Bloggers! For those of you who remember me, I am finally back after a 13 month blogging pause. I apologize for my leave of absence from the blogging world. The reason why I have not written in awhile will unfold with this post, so hang with me and see what is on my mind.
For curiosity’s sake, here is an update about where I have been for the past year. I am still a student at Colorado State University and I have now changed my major a total of SEVEN times. I couldn’t pick one so I found something that would let me study everything- Liberal Arts! Along with the switch to Liberal Arts I also added minors in International Development and Anthropology. I had a bit of an impulsive travel decision at the end of last semester so I took off to the south of Spain to study at the University of Granada and travel around Europe. On this trip I have been to Italy, Greece, France, Morocco, and all over Spain. At this moment I am back in Granada, sitting in a little café surrounded by books, drinking my cafe con leche.
I want to take you back to a post I wrote a few months ago. If you have not already read my post, <a href=”https://twohandscreatechange.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/its-random-act-of-kindness-day-participate/”>“It’s Random Act of Kindness Day, Participate?”“>”It’s Random Act of Kindness Day, Participate?” I encourage you to do so. For those of you who do not have time to read the whole post, here is an excerpt that recaps the highlight of the story.
“Yesterday I was driving across a busy bridge that crosses a highway and river in my hometown. My car was nearly to the end of the bridge and I was about to enter a large and busy intersection. Something to my left caught my eye and I looked over to see a blind man feeling his way slowly onto the bridge and into oncoming traffic. I looked around to assess the potential harm in the situation. Without any more thought, I stopped my car in the middle [lane] of the bridge, turned on my warning lights, got out of the car, ran into the oncoming traffic and approached the man.” -It’s Random Act of Kindness Day, Participate? Annie Freyschlag
In the rest of the post I continue to describe how I walked the man off the bridge and helped him find where he was going. This experience was very emotionally eye-opening for me after the adrenaline from running into oncoming traffic wore off. Ultimately, this is a happy memory for me because I know that in the moment I acted the right way, it was what I did in the moments following the incident that I look back on with regret. After I watched the man walk away in my rear-view mirror, I immediately reached for my phone and dialed all of my friends and family to vividly paint the picture of this experience for them. It was as if I needed everyone to know how proud I was that I had helped. I know in those moments I was not looking for recognition, but is that how I could have come across to the people on the other end of the phone? I think a lot of us who work in the development and humanitarian fields struggle with this idea. This seemingly morally superior aspect is something that I never hoped to embody, but it seems that aspects have pulled their way into my existence.
Then I got to thinking, isn’t that what this entire blog is about- acting with kindness, then telling others about it (bear with me as I deconstruct and hopefully reconstruct my entire existence…). My current theory, developed after months of internal anguish is that this life is about finding balance, in many things but particularly related to volunteer and aid work; finding balance between working for ourselves and working completely for others. I have made a lot of changes in my life in the last 13 months because I had a revelation that before I can advocate for changing the world, I need to make sure I am the best person I can be. After doing a bit of research, it turns out that other people have also come to the same conclusion, which eased my mind a little bit. A monk in 1100AD wrote about his conception of this realization.
“When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.”
It took me a long time to put this transformation into concrete thoughts, you guys should see my draft box on WordPress, I must have six or seven attempts at starting a new blog post. For the past year I could not bring myself to write to my blogging friends explaining the ways I was changing the world when I needed to first change many things about myself. But I came full circle in this thought process when I realized that I love blogging and reading what my friends are doing to help other people in the world. This community, especially those of you who write about inspiration and volunteer work, you are little candles in the souls of all of your readers, you are rays of sunshine keeping our flames alive. So here I am, sitting in a Café in Andalusia, the south of Spain, asking you to continue sharing with me your acts of love and kindness.
Here are a list of things that I am currently working to learn about on a daily basis;
Learning multiple languages
Sharing and learning about culture
I hope to continue writing as I learn more about how I am changing my life. More updates to come! If anyone has had a similar struggle or similar thoughts please feel to share them with me, help normalize my crazy a little bit =).
Pictures: Paris, Córdoba Mezquita, Spain, Paseo de los Tristes, Granada, Spain.