“The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being YOU: they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.”
~ Wade Davis
Today, I’ve humbled and energized by a group of wonderful clients for whom I delivered one of my workshops. I hate calling them “clients”, but that’s the word we use as service providers. For me, these 15 people were human beings, each one with dreams, hopes, challenges and memories unique to them.
Together, we shaped the strengths immigrants share: hopeful, risk-takers, multilingual, multitaskers, culturally and diversity aware, hard-working, extremely skilled, humble, RESILIENT…most of them are struggling every day, sending money to their families back home, looking for decent jobs or working at jobs nobody else wants. Still, they have time to share and laugh…
I have been working with immigrants for many years now, but I had a special connection with today’s group. It was a rough day: my computer (and laptop) had crashed and I had to scramble to make the workshop happen. I was also stressed because learning about Permaculture has pushed my head (and dreams and life/mission statement) further away and I was a bit scared that my focus was somewhere else. Mondays are usually bad days for my English too: so much Spanish over the weekend! But they made it happen, and they left happy and energized, expressing gratitude for what I “taught” them…they taught me more about resilience in one day that what I can read from 100 books on the subject.
I am also grateful and humbled for the dedicated and caring team, both at the agency where I work and at the Red Cross, where I’m part of a training and curriculum development committee.
Sometimes we are too busy to notice and appreciate the people we have around. They responded right away, I couldn’t have made it without their support. My team and my “clients” keep me going in this strangely unsustainable life, in which there is still so much to do, even when many times lately I feel disconnected and dreaming about edible gardens and smaller communities…I would have left long time ago, if I didn’t have days like today. I tend to be a bit whimsy and never do what I don’t want or like. This is, in a way, good: people who know me deeply know that if I stay with them or with a cause is because I care. I’m very bad at faking.
“I will follow my instincts, and be myself for good or ill.”
― John Muir
And with my RC team, I just love them! I love going there, working there and seeing the faces of dedicated, truly good of heart people who don’t ask for anything in return. Working with them is a continuous reminder of how blessed I am for being part of their team: people who leave their comfortable lives to show their support being deployed to disaster zones, people who work extra hours to make a training happen, to deliver help, to answer the phone in the middle of the night and help another human being in need. People who leave their “priorities” aside (or have the right order of priorities) and step up to help without judgement.
“There is a light in this world, a healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometimes lose sight of this force when there is suffering, too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.”
~ Mother Teresa
Finally, I had the opportunity to meet (not in real life yet) a wonderful spirit, a person who has dedicated his life to learn and teach Permaculture to people from all backgrounds and ages. This made me re-think what my own life/mission statement is and how I plan to use what is left for me to live in this world. How I choose my battles and how and with whom I spend the time that has been given to me.
“May you live every day of your life.”
~ Jonathan Swift