Tag Archives: opportunity

Attitude of Gratitude–I Stopped Counting–What Lies Ahead

poland_map_flag

I landed in Warsaw this morning and I am currently sitting in a cafe at the Central Station waiting for my afternoon train to Gdansk. I will be here for the next two weeks on a 50/50 business-pleasure trip and I am looking forward to discovering all that this country has to offer.

Today I will travel north to Gdansk, a city on the Baltic, and spend Easter with a host family that I met on Couchsurfing.com. They have offered to host me through the holiday and share their traditional celebration with me. There are promises of a massive Easter breakfast, which can be compared to our Thanksgiving feast because of the amount of food. And on Monday apparently everyone throws water on each other…? Like a good dousing. Not sure how I feel about this tradition seeing as it’s cold as ice here, but I’m looking forward to the cultural experience nonetheless.

Right now I’m feeling excited and mildly prepared for what’s to come–which is how I like to travel. I like to have a general game plan, but also to let my journey evolve as I go. I don’t need (or want) to follow a set itinerary. I have always found that they best opportunities reveal themselves in the present moment, and traveling allows me to tap into that flow in a way that I don’t get in my everyday life. Traveling requires flexibility and a sense of humor. It can make me feel vulnerable in many ways, but it’s also thrilling. My senses–visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory–come alive and enhance the emotional charge of the moment.

It’s romantic, really.

I’m grateful today for this opportunity to travel and explore a new country from top to bottom. I’m grateful to the new people I will meet who who will share their culture with me. I am grateful for the ability to learn more about myself as a solo traveler and for the myriad possibilities that lie ahead of me in these next two weeks!

Stay tuned for pictures and more stories.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Attitude of Gratitude–Day 28–Painting Friendships

One of the hardest things about moving to a new place is feeling alone. In the last seven years I’ve moved four times and have had to start my life from scratch each time. But moving somewhere new can be exhilarating for me, because it is like having a blank canvas  in front of me with endless opportunities to paint something beautiful–like friendships.

Painting friendships is not easy. It requires patience and perspective and many different shades of color to capture the the light and the moment just right. The mediums may always be different, but a skilled artist learns over time that laying strokes of colorful moments onto a blank canvas will capture light and time and leave you with something incredible and tangible.

In this sense I am an artist and my studio is filled with canvases. Some of them are masterpieces–framed and displayed and fill me with pride when I look at them. Some of my paintings have faded over time and others that were a messy experiment. Some of my canvases are half-painted, and I have many still that are blank, just waiting for the moment when my brush meets the pallette.

Today was a special day because I came back to an old painting–one that I had left two years ago when I moved away from Morocco. This friendship had potential to turn into a masterpiece, and was left to the side in order to pursue the natural movement of time and space. Meeting up with my friend Ioana today, after two years had passed, was a wonderful reminder of the power of friendship and connection. My canvas, while it was only half covered, still existed, and the colors I had left on it were as vibrant as ever. Sure, my perspective on the painting I’d started two years ago had changed slightly due to natural growth and age, but coming back to this friendship, it felt like it was only yesterday that we hugged goodbye in the Rabat medina on the last day of June, 2013.

I am grateful to have had such a wonderful person come back into my life today, and for the lovely day we got to spend romping around Queens together, reminiscing about Morocco and catching up on each other’s lives since we last said goodbye. I am happy that she is here in the United States and that the painting I started two years ago has the opportunity to become a colorful masterpiece.

Displaying IMG_2232.JPG

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Attitude of Gratitude–Day 15–No Mud, No Lotus

It’s the worst days that make this gratitude practice the best.

You know, the days when you run your story of victimization and self-denigration over and over until you embolden your emotions and convince yourself of their truth? Yeah, those days. Today was that kind of day for me.

For a moment (or two..) I allowed myself to be overcome with frustration, to feel bad for myself and play the victim. A person can do this for a long time…hence the reason there is so much conflict in our world. However, I refuse to let my ego get the best of me by ruining my day with patterns of habitual negativity.

I knew that today, no matter what, I had to find something to be thankful for. I’ve committed to this practice, and so even on the toughest of days, I give thanks.

Today, in the midst of a very frustrating moment at work, I saw some payoff  from my gratitude practice. It was like a little reminder clicked in to tell me that out of the mud, a beautiful lotus could bloom — if I asked it to, of course.

And so this is what happened:

I took a breath.

I acknowledged my anger.

I went for a walk.

I had a quick cry.

And I then I asked what I could be grateful for.

It was then that I saw the support of my friends, my team, my boss. I saw the opportunity for me to practice patience and listening and communication. I saw how I would do things differently in the future. And I saw an opportunity to grow as both a manager and a human being.

So today I am grateful for the benefits of this practice and to be developing a reflex for gratitude. Gratitude always shows me that I am the one in control of my well-being. If I want to change something from negative to positive, all I need to do is accept my present state, honor it, give thanks and see the light.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Attitude of Gratitude–Day 8–Opportunities

I caught the travel bug when I was 15 years old on my first international jaunt to Geneva, Switzerland. The experience was so exhilarating and magical that I vowed to myself I would make it my priority to appreciate the far flung corners of this beautiful earth as much as I possibly could. Since that trip I have managed to touch my feet on the soil of 16 different countries and 4 continents, and have called two of these countries my ” home away from home.”

Traveling provides priceless growth opportunities. Opportunities to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, meet new people, learn a new language, eat different foods and invites time for self-reflection.

When I chose to study International Relations in college it all boiled down to that feeling I felt the first I traveled–the exhilaration, curiosity, confusion, magic. Those who study the workings of the world can attest that the reason is due to a genuine desire to call it our home. We want to make it accessible. We want to break down the barriers of language, culture and geography. We want to impact the world and leave our marks on it.

And so when I would get the question, what do you want to do with your studies? my answer my answer was pretty generic. “I would like to find a job that would allow for me to travel.” (Unless I was talking to my dad..then, of course, it was because I wanted to be some high profile diplomat, yielding immunity to traffic tickets and paying off my student debt…)

Today, as I booked my first international work trip to Poland, I thought to myself, “ya done good, kid!” Not only am I doing a job that is fulfilling my need to learn and grow, but I get to travel too!

So today I am grateful for the feelings of excitement I get when I start to plan a new voyage. I am grateful for the opportunity to travel and explore a new part of the world, to my company, Education First Cultural Care Au Pair, for encouraging it, and I’m grateful for all the roads that lead me to my home.

“May your trails be crooked and dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.” Edward Abbey

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,