Wanting to wander, hoping to be found

Ganges River in Rishikesh, northern India

How is it that I’ve only been in Hawaii 6 months and I’m daydreaming about being somewhere else?  I love Hawaii and I am happy to be here – there is really no place I’d rather be – but I find myself fantasizing about  being in India or perhaps Indonesia (Camilla!!!).  I suppose it’s a form of escapism, and I don’t have a problem with it, unless it prohibits me from enjoying where I currently reside. Hawaii has so much to offer and I have been very intentional to both enjoy it and be thankful.

One of my favorite quotes is by Tolkien (from Lord of the Rings) and includes the phrase, “Not all who wander are lost”.  I used to have a bumper sticker on my old car in college with the phrase.  Do I resign to being a wanderer?  Or always looking for something else?  I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember.  Working this semester in addition to coursework I’m sure has contributed to the wanderlust.  When my level of responsibility arises, I often feel the urge to take off and be free.  Yet, without stability and some level of obligation, I become Continue reading

Revelations of Revolutions

Since I’ve  moved to Hawaii I’ve purposely avoided reading newspapers or even listening to the news.  I was so inundated with news of the world for so long, most of it bad news, so the break was much-needed.  But I am slowly becoming more interested in what’s going on in the world again.  I am sort of a closet news junkie, but I mostly peruse headlines to see if anything catches my eye.  I’ll lie in bed with my iPhone when I wake up and before I go to bed and read online newspapers.  What a dork.

When the protests in Egypt began, I didn’t have any strong feelings toward it and for the most part was disinterested.  The last few days, I’ve thought more about the significance of the revolution that has occurred there.  Perhaps it is possible for civil society to truly change the status quo.  To even overthrow a dictator of 30  years!  Some of my work had involved “civil society building” activities and in a sense that is what community development encourages.  It always seemed like a development buzz word without much power translating to what was actually on the ground.  Part of my disenchantment with development was seeing how Continue reading

I’m writing in this blog much more than I thought I would

Just taught my second yoga class in an 8-week series.  I feel high on life.  When I teach yoga, I feel so alive.  I don’t really understand it.  What I do understand is I love sharing what I love with others.  There is an energy exchange that occurs that I’m not sure how to articulate but it’s very real.  When I interact with the students and do assists, I feel an unspoken connection.

When teaching tonight, feelings of elation superseded feelings of disappointment and self-consciousness that have overshadowed the previous 2 classes.  This makes me extremely happy.   As a new teacher, I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing and that I’m talking nonsense.  I wonder why anyone would want to go to my class!  But this time for the most part  I was able to accept the awkwardness and embrace the unknown.  So what if I looked stupid or clueless?  And I’m pretty sure this sense of acceptance is directly correlated with feeling great about tonight’s class.

I see parallels in the rest of my life, as yoga has often taught me.  Most days I wake up and wonder what the heck I’m doing or how I’m going to accomplish what is ahead of me.  It is extremely challenging and humbling to be new at pretty much everything.  I wonder sometimes if I was crazy to leave an established career I was good at, a steady income, a community of friends and a sense of “home”.  It took me years to get to that place.  But I’m moving closer to being okay with feeling ridiculous, unintelligent and awkward.  Which is how I feel just about all the time when it comes to being in school again and Continue reading

Picking up the pieces

Walking through the sand, he moved purposely toward an unknown destination.  Timid and excited.  The path behind him had been traveled, the grooves worn into the sand.  For some unknown reason, he turned his head and looked behind him.  He slowly turned around and began to walk back, following his footprints that had been imprinted in the sand.

Along the traversed path, there were bright, shiny beautiful shells he’d never noticed before.  They glimmered in the sunshine.  He picked them up, brushed the sand off and held them close to himself.  How did he not see these before?  They had been there all long.  Oh such beautiful shells!  He continued on, picking up every beautiful shell that had been left behind, unseen.

As the sun begin to sink into the horizon and the sea turned an iridescent golden color, he knew it was time to go back to the present, where he had left off.  He carried the beautiful shells back with him, a knowing smile of joy on his face.

Interpreting “Do-gooder”. What does that even mean?

I dislike the term “do-gooder” which makes me question why it’s part of my blog name and that I’m referring to myself as one.  It sounds pretentious.  Who says I’ve done any good at all?  Perhaps I’ve only mucked things up trying to be good.  Though I also think it’s humorous and fitting.  When I first heard the term years ago, I laughed because my friend was clever, mocking the obvious dysfunction at the non-profit where we worked.  People were assholes and complained about being underpaid and working too hard, often leading to dissatisfaction and stalled productivity.  It defeats the purpose of choosing the non-profit industry in the first place. (Yes, it’s an industry).

In a positive light, I’d say it’s another word for  trying to do charitable-type work or think of others: wanting to make the world a better place. This “world” may be your own home, your neighborhood, community, or literally the world.  It sounds admirable and selfless, and it most definitely is at times, but it isn’t simple.  I have questioned my motives for doing so.  After some reflection over the years I see how choosing do-gooder professions has been very meaningful.

Without going into detail right now, I had to be responsible and take care of others long before I should have.   At this point in my life, I don’t see this type of self sacrifice as noble or even desirable.  It has come at a high cost to my own well-being.  I have tried my hardest to temper the do-gooder in me and let go of what feels like a burden.  Hence, the name of my blog.  I want to be preoccupied purely with pleasure and enjoying myself.

One of the main reasons I came to Hawaii was to get away from the environment I had become so entrenched in.  Working in the field of international relief and development was wonderful and I don’t regret one minute of it, but what was once a insaitable drive and passion became a burden.  In other words I burnt out.  I didn’t want to care anymore about Continue reading