A Lifetime in Eight Seconds

Breathe.  

Pray.

Please let me make it through these next eight seconds.  

…just one more time.  

0.0″

Pure silence, then the vacuum of space explodes.

The rustic crack of the gate breathes fire into the beast below.

Stillness in the air is replaced by a typhoon.

With a jolt, my life begins again.

1.0″

Taunt but forgiving, I lay back as my world rockets forward and just as quick plunges off a cliff.

Amped up, fear begins its transition into a rush of adrenalin.

I revel in the high… “do not lose focus” I repeat to myself.

 

This trickling wave of confidence brings panic as well, “f  o  c  u  s”

2.0″

The whiplash spin shoots me to the left before I get blindsided by a gyration to the right.

Contradictory twists: the head floats one way, the hips another…

My spine begins to cry, impossibly trying to center itself.  Trying to center life.

Within this chaos, I feel at home.

3.0″ 

I rise, and for a moment I feel like a little kid being tossed in the air by my parents…

A smile breaks on my face ~ although buoyancy with a bull is never a good thing.

A coppery, metallic taste fills my head as I wonder, “am I flying, or am I dreaming?”

4.0″

The growing expanse of space between the bull and I no longer matters.

Even apart, I feel connected.

We share the fear and anger; our will to survive.

 

My hand and arm is a coil of steel, pulsating life throughout my body.  I will not give in nor will he.

All of time melds into the present. “I have no past, I have no future.” I love this beast I am riding; our moment to define freedom and strength, while bound by our fate.

5.0″

“F o c u s ” ~ My mind cuts back to previous failures, too many to count ~ matched by my broken bones.

Each failure preparing me for the next ride…each ride more expensive than the last.

Life is a game of inches, of missed opportunities, but this time I shall not lose…

6.0″

In a split second, my mind shifts to the crowd and just as quickly my point of balance ceases to exists.

 

Forces pull at me from every direction.  Gravity becomes a myth.

 

Chaos erupts and my mind chases to catch the moment.  My grip tightens further ~ a negligible pop in my wrist brings a searing pain and snaps my attention.

 

All falls quiet.  I listen…

7.0″

“…the sound of the wind, this violent wind is sweetened by the distant roar of a crowd.”

My arm is on fire, holding onto a knot of fury ~ hand clenched with a vow never to surrender.

“We are still one my friend, I’m not going anywhere…”  My heart explodes as I dance along the razor’s edge of survival.

8.0″ 

The howl of my voice matches the cadence of my heart.

My grip unravels.  I slide back and meet a timely swing of the bull’s hip, escorting me free into the air.

 

Embraced by the sweet calm of the night, dust fills my lungs as I hit and roll off to the side.  Hand cramping, wrist afire, I scan the crowd with hungry eyes of hope.

 

To see her smile, her eyes, her accepting me as the cowboy I am, but there is no one. Emptiness.

There are no words to match this pain.

~ DQ ~

She too becomes a myth.  This dream of a perfect ride.

Breathe.  

Pray.

Please let me make it through to the next rodeo.

…just one more time.  

Time is Fleeting, Never Stop

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Unfamiliar territory, the uncertainty paralyzes. A surge of panic fills my head and heart, only to be soothed by the perfect amber of a freshly poured Czech beer.

“Here I go again…”

Lost.

Around me is a language I do not understand. Spreadsheets in front of me I cannot comprehend. A feeling of being exactly where I should be. I relax, surprised by the comfort of the chaos.

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The color refreshes a memory when I was lost in the more familiar surroundings of the Skokomish Wilderness.

The sky still black, I anticipate the amber sunrise when we summit…rather if we summit, as of right now, I have no idea where we are.

“Shit…” I mutter to myself, louder than I had wanted, waiting only seconds before the echo returns with her reply. “Oh my God, I can’t believe it. You are lost again aren’t you?”

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I ignore the question, wishing it away, but the echo continues, “Why did I agree to go on this climb?” She lets out an exasperated sigh, hidden within, a tint of laughter.

Unpredictability in life is the one thing I’ve found to be a constant.

A sharp blow of her hiking pole on my butt is her protest to my stifled laughter, “It’s not funny…” she declares and we continue up the mountain.

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“Why is it so difficult to stay on the path laid out in front of me?” I wonder and reach for my beer. Standing in the middle of uncertainty, again where every step I take leads me away from where I expect to be.

Would I want it any other way? Perhaps on some days…

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Uncertainty has become a friend of mine. Things change around me quickly and if I do not flow and evolve along with it, I’ll suffocate. Be miserable.

It is cliché, but there is truth in Maya Angelou’s quote, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” Without change, we rob ourselves of beauty. We rot.

“Remaining at status quo stagnates the soul,” I think to myself, and kicking back with my beer I wonder if that’s such a bad thing?

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Yes, change can suck.

Albert Einstein once said, “Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.”

Ah yes, is there anything more destructive than unfulfilled expectations? I suppose this is the catalyst for change, to get lost in the world and explore ~ anything to avoid the poison of expectations.

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The chaos of setting out on a new path, getting lost, is part of the process. From the moment we are born, adventure turns fear into wisdom, sparking curiosity to discover.

I think back to standing on the precipice between mountain and sky… the abyss speaking to me, and I glance towards my beer, her amber words ringing clear as I empty my mug, “balance, my friend…there’s a time for adventure and a time to reflect on adventure.” I nod to the waitress for another.

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The echo breaks the stillness of the dark while my headlamp scans the trees and boulders ahead.

“Why, again, are we doing this?”

The only words I can think of are 时间不多,从不停 ~ Time is fleeting, never stop.”

Eight characters a friend of mine, Eric Moen, shared with me last year. Words to provide added incentive to spark change when comfort begins to lead to stagnation.

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Those eight characters take me back when I stood along Hood Canal admiring a pre-dawn sky, sparking a childhood dream to climb Mt. Ellinor and watch this land come alive with the sunrise. Yet, in all these years never taking the time to do so. Why?

“Why?” I add to my reply back to the echo, “To see magic. This is why we are here.”

“And… just exactly where is here?!?”

I begin to answer and then begin to question why I invited her. “A very good question…” and continue ahead to what I hope will become an opening.  

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There is nothing quite like the childlike curiosity we hold inside. The anxiety of pushing forward with new ideas, until that moment arrives ~ our heart rate slows and we unearth something new, something enchanting.

“I’m beginning to understand you never have a plan do you?” another question rings back my way.

Shuffling of hooves on the rocks above remind us we are not alone.

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“Not real sure any plan worked out the way I had imagined, so why bother…” is my quick reply, seconds ahead of another sting of a hiking pole on my backside.

I scramble up and around a set of boulders and come face to face with a familiar friend.

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Nature never ceases in its pursuit of change; never fears a new challenge change may bring. The sky and the sunshine call out to us all, “You are not alone, the universe is with you the whole way.”

A breathless gasp comes from behind, and her arm wraps around me along with a whisper “this place is so beautiful…”

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Take away expectations, lose the fear of change and get lost in the world. There is no greater truth: time is fleeting, never stop.

“Be the change.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

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Musings of my Quantum World

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The verdict: a decision to affect and disrupt a life. My choice to veer off the comfortable path, abandon the current state of happiness and venture into the unknown.

Why? To chase down a mysterious, obscure sensation I cannot explain.

Inhale. Exhale. Breathe in the fresh air flowing off Hood Canal and let the peacefulness of the surroundings make the decision for me.

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The Olympic Mountain range is wrapped around by the Pacific Ocean and Puget Sound. Nestled in-between, a small cabin on the water rests within the gaze of Mt. Ellinor.

I’ve come to her to help reach this verdict.

Asia or Central Europe? Retreat to the familiarity bred from a commitment to Asia spanning decades or leap into the chaos of the unknown and invent a new life in Bohemia?

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The creation of two different lives, a divergence of my universe the moment the decision is made.

In one universe, I sleep for a few more hours and then rise, make a pot of coffee and with mug in hand, walk down to the shore of Hood Canal and watch the sunrise.

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In another universe, I look at the clock barely able to focus on the time of ‪2:30am and roll out of bed.  Throw on some clothes; grab a mug of yesterday’s coffee, pick up my camera gear and head out to trek up to the top of Mt. Ellinor.

A trek in the dark to meet the rising sun. To meet a new tomorrow.  

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My brain whispers “sleep.” My heart screams “get out of bed.”

Quietly I lie, listening to the blood course through my veins. I feel myself fading toward the sound of laughter and I fall deep, searching for its origin. Thoughts and visions vivid enough to swallow me whole as I happily drift off to dream.

The silence pulses throughout my body; my senses heightened and a restless surge of energy melds my dream into reality. It pushes me out of bed, I go searching for its origin: I must see what lies out there…

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A feeling of a divergence begins to form, and I open my eyes to the cold, quiet darkness around me. She whispers to me, her words soft, “Come join me in nirvana…” her sweet fragrance caressing me, and I close my eyes.

The cold, quiet darkness is calling out.  An inviting whisper, “Join the beauty of my dreams, the silence of reaching the summit as the morning sun breaks.”  My heart begins to beat rapidly, ahead lies a trek up the steep slopes.

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Years ago, contemplating my future, I was asked a simple question, “When in Asia do I miss the USA?” My answer was quick, “Yes.” It was then followed by another question, “When I am in the USA, do I miss Asia?” and again I quickly answered, “Yes.”

Then came the advice I’ve followed ever since: “When the answer to either one of these questions change, you know what you should do…create something new.”

Inhale. Exhale.
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The beauty of silence.

The smell of fresh coffee soothes, and I look out at the changing sky.  The glow of the morning sun breaks through enough to highlight an image of a fishing boat heading out to explore.

There is peace listening to the water, the sounds drifting away as I wake from my dream, enjoying the start of another day.

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The beauty of silence.

Low-lying clouds shimmer around Mt. Rainier off in the distance. The morning sun breaks over the horizon and the electricity of possibilities fill the air.  A brand new day arrives and a brave new world awaits.  

How does one describe the fragrance of a sunrise?

With the verdict rendered, an old friend shows up.  A welcome interruption to the sanctity of the morning, and she glances towards me as if to bid me farewell.  

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The Thin Gauze of Doubt and The Multiverse

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The scene is one I can imagine centuries ago. A young man overlooking his homeland, within his reach a promise of a career to ensure him of a great life. A “normal life” both he and his family have dreamt about since he was a kid.

His dream at his fingertips, he does not move. He sits there perplexed at the struggle within his soul. A piece of him desires something very different, something unknown. He can taste the adrenalin of this uncertainty.

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Two thoughts tangle, tearing him up. A decision has to be made. A divergence of his universe, in one he will stand up, walk back to the village and accept his career to settle into a normal life, while in the other he’ll look over his land one last time and accept adventure as his new destiny.

The divergence was instantaneous.

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He sits motionless, wondering which spirit remains. The shadow of a setting sun shifts the appearance of his surroundings and over the horizon, a faint sound calls out catching his attention. He draws a breath and looks over his land.

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“How did you end up doing what you’re doing?” her question snapped my head up from the photograph in front of me. “You had a freshly minted MBA, a simple plan of embracing the American Dream working with a Fortune 500 and somehow you fell into this crazy global existence.” She looked at me half-mockingly.

“The American Dream rejected me…and I panicked,” I laughed. “Once the seed of doubt entered my thinking, there was no looking back.”

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I look back at the photo. Wonder what life would have been like if I’d hung around the States instead of taking a flyer of adventure in Asia?

Enjoying this contradiction, I review the photo and the stack of journals in front of me, searching to find a trace of a young man who disappeared so long ago.

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She holds out a piece of paper, and reads from it:

“Invincibility.  The youthful feeling of blind confidence where anything imagined can be achieved.  Memories of flying down a mountain, one foot barely touching down on a boulder before confidently taking flight again, suspending life as the other foot searches and touches down lightly only to set off once more.  Freedom.  Repeat until exhausted.”  

“Zero fear,” she says after reading the passage. “All of his senses meshing perfectly with nature and in total confidence.  No thought of failure.  Bliss.”

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“I can understand this feeling,” I add, “youthful invincibility is one of the best stages of life where everything seems possible…running through it all, never believing it will end.”

“Then one day, a faint touch of doubt enters the mind mid-stride and the peaceful invincibility begins to fade. Strained by the thinnest gauze of doubt, the confidence of the immortal mind of youth vanishes forever.  And life begins…”

She reads to me, handing me a yellowed piece of parchment as she finishes, dated a day before the young man disappeared.

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“The stage of life where we all find ourselves lost at some point…” she says aloud while carefully turning a page of a journal.

“The time between the youthful invincibility of blind confidence where everything will work out as dreamed, and the age of reason where experience brings an understanding that it’s alright if it doesn’t…”

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I smile at this thought. The Gauze of Doubt introduced itself to me when my version of the American Dream faded right out of school along with the myth of a normal life. My favorite quote, Doc Holliday from the movie Tombstone still rings clear, “there’s no such thing as a normal life, there’s just life…”

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The photo and journals date back to the mid-1800’s, a young man with a lust for life imprinted on his character, a man who spun his own destiny. Words of wisdom in his thoughts, words that hold strength because they’re backed by his actions.

Experience matters. Friendship matters. Integrity matters. After his disappearance, his journals and stories focus on the lives he touched and his new surroundings.

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Veering off the well-worn road to success, he chose the path of adventure. He traveled. He learned. He traveled some more.

He never forgot the moment the gauze of doubt covered his eyes, unexpectedly sending him hurtling into a divergent universe. A universe he created.

There is a sense of envy I have reading his words, my wish to experience and see the pieces of life he lived.

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Three stages of life formed his writing, at each stage an opportunity to accede into a new reality:

  • The Invincibility of Youth, where dreams are created and the mind believes anything is possible.
  • The chaos of the Thin Gauze of Doubt, where adjusting to reality and creating a life becomes the new truth.
  • The wisdom of The Age of Reason, where a life pursued is a life well lived ~ experiences forming the answers.

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“There is a bit of Thoreau in his philosophy, his writing reminds me of the quote “…not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves...[Henry David Thoreau, Walden]” she looks back at me while taking a sip of her coffee. “The thin gauze of doubt he talks about may dissolve the confidence of youth, but in doing so it ramps up the adrenaline of reality.”

“Almost two hundred years separate you two, but yes, you do have your great, great grandfather’s mind, half stuck in reality and half elsewhere,” her eyes giggle, meeting mine.

And doubt seizes the day. Will I ever find out what happened to him?

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It is intriguing to look back in time, to dream of changing the unchangeable, but the past pales in anticipation of tomorrow’s opportunities.

I do not move. I sit there perplexed at the struggle within my soul. A piece of me desiring something very different, something unknown, and I can taste the adrenalin of this uncertainty.

The divergence was instantaneous…

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Side Note: The Multiverse theory, of which there are many, is widely considered to be fact, with top physicists leading the way. Imagine, a conscious decision (taken or ignored) where you diverge from your universe and begin a new adventure.

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Also, thanks to Timothy Price for insights into B&W photography, a new venture for me and it’s a brave new world…

Women of the American West: Pursuing Excellence

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The glint in her eyes mixed with the afternoon sun lulls us in before a quick shift in the saddle flaunts her message: a woman with a Cowgirl Spirit can stretch, bend, and break the rules society lays at her feet.

The whisper of the wind matches the cadence of her gallop.  Her light laughter trails off, leaving us cowboys choking in a cloud of dust. Nothing can get our hearts beating faster.

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The power of the Women of the American West is no myth, it is a beautiful reality and I pity any man who believes otherwise.

There is an old cowboy saying, “polishing your pants on saddle leather don’t make you a rider…” with its roots in the notion expertise comes from putting in quality time to master an art.  Pursuing excellence to shine above the rest describes the Cowgirl Spirit of these women; the confidence and humility are traits rarely discovered together.

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The Cowgirl Spirit is found around the globe. A woman who utilizes her strengths with the confidence to pursue life, and the admiration of men who are secure enough to understand embracing the power of such women will move them up to a higher level.

Equality. The quality of two beings, untapped potential when repressed, becoming a powerful, united force when free.

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Freedom for women around the world, the Cowgirl Spirit has a long ride ahead, but the excellence in which they ride ensures their success.

Watching the grace of these cowgirls competing on horseback is a perfect analogy to how a woman’s power does not diminish a man’s. Rather when embraced, it magnifies them both. Barrel racing at the Pendleton Round-Up is one of the most popular and watched events, making a great rodeo even better.

The eyes of every cowboy and the world are glued to such poetry in motion…

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There is strength in equality, strength in balance, strength in the men who recognize the importance of a spirited woman by their side. True cowboys who understand such a woman opens up aspects of a man’s character that he alone is unable to grasp.

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A secure man will pursue the true quality of a woman, one with a Cowgirl Spirit, giving her room to grow as he is confident enough to understand the balance of equality will make him a better man, make his surroundings a better place.

“Equality is not a concept. It’s not something we should be striving for. It’s a necessity. Equality is like gravity….”   – Joss Whedon

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Equality of women creates vibrancy in life. Sharing strengths without insecurities, both men and women evolve and new ideas and freedoms are generated. Society thrives.

Inequality of women stifles creativity. Insecure and weak men develop brash and destructive egos. Stunted growth rots the potential of a community. There are places around the world that echo such imbalance; stagnant, repressive societies with paralyzed minds and a paralyzed future for their children.

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The desire lies in the Cowgirl Spirit, and the worthy men who seek such women to create unity. Balanced individuals grow and progress, triggering society to follow suit as well. This is the hope for the world.

It is possible, the myth of the ‘weaker sex’ was created by the innate skill women have in ciphering through the bullshit of man’s ego and pride. Lesser men fear these resilient women, exploding with ego as their insecurities grow, overcompensating and crippling those around them.

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One of the greatest feelings I’ve ever had is being half-a-world away, yet still able to draw strength from the important women in my life. Women, past and present, have helped form part of my character. Character incomplete without learning and accepting the power of equality, unlocking the heart of potential.

These women act as a mirror, reflecting strength in areas men lack. The Cowgirl Spirit brings perspective, a different view when listened to, and greater results when put into action.

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Acknowledging someone’s ability does not diminish your own, instead it can strengthen. This is achieving balance. Do not fear the power of women, instead embrace it, and embrace her.

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Women with the Cowgirl Spirit have a sensuality that is second to none.  Their confidence to give as good as they get, show an authenticity seldom seen.  An authentic woman creates the authentic man, allowing evolution to continue.

Without such women, men will never be able to grasp all life can offer. It is important to realize, in many ways, us men would remain our basic, cavemen selves.

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The silent confidence of a Woman of the West never ceases to impress and humble me. It is a supreme confidence.

Time is short. Never Stop. Never stop pursuing excellence.

The Cowgirl Spirit balances the secure, authentic Cowboy Spirit. Strength added to strength, creating opportunities that otherwise would remain hidden. Such spirit is present every year in September at the Pendleton Round-Up. Keep up the pursuit.

Let’er Buck!

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Old World Déjà vu

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It was a strange day I remember, exploring Budapest for the first time with a sensation I had walked these streets before, every corner a story to be told.  Each step filled with fascination, time of no concern as evening tumbled from dusk into the magical darkness of night.  Pulled forward by destiny into my past.

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She was there, a flash of a smile wrapped up in the Old World like a well-worn shawl.

An artistic light gathered around her, fusing the old with new, highlighting the intricacies of the human spirit. Not yet love, only a tickle of possibility.  The depths of the night offered us the chance to roam new lands, to dance with the tide and imagine our next adventure.

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The start of the day blends with the end of the night, leaving the unanswered question of where we belong. Amid all the laughter, a melancholy undercurrent swirled beneath, leading to the inevitable conclusion.

The exit.  A measured trace of emotion is revealed but little else. With no sense of belonging, we vanish into each other’s arms like the whispering winds of the past.

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Where will you go when morning arrives?  Did we truly exist or were we just a dream, lost in this endless slumber of life?

The music of the world refuses to fade, a reminder of the hope tomorrow brings. The pull of destiny continues. With a smile, I close my eyes and dream of the New World.

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Side Note: Along with travel to Budapest (and Europe), two pieces of music helped inspire this post: Karl Jenkins – Bards of Wales (based on János Arany ballad of the same name).  Hungarian history is fascinating, a great feeling of the Old World.  The other is my favorite piece by Antonín Dvořák, his New World Symphony.

Nothing is quite as mysterious as where we came from or where we are going ~ reconciling the Old and New World.

Angels in Nepal: One Year After the Earthquakes

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Peering out the makeshift door of her corrugated metal shelter, Parathi lets the warm, soft rays of the sun tangle up around her welcoming in another day.

A gentle breeze rocks the entranceway of their shelter providing a soft melody for her two autistic children sleeping peacefully behind her. The few minutes of silence brings a smile along with a chance to relax before the chaos of a new day begins.

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She picks up her broom and quickly begins tidying up their simple shelter with a touch of longing for their old home they had just one year ago.

One year ago…devastating earthquakes rocked Nepal, the first on April 25th and the second on May 12th with tremors shaking the tenuous foundation of life for the Nepalese people.

The destruction was catastrophic: 9,000 people died, 600,000 homes destroyed, and damage estimated at $10 billion. To add insult to such devastation, over the past year political infighting has frozen $4.1 billion in emergency aid funds.

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Nepal now finds itself paralyzed with one natural disaster (the earthquake) feeding into another manmade disaster (political pettiness), creating dangerous aftereffects such as human trafficking, disease, deteriorating health, debt and a faltering educational system set to further cripple the country.

Amid the chaos, however, there has been one constant: organizations who have stepped in to support communities. To rebuild. To give hope. To provide an opportunity for a future.

An incredible thing to witness and Save the Children has stepped up in Nepal.

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The light of the morning is just as I imagined it would be ~ the first rays of the sun stretching out over the city, giving off a magical hue. Off to the northeast, the sunrise sparkles off the snow-capped Himalaya mountain range welcoming in a new day.

A breathless start to the morning, and in this dreamlike state I let my imagination run wild here in Kathmandu.

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Nepal’s rich history has been fueled by imagination, from explorers to philosophers pulled in by the natural scenery. All one needs to understand this feeling is to look into the powerful eyes of its people.

Strength. Curiosity. A spirituality seeking the greatness in a day.

From Sherpas attacking the slopes of the Himalayas to the children playing in the fields, every day is a reminder of their home, a slice of heaven on earth. Even with the tragedy of the past year, the Nepalese keep moving forward.

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The morning sun flows through the room, its rays mixing with the youthful laughter and smiles ~ students sit mesmerized by the sight of a beautiful stranger in their midst.   Giggles are hard to stifle as they listen to this ‘Angel from Hong Kong’ sharing pieces of a life so foreign yet so wonderful.

The glimmer in their eyes shows the admiration, inspiration, and appreciation for those who step forward offering an opportunity where before there was none.

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Mrs. Cathy Chui Lee (徐子淇) is the first Asian patron of Save the Children, joining three other Princesses: Princess Anne in the UK, Princess Viktoria in the Netherlands, and Princess Basma in Jordan: their quest to provide safety and opportunity to children around the world to reach their potential.

This is especially true for those most marginalized, deprived and facing a humanitarian crisis.

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The shattered buildings we see as we weave our way through the historic Durbar Square in Bhaktapur is unsettling, reflecting the shattered lives of those in the area.

The beauty of the place shows off a rich heritage. Elegant architecture surrounds our every step, punctuating the culture of the Nepalese. Yet there is a reminder. Every dozen meters there is a jarring jolt of destruction left by the powerful quake and the sad reality of the work still to be done.

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Cathy’s visit to these devastated areas of Nepal allows her to see first hand the difference aid organizations make in the lives of children and their families.

The visit also gives Cathy the opportunity to directly engage with the children, offering the value of both her donation and time to bring sunshine into a difficult period of their lives.

An Angel in Nepal ~ One Year on from the Nepal Earthquakes, Kathmandu - Save the Children Hong Kong-11

Of all the incredible moments I have seen, the most beautiful sight of the day is the excitement in the eyes of the children being matched by the wonder and sincerity in the eyes of Cathy.

Her ease with the children makes it clear, as much as Cathy inspires the children – she draws even more strength and inspiration from them.

An Angel in Nepal ~ One Year on from the Nepal Earthquakes, Kathmandu - Save the Children Hong Kong-12

The day has been full of emotions. From the excitement in the laughter and words of the children to understanding the difficult road ahead for the people of Nepal, bringing to mind an old Nepalese proverb, one often used around the world as well:

खाने मुखलाई जुंगाले छेक्दैन    ~ Where there is a will, there is a way ~

An Angel in Nepal ~ One Year on from the Nepal Earthquakes, Kathmandu - Save the Children Hong Kong-13

The melody and rhythm of traditional Nepalese folk songs float through the small classroom and Amy Fong, CEO of Save the Children Hong Kong, blends right in singing along with her new-found friends.

“We are very honored and excited to have Cathy Lee as our patron. We admire her compassion for children and her willingness to actively make a difference in their lives.” Amy mentions this as we watch the students draw the Nepalese flag on Cathy’s hand, a souvenir for her to take back to Hong Kong.

“There is still so much to do, and rising to the challenge is where we will make the greatest difference…” and I could not agree more.

An Angel in Nepal ~ One Year on from the Nepal Earthquakes, Kathmandu - Save the Children Hong Kong-14

The sun, beginning its descent into another night, pauses ever so slightly on the horizon sensing a special moment: the coming together of two uniquely wonderful angels here in Nepal.

On our last stop of the day, there is a surreal feeling as we watch spellbound as Parathi and Cathy sit outside the shelter and talk of the daily hardship.

While Parathi is still stuck in a temporary shelter and lacking income, there is no sign of distress or worry. Instead, her strength and integrity shine through when she speaks of the future she can create for her children and how Save the Children has helped make this possible.

An Angel in Nepal ~ One Year on from the Nepal Earthquakes, Kathmandu - Save the Children Hong Kong-15

Cathy softly holds Parathi as they connect on a level I imagine only two mothers can. An intense amount of empathy and respect for each other is apparent, and I sit back amazed at how two people so far apart in terms of material wealth can almost be mirror images of each other when it comes to strength of character.

Is there something in the air of Nepal?

It is hard not to shed a tear at the wisp of magic traveling upon the breeze this evening, proof of how powerfully connected we all are to each other.

An Angel in Nepal ~ One Year on from the Nepal Earthquakes, Kathmandu - Save the Children Hong Kong-16

I pack up my equipment and think back to the words silently whispered by the Angel in Nepal as she was overcome with emotion after the meeting, “Such a strong and brave woman, I admire her so much…”

The admiration I have for her and the Save the Children organization is great, and I could not imagine a better pairing of souls.

An Angel in Nepal ~ One Year on from the Nepal Earthquakes, Kathmandu - Save the Children Hong Kong-17

The experience today had a bit of everything. The hope on the children’s faces often stood in stark contrast to the concerns of the older generation.

The one constant being the appreciation for organizations such as Save the Children.  Organizations who go the extra step to ensure the quickest response time when it comes to helping children around the world.

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With the evening drawing to a close, I take my coffee to the rooftop of the hotel and look over Kathmandu. The city is teeming with life. The prayer flags scattered throughout the city are dancing in the evening breeze in sync with the spirit of the people of Nepal, understanding the road ahead:

आफ्नो भाग्य आफैले बनाउनु पर्छ!   ~ We ourselves have to create our own destiny ~

An Angel in Nepal ~ One Year on from the Nepal Earthquakes, Kathmandu - Save the Children Hong Kong-19

The smiles and the laughter of this trip are strong reminders of the need to help the most vulnerable and most important resource on earth: the children.

The empathy and grace Cathy carried on her visit to Nepal highlighted her support of the Children’s Emergency Fund: a fund to ensure quick response to children around the world.

The importance of continued support and giving being the key to bringing hope, and if you are interested, more information can be found at the below sites:

An Angel in Nepal ~ One Year on from the Nepal Earthquakes, Kathmandu - Save the Children Hong Kong-20

An Angel in Nepal ~ One Year on from the Nepal Earthquakes, Kathmandu - Save the Children Hong Kong-21

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