Isn't forgetfulness human race's blessing & curse at the same time? Reflecting on the recession we are crawling out of, I came across this piece I wrote during some of my toughest days in 2008. Thought of sharing just as a reflection on the days that seemed longer than years and now feel like they never existed. Life events can sometimes change us for ever and often times get forgotten in the smooth ride that follows. And the number of times we react to experiences the same way is the defining criteria. It's what distinguishes a life of mindfulness practice from a life lived in predictable patterns. Our responses to life reveal how much we allow ourselves to truly feel, experience and be present with life and therefore shape our future. I look forward to hearing your reflections, thoughts & personal experiences . May this serve as a platform.
Down & out or Up & In
Look who's talking! And look who they're bringing down!
Landing on this soil seven years ago, it didn't even occur to me that after living through loss, revolution, war, sanction, dictatorship, social harassment and divorce in a country where as a woman I didn't even have a right for it, I will be an accountable and presentable million dollar sales person, a landlady, a coach, an aikido practitioner, a handyman and a perfectionist single mom who had to be involved in a legal system totally unknown to her for the past 4 years. And now, after all, being pulled down constantly by the fear-inducing media’s new mantra “we’re down and out!”.
NO! I'm not down and certainly not out!
I realized this when I looked in the mirror this morning and decided that's not what I came to US for! I looked in the mirror and remembered the first time I heard the Red Sirens going off, announcing an attack on our soil. I thought life came to an end, it sure changed but didn't end.
I looked in the mirror and I remembered the first time we woke up with the explosion of a missile in our neighborhood smashing the windows; the first time we had to leave our home due to bombing. Leaving all the memories behind, just carrying a handbag, not knowing what will be left of it IF we ever come back. We left in tears but returned home stronger, with more seeds of hope growing in our hearts.
I remembered the first night I heard my dad will never be home again; burning in a fever of separation anxiety for three days, I finally realized at the age of 10 life will never be the same again but it will go on. Losing the social status we had, together with the housekeepers, the cook and the driver I learned nothing in this world is permanent. A reality- painful as it seemed-that could be a blessing along the way.
I remembered when I was arrested by the religious fanatics for going on a picnic with family friends. We were all sent before the judge since we were " na-mahram“. That night, in the stable I was imprisoned in, I begged God for the courage to commit suicide. I thought it was the end. I thought I would never be able to look my mom in the eyes again. I thought that was the last straw. But time proved the camel’s back had a much higher capacity to bear loads than I expected. I returned home again and my mom’s ever so accepting embrace reminded me that time is the best healer and patience is a great virtue. I certainly learned the value of freedom and got the first taste of empathy towards everyone trespassing my boundaries.
I remembered those long winter nights, during revolution, with no power and fuel when my mom, my single mom, had to bravely protect and provide for 4 girls. She strongly maintained her calm grace while the chaos of revolution stripped her soul from every drop of safety and trust, leaving frozen foot-steps of fear and insecurity behind; while angry people attacked wealthy neighborhoods looting all they could in the name of justice. “She did it”. With her resilience and grace, he colored the memory of those dark days with pride and joy. Heating only one room with whatever she had, she started telling us the story of her life and reading us poetry every night to keep us entertained and distracted from the instability and shift we were going through. We couldn't wait for the evening to come, to sit around her, all ears! We had no idea how much creativity and resilience she was pouring into our lives by keeping us occupied during those cold, dark,TV-less nights! We never even discovered a trace of the anxiety and fear she was holding inside. We learned to make the best of what IS! And I remembered how heart broken she was when unscrupulous politics denied her the chance to visit her "baby" having a baby.
I survived! Not only survived but grew, learned and evolved through it all.
As I looked in the mirror and had a flashback of the places life had taken me I told myself there surely is something grand to learn these days as well. Wall Street and the bailouts, market crashes and home foreclosures, not even lawsuits and layoffs; none can be worse than what I have been through! What is the lesson to be learned here? What message can I carry on to the next generation after clear skies reveal the Sun again? Despair & bitterness? Vision & Passion? isn't it a choice? Because I know I will be “up” and I will be “in”! Ready to start a new chapter!
I'm not a writer but I have a story and would love to tell if you enjoy hearing it. And by the way I'm not I_ranian, I'm not from I_ran. I'm not covering up even by saying I'm Persian! No! I'm Iranian (era’nian). I'm from Iran (era’n)! My name , Afsaneh, means " fairy tale”; a story that passes on from generation to generation, a fable, a legend, a myth. Maybe that’s all there is!