Boldly existing outside the box through conscious living and constant learning.
One of the biggest lessons and most appreciated perks of seeking to open up your mind and see the larger world is that you gain insight and inspiration from so many places. Five years ago you could have never told me that I would be inspired and touched by a friend on the other side of the world. But here I am, moved to share with you by the simple act of being friends. Profound enlightenment and personal growth are aided by our own ability to simply remain open. By this fact I have come to understand the importance of personal connections and the gifts those influences present to me each and every day. Today is an especially inspiring one.
I have a friend who lives in Nigeria who I correspond with regularly. He has been one of my most ardent and caring supporters as I have undertaken this journey and chosen to share it with the world. We met through my involvement in volunteer work with Village Care International and have known each other for a few years now. We last met this past January while in Kenya for an international conference during which he shared with me some of the details of his life in Nigeria. From the beauty of the land to the brutality of war, his openness and willingness to pour out intimate details and personal feelings was moving to say the least. He shared uninhibited accounts of unimaginable violence while at the same time telling of the power and resilience of the Nigerian people. My mind is still unable to comprehend how a person who has lived and seen those atrocities can continue to see the beauty in a world that has given them no reason to. What excuse do I have for not seeing and experiencing the awe and power of the world as I live in the cushy bubble that I do?
A large measure of this project is the idea that we must continually seek to expand our minds and live with the understanding that the world is far larger than the one we live in, and to help others do the same. My friend has helped me more than anything to progress in my personal Unboxing adventure and continues to provide multitudes of opportunities for constant learning. I can think of no better way to honor that gift than to share it with as many people as I can.
I received a message from him a few days ago that touched me in a deep and profound way. As he always does, my friend was encouraging me to continue sharing my message with the world and to stand behind what I believe. He shared some about what is going on in Nigeria by saying:
Nigeria hasn’t changed much, the corruption is ever present in high places, the fanaticism rages, the hardship almost overwhelming, but the Nigerian is a fighter, a survivor as I am. On a bright note the Nigerian is increasingly becoming aware that power lies with the ruled and not the ruler, it shouldn’t be long now…
It is so easy for us to forget that all over the world people live and exist in much different circumstances than we do. How do we honor that fact and seek to bridge the gap of understanding that exists often times between ourselves and the rest of humanity? Often times in the Western world we operate in third-world countries under the assumption that we have something they need, when in reality what they have we need: that is the unending optimism that comes with continually being tested against evil, hate, and poverty and the intrinsic sense that people have the power to create change the world. To be able to face down evil itself with the brightness and love exhibited by people I know personally is pure inspiration for me and the reason I do most everything I do. Not for the glory or satisfaction of “helping,” but for the priceless gifts of friendship, love, and truth of which I have yet to find a more abundant source than travel and service. I want to say thank you to my friend and leave you with a poem he shared with me.
Let’s all do something this week to broaden our minds and find understanding in unexpected places. What will you do? Share your thoughts and inspire someone today!
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed
beyond this place of wrath and tears
looms but the horror of the shade,
and yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate
How charged with punishment the scroll
i am the master of my fate
i am the captain of my soul.
photo by: S Lunetta