The eternal dance of giving and receiving

Beirut, Lebanon.

It’s raining outside and the wind is howling. It feels like October in Holland. Still, if feel protected and at ease. Actually, I feel thankful. I have a week more to go in Beirut but I can already say it was a completely different experience than Israel. I didn’t do any interviews. Although I have met a couple of remarkable people time was too short to get to know them well enough. More so this is a tough country and the people who try to make a difference are exhausted. The corruption, the resistance against change from the government and the tension in the region makes that everybody is constantly in survival mode. Trying to break through that collective armor is almost committing suicide.

So most of the people I met were emotionally guarded. At the same time, I really feel taken care of here, almost to a point that I start to feel guilty. Yesterday was the first time that my friend S. allowed me to pick up the check after dinner, probably only because I clearly negotiated that before we sat down. On the day of my arrival I met the owner of the local dojo Joe Habis and he offered me the apartment where let’s guest instructors stay. Later I found out that Kamal, the owner of Tawlet Restaurant, had instructed his staff that I was not allowed to pay for my food.

They might not realize it but Kamal, Joe and S. made a difference in my life. They provided food, shelter and company: the basic needs of a human being. I will never forget them for that.

It is a wonderful to experience how the support comes from unexpected places. We all like to say that if you go into the world with the intention to do good, the world will be good for you. But to put that assumption to the test was a big leap of faith. Luckily, I have a lot of faith and a strong desire to face my fears. Because now I know how it feels to be carried. It is a strong experience; it feels as if the Universe approves of my existence.

Not so long ago I wrote something about how difficult it felt to speak into the big black void, to open up to an invisible an mostly silent audience. But that has changed. I receive many little gems; an encouraging comment, a small donation from someone at the other end of the world, heartwarming emails, touching testimonials. Every time I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

It feels as if I rediscovered the eternal dance of giving and receiving. It is like our breathing. If we just let it happen, it feels so good, natural and relaxing. When we inhale universal love enters our body, when we exhale our personal love flows back into the universe. The more we surrender to that rhythm, the easier our life goes. The challenge is to really trust that what we give will come back to us. We are afraid of giving too much and as a consequence we give too little, trying to make a love-profit. And a way to create such a challenge is by going on a mission to make a difference with little money. Then there are no other options then letting the goodness of the universe work on us. Trust me. 😉

The more I see how it works and how much I actually receive the more joy it brings me to give back. It is so tempting to fall into the pitfall of looking at what is lacking. Thoughts like he or she is not generous enough, open enough, appreciative enough or distant enough; it’s all just our defensive, judgmental mind. When I can go beyond that I actually free myself. When I’m free I am able to give and to receive.

It is nice to be not so concerned about giving too much or too little. Since I have received much in Lebanon I am now trying to make an effort to give back. And magically enough I got requests from people for private sessions and meditation instruction in my email today. And I took the jump and decided to organize a workshop “The Quest for the Noble Warrior” in Beirut on the 4th of March (from 15.00 till 20.00 yallah). And guess what? I am receiving all the cooperation in the world (from Kamal and Christine of Tawlet to be specific) and a lot of people have signed up already. This makes me so happy (and a bit nervous too). I just read a quote from Buddha: “your journey is to discover the world and give yourself completely to it”. Thank you, Buddha. I’m on it.

Rainy Beirut:

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