Today is my last day in Iraq. Tomorrow I will fly to Istanbul, Inshallah. Let’s hope the roads are open and that I get on the plane without too much hassle. There is a stamp missing in my passport, I was unable to obtain it because of the closing of the administrative offices during the summit.
I feel like looking back. I turned 40 on the 24th of November and my original plan was to leave the 25th. I missed that deadline and made the next one: 14th of January. I am now on the road for 2,5 months. I visited Israel, Lebanon and Iraq with short transitional stops in Greece, Jordan and Egypt. In some way I feel that I didn’t go out enough, I didn’t make an effort to see the highlights of the country. It was quite hard to eat healthy and to get enough exercise. There were expectations not met and ideas that needed to be adjusted. Before I left I was afraid of being so exposed and at the same time creating the circumstances to maximize that exposure. I feared to be overwhelmed by media attention and hordes of visitors. Also I envisioned the possibility that I would attract so many Skype clients that I would have no time to leave my hotel but would create a generous income. This did not happen. Yet. But that doesn’t mean I am disappointed. Not at all.
Beautiful things did happen too, and are happening. On a regular basis I receive beautiful emails from readers from all over the world. I am saving them in a separate folder. I have collected 85 by now and this is without the comments and testimonials on my blog and the messages I receive in my inbox on Facebook. The best ones are when people tell me they changed their lives after following me for a while. They quit their job, started following their heart again, took a next step on their spiritual path, decided to express their feelings to someone important or forgave someone. It is nice to hear that people benefit from my struggles, especially when I am going through difficult times. It gives me the feeling it is not for nothing. But more importantly, it proves that the law I trust unconditionally is true; when speak, listen and live from the heart we transform lives. This gives me strength and hope. I will do this until the day I die. Actually, I will also keep doing this after I die, I only don’t know how.
My strong experiences were my meetings with people that inspire me, people I consider warriors. I wrote about Ilana and Miles but also Ilana’s partner Itamar and my Lebanese friends Hussam, Kamal and Zeina made a strong impression. I realize that Warriors come in shapes and sizes and are in different stages of their development. And we all still have bits of the Coward in us.
When I look at the sentence I just typed above I realize that I for the first time openly admit to myself that I am part of that group of people that I admire (and still have bits of the coward in them): I am a Warrior. I am a Warrior and I feel at home when I am surrounded by fellow Warriors. At the same time I am getting better and better at seeing the Warrior in all humans beings and become more able at showing themselves to themselves. It feels good to admit it. It feels like coming home.
Nice, an insight while typing.
Strong learning experiences were to stop waiting for something to happen but deciding to give a workshop in Beirut, which turned out to be an overwhelming success. Also feeling their need for nourishment of people who live in conflicting countries was powerful and humbling. Realizing that I was able to bridge cultural, language and traditional barriers in Iraq was big. Having a first hand experience that human beings are the same everywhere was transforming. We all have a soul and a wounded heart, we all are afraid and we all want to connect, live and love. And it is difficult everywhere.
I left my country without enough money to sustain myself for a year. This was one of the scariest steps. Feeling how few people where willing to support an attempt to do good disappointed me and made me feel misunderstood. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Right now I can truly say that I am supported by the Universe. Unexpected benefactors appeared in my life; family members, a good friend, a former schoolmate and the father of one of my students. But also donations trickle in from all over the world. It feels amazing, like an invisible power pushing me gently forward. Sometimes donations are accompanied by heartwarming messages, sometimes I just see something show up on my bank account. It feels like whispers in my ear, saying: “I love you”, “I trust you”, “I care about you”, “you can do it”, “I got your back”. I can really feel how much impact the goodness and generosity of others has on my life. It fills me with gratitude and trust.
The most difficult thing was the break-up, of course. But in general every letting go is difficult for me. I was attached to my dreams of a future with her and I was carrying expectations. But I also find it hard to let go of cities I got to know better, people I got attached to, beds that were comfortable and coffee places I liked. Every step in the unknown is just as insecure as the previous one.
Let’s count my blessings. I have trust and courage. The Universe supports me. I don’t need much. I make a difference in the lives of other people. I am stripped of dreams and expectations. I have a healthy body. I have a mission. I have a big heart that can bleed, care and love. I dare to share. Yes, I am a rich man.
Edit: Just minutes after finishing this post I received news that the lease of my house is determined immediately. For two hours my world was turned upside down. How could I lose a my girlfriend and my house in two weeks? Not only is there no woman to go back to, now there is not even a bed to go back to. 30 minutes later I took this video (probably the last one with the ‘Iraqi goatee look’:
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