Just exquisite


South Africa

Science shows us truth and beauty and fills each day with a fresh wonder of the exquisite order which governs our world. Polykarp Kusch

Exquisite animals –

I blame it on Walt Disney, where animals are given human qualities. People don’t understand that a wild animal is not something that is nice to pat. It can seriously harm you. James Cameron

Even then I could not help myself.

Exquisite views

Exquisite people places and things

Just one more best vacation ever and it will not be soon forgotten.  Happy half century on the planet to me!!!

Other exquisite posts

Dream, My Joy, Night Owl, Tiny FawnsSbdmb, Nature’s Beauty, eddaz, Emotions,  tenderness

Smiles


A new challenge by Sally this month was to choose our own theme.  I chose smiles because that is my favorite thing to do and to see.  In every country that I have been blessed enough to visit I have found favorite smiles.  I sort of collect them.  When I feel down or angry, I can look back on some of my favorite smiles.  If you look past through my posts, you can see all of my favorite smiles so far.  Smiles from family.  Smiles from old friends.  Smiles from new friends.  I have found people who just look angry and annoyed and yet when I smile at them, they almost always smile back.  Sure there are those that do not.  But in my experience, for the most part they usually do.  I hope you enjoy my most recent collection of smiles from Egypt.

Let my soul smile through my heart and my heart smile through my eyes, that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts. Paramahansa Yogananda

 

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From my last post. One of my favorite most recent smiles. My driver to the airport who got a call during the ride letting him know that his wife just had a baby boy. They had been waiting 5 years for this news.

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. Mother Teresa

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On a visit to the Egyptian Museum, these adorable young kids visiting the museum asked if they could take their picture with me.  I in turn asked if i could take my picture with them.  I LOVE this picture and love that they wanted to take their picture with me.  How fun is this.

Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come. Henri Nouwen

A person is just a person.  A job is just a job.  We do not know why someone looks angry (Resting bitch face?  Maybe?) or sad (Really actually sad and alone?).  We will never know why unless we engage.  Maybe you will get a positive response or possibly just an angry grunt.  You will never know unless you engage.  Every single sad or angry looking face I encountered above eventually smiled.  Maybe I just wore them down, I don’t know.  But engagement brought life to the face.  To theirs and mine as well.

A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose. Tom Wilson

The tour we went on introduced me to a bunch of new smiles that still make me happy to look back on and remember.  What a great trip. Still smiling from the fun.

View other entries for this week’s challenge :

challenge-all-ears;  2016/11/28/-for-sally-ds-mobile-photo-challengethe-tea-house-goddessnetdancer.com/2016/11/28challengers-choice-landscapechihulys-basket-series;  challenge-challengers-choice2016/11/30/the-fernery-2challengers-choice-nature-of-flowerszimmerbitch

What is normal – Lagos Part 2


“Normal is an ideal. But it’s not reality. Reality is brutal, it’s beautiful, it’s every shade between black and white, and it’s magical. Yes, magical. Because every now and then, it turns nothing into something.”
― Tara Kelly, Harmonic Feedback

It’s easy to get caught up in how normal or abnormal a different life lived might be.  I would like to think that in general I live a fairly normal life.  I get up, do my stretches, eat breakfast, go to work..work..toil..worry..stress…eat lunch…work some more, come home, eat dinner and go to bed.  It’s my routine and I’m comfortable with it.

In the process of doing what I do, I will sometimes pass by lives, actions, ideals and philosophies that sometimes feel incredibly abnormal.  I might at times feel saddened by the brutality of it all, the abnormality and chaotic nature of it all.  I have to force myself to put the brakes on because what is normal to me now, might have at one point not so long ago, appeared to be very abnormal.  This life I lead right now often presents to me situations that do not feel normal at all.  When I visit some of the places I visit, a part of me screams inside my head that, “THIS IS NOT NORMAL!!”

I have to ask myself what is normal?  What is routine? Who am I to make that call?

So Makoko Stilt Village part 2.

We visited the village in a traditional canoe which allowed us to see more of the area and see how this community really lives.  We visited a maternity ward, a school, passed by local markets and we were able to get an authentic feel for the lives being lived here.  To me interesting and lives uniquely lived.  There is no argument to that statement.  Except maybe to the people who are living that life.  Their routines are no more abnormal to them than mine is to me.

It is brutal, it is beautiful, it is every shade of black and white.

The more I travel and the more I see, the more I realize that in the middle of every single place I visit, exist regular people doing what is normal to them.  They all have a voice and they all have a story.  It’s crazy that I have to remind myself of this so often.

But on the other hand, in the midst of the chaos, you find normal people. You find people who are willing to risk their lives to tell you what they saw, even though they have no dog in the fight.

John Pomfret

Other routines.

Freedom


freedom     ˈfriːdəm/    noun
  1. 1.
    the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.

“Because to take away a man’s freedom of choice, even his freedom to make the wrong choice, is to manipulate him as though he were a puppet and not a person.”
― Madeleine L’Engle

Kapadokya, Goreme, Turkey. – In the fight to choose their own religion, many escaping Christians chose to carve out shelters, houses and churches in the naturally formed canyon hills and unusual rock formations that were created by strong winds, flood waters and lava flows.

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Throughout the region, these places were carved and shaped and turned into villages and religious sites..  Pretty amazing.

On top of the amazing places to hike and visit, many hotels in town have carved out rooms to sleep in and it’s all quite beautiful.

Other posts about freedom:

I could not have expressed it better..


Beyond Paisley paid an amazing tribute to one of my favorite actors in her recent blog post, “I’m Still Processing The Death of Robin Williams.”  I feel exactly how she expressed her feelings but I do not think I could have said it better than she therefore I would like to share her post.  Thanks for expressing this so eloquently…

I’M STILL PROCESSING THE DEATH OF ROBIN WILLIAMS

The news this week, it was shocking. Shocking. Robin Williams. Dead at 63. I grew up on a steady diet of Robin Williams. I remember when he, bizarrely, showed up on Happy Days and had an epic thumb battle with The Fonz.

And I watched Mork & Mindy almost greedily every week, because–particularly in first two seasons–there was nothing quite so aggressively funny on TV.

My mom even got me a pair of rainbow suspenders, which I wore until the clips gave out and just stopped gripping. (And I’d think they were secure and would go out and then a clip would slide up until it reached the end of my waistband. Once it did, it would indeed fly, be free, right into my face. Oh, embarrassment on the playground fer sure.)

Like so many others out there, I loved Robin Williams for his energy and razor-sharp wit, his lightning-fast ability to find the joke, to make anything (a basket of eggs? Really?) hilarious. And I loved him for his ability to handle dramatic roles, too, bringing human complexity and an astonishing depth of emotion to a character that, in the hands of a different performer, could easily end up being too one-dimensional. I’m looking at you, Dead Poet’s Society.

He was brilliant. He was admired. And now he’s gone. If he’d died of a heart attack or was killed in a car accident…we have mental scripts in place to cope. But Robin Williams took his own life. He’d always been open about his long-standing struggles with depression, and also with substance abuse, so it was no secret that he had some malignant, tenacious demons. But still. In a society that views “success” as the answer–which he had, at least outwardly–Robin Williams’s suicide is inconceivable.

The commentary surrounding his death has been interesting. I have, for the most part, stayed away from anyone who’s completely vitriolic; I don’t need to read articles written by socially stunted hatemongers to know they exist.  But the one statement that I can’t stay away from, which I’ve seen expressed in various media outlets and have heard from people I know and love, is that his act was selfish. And I recognized myself in that statement; ten years ago I might have said the same thing. I have since moved past it, realizing that depression is far more pernicious and illogical and lying and thieving than those of us who aren’t depressed can understand. Still, I get why it’s part of the public patois about suicide. I just don’t think it’s right or fair. We’re never inside anyone else’s head. We don’t know what’s happening anywhere else except in our own noggins…and even then, if you find me someone who’s legitimately got it all together, I will pass out in shock. Mental illness is so dreadfully misunderstood. As a society, we need to bring the same sensibility to the treatment of depression that we bring to, say, the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Both can cripple. Both can kill. But you don’t tell an RA sufferer to “get over it”.

When I was a little kid–maybe 9 or 10 years old–I was at the beach and got caught in an undertow. I was pulled out in the waves, and slammed back on the beach, and pulled out, and slammed back. Over. And over. And over. I didn’t see a way out, there was no way to break the cycle of being sucked out into the water, and slammed back to the shore. Finally, something solid loomed up in front of me and in desperation I grabbed it; I remember breaking the grip of the waves, and how the waves felt resistant to my release. Luckily, the solid thing turned out to be the feet of a man doing surf fishing. It could have been a shark, it could have been an electrical box that was on fire, it could have been Jason Voorhees in full machete-and-hockey mask regalia. The point is, I didn’t care at that moment what I grabbed, so long as it got me out of the crazy cycle I was trapped in.

While I don’t claim that that’s what was going on in Robin Williams’s head, I will say that for that split second, for that one miniscule moment in time, I understood what it’s like to not care any more about what the exit looks like. Desperation isn’t selfish. It’s just desperate. We tend not to revisit these moments, since they’re usually unpleasant and force us to contemplate our own mortality. But I’d make the bet that if everyone took a good, long look at his or her past, we could all find at least one moment where logic and presence failed and desperation took over.

That’s a spot from which compassion can grow. I challenge everyone to find it.

Rest in peace, Robin Williams.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline