Saying goodbye can be tough. Especially, when you’re left with joyful, loving memories. So, in the words of Dr. Seuss, I won’t be sad to have left Nicaragua, I’m just so happy and blessed to have known such a wonderful, good spirited country and people.
As I mentioned in a previous post, when I first arrived in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, I didn’t have these same positive emotions.
To see the conditions in which the people lived and their daily struggles stirred up something inside me. As I walked through the neighborhoods up in the mountains, looking at their homes, children running around barefoot, with one meal a day (rice and beans), the men working ten hours a day in the coffee farms under the hot sun for $5 USD a day, I felt a deep sadness and despair come over me.
I’d wave at the children playing outside and greeted the women as they washed their clothes against a rock. I wanted to scream out, “Why? Why is this still going on in the world?” It just didn’t seem fair and I was completely overwhelmed with emotional pain.
After a couple of days, I stopped by to talk to them. They invited me in their homes and I got to know them beyond the perception of my eyes. They didn’t seem to be feeling the same deep, negative emotions I was. Their sparkling eyes and captivating smiles warmed my heart. When they spoke, I could feel their beautiful souls through their words. Now, I was seeing them through the eyes of my heart.
They face many struggles. They have their share of hardships and sufferings. This is a fact!
They’re not insensitive to all this. They DO FEEL PAIN!
Despite all this, they didn’t complain. Instead, they spoke about their blessings. “We have this big hammock that sleeps two children,” they cheerfully said. Or, “We have access to a toilet bowl.” Or, “We have chickens and get to eat eggs.”
The thing they were ALL most grateful for is having each other.
You see, no matter their struggles, no matter how little they had, if it meant they had to share the little they had (food, clothes, water) they did!
Just being with them, listening to them and observing them, completely let my negative emotions come out. It was like a wave of peace and wisdom came flowing in. A reminder of a very important lesson I had learned years ago. I guess we all have our ‘blind spot’. Sometimes, we are given certain situations to reveal a pain or negative emotion we didn’t know was still bottled up inside. We’ve all had our share of emotional pain in our lives, right? Yes, for some of us, many times over. It leaves us feeling stuck. We don’t want to feel it, we want it go away and so we try hard to either ignore it or resist it. Have you noticed that it doesn’t work? Actually, it keeps coming back, sometimes stronger!
We end up identifying ourselves to the pain. It becomes the only thing we know about our life and how we live it.
This is what made the huge difference in these people’s lives!
They didn’t ignore their pain, they didn’t resist it. So, they didn’t attach and identify themselves to their struggles and external situations. Their pain transformed into a wave of an inner peaceful state to seeing the beauty of life around them. And, they gave thanks and praise EVERYDAY for all they had!
So, they always got through their struggles by being present in every moment and not miss out on the beauty of life with distractions of what may or may not happen in the future.
It’s not to say that we just sit back and do nothing. It’s not to say that we shouldn’t have dreams. Absolutely NOT!
It’s important to recognize our full potential and pursue our dreams. The world needs our unique gifts! But, we will face struggles and we will feel pain. The struggles and pain are all part of the journey. What I learned from these people is the importance of not holding on to pain; it will only bring about more chaos in our life and the life of those around us. When we stay with it and allow it to pass through, we will be left with a peaceful state which will bring about an appreciation for life. In that peace, wisdom will follow towards moving forward. The pain is there for us to transform and remind us of the beauty in things we may have become immune to. It is not a punishment!
Right now, are your thoughts reminding you of a pain in your life? If so, try taking a few moments to be with it. Don’t judge it or justify it. Just be with it, allow the emotion to pass through. Try to acknowledge the little things and allow the pain to transform into the beauty of all that’s around you. A peace will enter which will bring about wisdom. The wisdom that opens your eyes to see the positive things in your life without doubting that they truly are positive. The wisdom that shows you how to overcome obstacles towards taking any decision or action you need to take.