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Riding the Highs and Lows

There are three things you can do when life sends a wave at you. You can run from it, but then it’s going to catch up and knock you down. You can also fall back on your ego and try to stand your ground, but then it’s still going to clobber you. Or you can use it as an opportunity to go deep, and transform yourself to match the circumstances …

There I sat in perfect wonder. 

Amazed by the clarity with which I saw the world unfolding around me. Something so small as waiting to eat, when done together can make you appreciate the act of eating a number of degrees more. It was an elevation of the senses enacted by my own appreciation for the things that I had, the culture in which I was completely immersed. A part of me wanted to capture the moment, go back to my lonely apartment and retrieve my expensive mirrorless. Become a tourist again and set myself apart from the stage of events. And yet, I held back and decided to dive. To allow myself to become part of the scene instead of an outsider gazing in, trying to figure out how best to frame the circumstances to send home to family and friends. Breaking fast.

I’ve come to realize that the harder I try to immortalize reality, the further and further I get from experiencing the reality myself in the moment.

And here was ample opportunity to express my joy in picture form. The fundamental wildness and exoticism of the present. Surrounded by men and women dressed in traditional Muslim garb. The sound and smells of a village school cafeteria being stuffed to the gills with food and people. Little children laughing and playing. Furtive glances in my direction. The smiling, pointing, waving. Singing voices of Islamic chant in the background. Dishes of delicious somethings in my immediate foreground. Hands, bodies, and faces pressing in from my right and left. Fans blowing. The all consuming heat and humidity lifted for a moment as dusk slowly settles and rain begins to fall in torrential waves. Light and heavy. It is here that I find myself sitting in awe.

Amazed that I am here and alive.

For once, there is a shamelessness in the act of living, of being happy and not afraid. Letting go of the expectation to face gaping pitfalls and to suffer. To make a fool of myself for the pleasure of others. There is a tendency I think, for us to play down the actual beauty of life in exchange for a more superficial notion of what it is that we think others want to hear and see. And part of it is for ourselves really, to make absolutely sure that we don’t sell ourselves the hope of something more than what we have. To come down from our high in fits and starts. Finding out that this feeling of pure, unabashed contentedness cannot last mainly, because it was never meant to.

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