Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Balancing Act

...of EPIC proportions!

While my time in America was spent playing catch up to my own ambitions, the pace in Thailand has necessitated a nearly complete about face from my previous lifestyle. This thirty year old woman must go back in time, to an age without transportation that's easily available, an age where most people can't understand where she's coming from, an age where basic communication can become a difficult task. It's like one of those body swap movies, but with more lessons...and it lasts two years!

Balance is something I'm used to doing. Family, teaching, acting, dancing, directing, friends, yoga...whatever I'm involved in, I'm involved wholeheartedly. Here in the Land of Smiles, passion seems to be a trend less readily apparent. It's there, but hiding under the surface. Part of it comes from the collectivist mentality that I definitely appreciate, but it does make people hard to read and conversations hard to start.

"What do you want to do?" is a question I ask as a volunteer who is here to serve the needs and wants of a community I have barely entered into. "Up to you, " is the answer more often than not. Okay, I want to work hard every day, build a theatre to give these kids a place to focus their talents, start a garbage collecting program so that I don't breathe in the trash that is burned in front of every house, pass a law requires wearing helmets, and...okay, step back Jessie. 

I balance what I've seen and know with the fact that those around me have lived their lives only seeing these things, and therefore know or desire nothing different. When I see a teacher so excited about his new bamboo beating stick that has a sword-looking hilt to it, I take a breath and remind my co-teacher that this is something that is both illegal in America, and laws have been passed in Thailand as well. The trend continues and I remind myself that it takes time for change to come to remote villages in Thailand.

The balancing act goes on as every dog in the community wants to be my best friend or worst enemy. Coke jumps on me with muddy paws on my way to work, so I go home, change, and walk with a stick I would never actually use on him, but he seems to fear all the same. My bike riding has come to an end while my gears get fixed and my confidence restores from the chase and crash still etched in my memory.

Redefining what I am working for and who I am within my work becomes a daily shift in consciousness as I marry all I thought I came here to learn to all I am truly here learning. I am humbled. I am stretched. I am challenged. I am criticized (by myself for the most part). I am inspired. I am schooled. I am loved (by people I near and far).

My capacity for acceptance has grown beyond my wildest dreams, but I still struggle to find it for myself. I am mainly faced with that fact, and so the journey continues. I continue to work on myself when I find others unavailable. I continue to work on myself when I find others cruel (this is my perception, not their intention, after all). I continue to work on myself when I find a perceived road-block, a wounded soul, a person in need of love (not a beating), another question at the end of my newest answer.

There are many who came before me who have had these same experiences, I'm sure. People who struggled as I do. People who revelled in the joys as I do. People who dream in much the same way I do. I do not claim to be anything more than a person on a journey. I am filled with wonder and humility that you care enough to share in it. And so, I thank you. My friends. My family. My peers. My inspirations. My strangers. My fellow journeyers.

Let us all find the joy in the balancing dance of today.

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