Day 17 & 18 & 19: A Sentence(ish) Each

15 Jan

I’m a little behind in my blogging. I was out of town over the weekend and while I was checking off my tasks, I wasn’t blogging about them primarily because I knew that as important as this project is for me, I only had 2 days with my partner and I needed to prioritize that quality time. But I’m getting back on the bandwagon now, only considering how much content there is, I’m going to try and write only one sentence(ish) to capture each of the different items!

Day 17:

Three Sources of Gratitude:

  • Being American: Originally I intended to dedicate an entire blog just to to this topic, but, in the name of brevity, I have instead a story from my book, which highlights not the usual reasons being American is generally great (standard of living, access to opportunities, long lifespan etc) but the privilege of being American: in the global spectrum, Americans (even as individuals) often have more weight, more power, are taken more seriously.

Dr. Kayode explained that Ramatou probably had eclampsia, a pregnancy complication that kills about fifty thousand women a year in the developing world. So she needed a cesarean section; one the baby was out, the convulsions would end as well. Ramatou was a mother of six, thirty-seven years old, and her life was ebbing away in the little hospital waiting room…

The Zinder clinic, it turned out, was part of a pilot program in Niger arranged by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and AMDD to fight maternal mortality. As a result, all the materials needed for a C-section were kept in sealed plastic bags and available if the family paid $42. That was a great improvement over the previous approach of having the families run all over town, spending far more to buy bandages here, guaze there, scalpels somewhere else. But what if Ramatou’s family didn’t have $42?

In that case, she would probably die. “If the family says they have no money, then you have a problem,” Dr. Kayode acknowledged. “Sometimes you help, with the expectation that you will be paid back. At the beginning, I helped a lot, but then afterward people didn’t pay me back.” He shruged, and aded: “It depends on the mood. If the staff feel they can’t pay out again, then you just wait and watch. And sometimes she dies.” Still the hopspital staff didn’t want Ramatou to die with us watching. The nurse wheeled her into the operating room…

Excerpt From Half The Sky

  • Women’s Organizations: There are a slew of organizations listed in Half the Sky all doing incredible work to help some of the worlds more marginalized and disenfranchised souls.
  • The Appreciation for Art: Investing in art is often controversial, but to me the biggest argument is for the creator. Creating art is a healthy form of expression (my art is my writing but for other’s is maybe more abstract, more tactile, more visual). I’m grateful art exists, and even more grateful that people (like those who have read my blog) are around to appreciate and thereby reinforce its existence.

Exercise: My friend L and I caught up and lifted our spirits by attending a very warm Vinyasa Flow class followed by a trek for smoothies!

One Positive Experience: Walking down Broadway we asked a man for directions, and while he didn’t know where the smoothie shop we were looking for was located, he did stop and chat and even gave us some free samples of Sabon Soap, some of the sweetest smelling bath products I’ve ever come across! Ingredient list included gum drops, bubbles, and fairy dust.

Meditation/Reflection: How do you tell the difference between the lack of interest and the fear of failure? I haven’t settled on the answer yet…

Conscious Act of Kindness: The most important things to know about S: she looks at the world differently, she is passionate about human injustices, and she is brave enough to do something about it.

Day 18:

Three Sources of Gratitude:

  • “Small Word” Moments: I like expanding my bubbles, but sometimes it’s nice to know that all the bubbles in the world aren’t as expansive as you think they are.
  • Meeting your Friend’s Friends: It’s nice meeting people you’ve heard a lot about but never met, and then you see your mutual friend in their company, relaxed and pleased: sheds a new light on an old friendship.
  • A Sense of History: It’s a little bit meta but what if our sense of history, our relationship with time was so short that we didn’t recall anything beyond our individual lifespan? Or what if it was even less than that? I think history helps with perspective, and happiness (as this project explores) is very much about perspective.

Exercise: Yoga with a first-timer, twas special.

One Positive Experience: Cuddles and laughter and watching West Wing with your partner. One day I might get used to these things and fail to appreciate them, but at this point in time, they are rare gifts. So I try to focus on how special the moments become instead of how infrequently they come by.

Meditation/Reflection: At the end of my yoga class I tried to practice stillness for just a few minutes— it was hard, I didn’t do a good job, but I’ll try again next class.

Conscious Act of Kindness: I met some new friends today (friends of friends actually) and had such a wonderful time. So I just sent a little note saying exactly that!

Day 19:

Three Sources of Gratitude:

  • Rest: I take rest for granted by not appreciating how important it is to my focus, my health, and my happiness; so for the rest of the week I’m going to reverse that (go to bed earlier
  • Feeling Dumb: To be frank, I hate the feeling of being dumb. BUT I’m trying to reframe this word…the moments where you feel the lowest, especially dumb, are also the greatest opportunity to rise up and show some grit. Recover, pummel through anyway, just keep going. Let’s see if the reframing works!
  • Hands: Inspired by Kodi Azari’s The Perfect Human Hand from The Moth radio

Exercise: Confession! I didn’t actually exercise today! A friend was feeling down so I skipped the gym and cooked us dinner instead and then fell asleep before doing nightcap yoga. My first “non-travel” day of missing exercise. I’m pretty bummed and am brainstorming what to do to compensate….

One Positive Experience: Ran into a friend on the bus! Blissful little moments.

Meditation/Reflection: I always though if you really wanted something it would crystal clear sans doubt, but I’m learning to accept that it’s not so; the forces of inertia and the sub-conscious can still tug at you (your ropes).

Conscious Act of Kindness: A has been a good friend to me for years– loyal, honest, and generous. Recently we’ve not been talking as much, which is all the more reason to send a little reminder note.

And In Conclusion:

I fail about being concise.

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