Mama Africa. Thank You!


A week ago yesterday, I was in Turkey, waiting for the last leg of my flight back to the US. As I sat in the lounge wafting for the flight to begin boarding, I took time to look at the hundreds of photos I had taken over the past two weeks. You see, I was returning from a multi dimensional trip to the Motherland. My time in Ghana is indescribable. I had no expectations going in, but by the time I left, a new, bolder, and very ambitious vision had taken shape. One that is set to change the course of my life!

One post cannot deliver a suitable narrative for all the things I did, the experiences I reveled in, people I met and formed instant, long-lasting bonds with, and the emotions which overtook me every day.  I spent the first week volunteering at a village orphanage, and would wrap up my two-week stay exploring the sights and sounds of Ghana! What an incredible life-changing and affirming experience.

The overcrowded village orphanage houses more than 140 children and young adults, ranging in ages from 0 to 26 years.  Frequent medical care is needed. At least 2-3 children share a single bunk bed. Children sleep outside on the veranda. School is also held outside and under a mango tree. Many orphans have experienced bullying, when they tried to attend regular schools. Basic toilet/bathroom facilities are nonexistent.  Malaria is prevalent, and some of the children have HIV. The orphanage is in dire straits in many ways, but thriving in some areas. A new facility is being built, but progress has been slow. More on that later.

First I wanted to tell you a bit about some of the children I met, and have now become my adopted 6.  As soon as we pulled up to the volunteer house, six-year-old *Shelly * (names have been changed) and three other girls ran out to meet us. She and I bonded instantly! Shelly has called the orphanage home for the past two years. You see, her mother has sickle-cell anemia, and is often hospitalized for weeks, as she battles the life threatening disease.  The father had long since abandoned her mother. Unable to care for Shelly any longer, she was handed over to the orphanage. Apparently, African men often abandon their families without a second thought.

*Jenny* is smart, beautiful, talkative, and very intelligent. She enjoyed the crossword puzzles I bought, and often asked for help finding difficult words. On my birthday, a celebration was held for me; they sang, some danced, and performed, while I sat at a table looking on. They asked for blessings on my life, health, and everything else. Good thing I had it recorded. Jenny, wrote me a beautiful letter, and by some miracle, gave me a pair of earrings. I don’t know how she did so, but that night as I read the sweet, beautifully penned words, the tears were free-flowing. I don’t know much more about her story (I did ask). Her parents are still alive, however, they don’t visit as often as they use to.

*Erika*, is from a family of 6 siblings, however, she was the only one who ended up at the Orphanage. Apparently, the house they were living in fell down on her mother, killing her. The father left, and she ended up there. The older siblings visit when they could. Erika always has a smile on her face. She is one of 5 girls who were chosen to help out at the volunteer house. Erika works tirelessly, and not once did I hear a complaint. One day, she will become a respected Dentist.

*Deborah*, is one of four siblings at the orphanage. After her father died, her mother was suspected of having a role in the death (this is unfounded). His family shunned her, and she was no longer able to take care of them. She was left to make the heart breaking decision, to turn them over to the Orphanage. *Deborah’s* dream is to one day become a banker.

Deborah’s sister *Hannah* is more quiet and reserved. She reminds me a lot of myself at her age. Still trying to figure out the world around her. I could tell she misses her family being together. I think if I had more than a week there, we would have developed a stronger bond. I could tell something was very much troubling her, and tried to get her to open up, but she held back. The sadness in her eyes broke my heart in so many pieces. She wasn’t interested in much of the activities;however, she did want to skip. So on my last day, I gifted her a pink skipping rope.

*Suzy* was one of the older girls who fixed us delicious meals, and took charge in Auntie B’s absence. She spoke with a smile, and just brought so much joy to the experience of us being there. She is in senior high school, and does a great job of keeping things running smoothly. On our last night, I wrote her and the other girl’s letters of encouragement and support. I could tell they were surprised by the gesture. They all happily returned the favor.

I decided to spend a lot of time with as many kids at the orphanage as I could; their dreams are so much bigger than I had at that time in my life! If you met them on the outside, you would never guess their plight. The stories will break your heart, BUT, the smiles, playfulness, and all around good nature, is beyond anything I have ever seen, from a people who have absolutely nothing. I bought puzzles, games, play doh, stickers etc. You CANNOT imagine how joyful they were to take part in these activities. Once they completed an activity, they were rewarded with stickers. Such a small reward, but to them, it meant so much more. I made sure that on my last day, I would have nothing left over.

As mentioned above, my birthday was spent at the orphanage, and a celebration was held for me. There was music dancing, singing and well wishing. I sat a table, and looked on as the children and adults wished me well. It’s not often I will have the opportunity to spend my birthday in this most special way! I was asked to say a few words, and could only manage just that much, as the tears were free-flowing. As I looked over the faces of so many young ones, I tried very hard to memorize them all. It was incredibly important for me to immortalize this moment. According to tradition, the birthday person supplies the drinks and snacks, and a friend gets the cake. The guide I had been talking to for more than a year, before my trip, did just that. The pure delight at being treated to something so simple and abundant in the West, brought me to tears. We gave out seconds and thirds. My heart was heavy, and bursting with so much love for people, I had only known for a few days.

It was very difficult to say goodbye, especially to *Shelly*. As we piled into the SUV to leave for the last time, she and I started crying. We hugged for a long time, but it wasn’t enough, could never be enough. I hoped she knew how much I had come to love her, and just how much I plan on helping her for as long, as I walk this earth. I left a donation to the orphanage, and two of the girls for simple things they needed. I knew then, what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. I will always have more than I will ever need. I made a choice to help change the generations that will come from these loving and gentle souls.

My British bestie, Maggie, joined me for the second part of the trip. It was a perfect way to wrap up my first visit to the motherland. We journeyed to Cape Coast; the main attraction is the slave castle, which once housed thousands of slaves, before they were shipped off to the Americas and Caribbean, bound for a life, they were certainly afraid of. We saw the room and conditions the rebellious slaves were kept in. After being publicly flogged, they were left to die in a windowless room. No food or water was given. A soldier would occasionally check in, to see if they had passed on. Once this was the case, the bodies were dumped in the ocean. For effect, the guide closed the door for less than a minute, while we were inside. Chilling.

We toured the male dungeons, where coincidentally, church services were held just above. Female slaves and children were housed together. We saw the observation rooms, where soldiers stood guard and kept on eye out for any planned rebellions. To overcome the language barrier, spies were planted among real slaves. Their sole purpose was to bring back word to the Governors.  The Door of No Return symbolized the end of one nightmare, and the beginning of another. Once the slaves passed through, they were loaded onto ships, bound for their new homes. I now understand fully, the meaning of the phrase “Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, for they knew that death was better than bondage”

It was also in Cape Coast, where I was blessed with a beautiful African Naming and Welcome Home Ceremony. The proceedings were watched over, and performed by the third Queen of the one of the tribes, and a village Father. The love, warmth, welcome, and total acceptance directed at me, was indescribable. I honestly felt that I was HOME. The Queen invited me to visit her home, the next time I’m in Ghana. For now, she welcomed me back, and expressed gratitude for the visit. It was a proud moment.

Back in Accra, we got involved in so many activities; survived the infamous, and nerve-racking canopy walk at Kakum National Park, toured the magnificent Aburi Botanical Gardens, visited the Mausoleum of the country’s first prime minister, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, learned how to play drums, ate too much delicious, freshly prepared dishes. Shopping is quite the experience, as we left it up to our guide to haggle for us. We had to spend the last night at the DC 10 Restaurant. It’s housed in an old airplane, formerly belonging to Ghana Airlines. We got dressed up in matching outfits. While waiting in the lobby for our guide/driver, we attracted the attention of the male hotel guests, who began taking our photos:). The front desk clerk asked if it was okay, to place the photo on the website.  How cool is that?!

I’m back in the US now, and trying to catch up on my projects, business, and platforms. I had the most amazing time in Ghana. There is work for me to do, and a lot of newly adopted kids who to help. Working in Social Services, I know the difference it makes in the lives of my clients. However, the work I’m about to embark on, is so much bigger than anything I have ever done. I’m asking for prayers to guide my steps. My heart is full, my eyes are wet, so help me Lord, lest I forget.

A myriad of life choices led me to a small village in Ghana, where I am convinced; they were waiting to change my life, instead of the other way around. I have been given much, and now I must share with those who have nothing, in ways I’ve never dreamed of. Thank you Mama Africa, and especially to the wonderfully kind people of Ghana…till we meet again.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

Will U B The 1?


Jack Kerouac once said: “I don’t know, I don’t care, and it does not make any difference”. This quote appears counterproductive to the point I am trying to make in today’s blog. We’ve all uttered these words. Perhaps, in a futile attempt get someone to stop hounding us about an insurmountable problem. The title of this post might lead some to believe it is about finding the love of their lives. Knowing the signs. And person. To avoid. Etc. Sorry to disappoint.

Today’s post is a horse of a different color. Cliche. It’s about making a difference. In the life of one. Amidst the ills and strife in the world. The Ponzi schemers. Dodgy politicians. Stories of death.Hunger.Starvation.Natural disasters.Animal cruelty.Child slave labor. Civil wars and the resulting death toll. Dictators defying the UN.Human trafficking. Add to this list. Is it any wonder many are disconcerted?Weighed down by heavy burdens of helplessness? Guilt for not knowing what to do. Surely someone else with more prestige, and power,would do a better job. My small, sometimes insignificant efforts don’t really matter. Do they? A band-aid is ineffectual against a gushing wound.

Here is an invitation to consider a different perspective.We are familiar with the Starfish Story. Motivational speakers have used it to energize crowds. And light fires in hearts. Read it here  The Star Thrower. Whether we do a random act of kindness.Volunteer. Or go the extra mile. One simple act can change lives. And restore faith. To the one who received it. And perchance, to the person who saw our selfless example.

Every day the media greets us with one crisis after another. At the forefront is the major humanitarian crisis in East Africa. The unthinkable crimes in the Syrian cities, such as Homs. Let’s not forget the genocides of the early 1990’s. I have often wondered, how can these things be allowed to happen? How can millions starve to death on one continent, while food is being discarded everyday on another? How can one dictator be allowed wreak havoc on people’s lives? We all have questions. And watered down philosophies with which to answer. Not forgetting eloquently spoken rhetorics. It does nothing for the those who are suffering. In the eyes of world. Or the neighbor next door.

Maybe you and I cannot do much for the hunger crisis in East Africa. Maybe we are powerless to go into Syria. And confront the cowards who ruthlessly and methodically take lives to scare. And control. Maybe we can’t bring the men without souls from the Congo, and other areas of the world, in front of the ICC. Try them for kidnapping boys and girls under 15, and force them to take part in hostilities. Justice or karma does prevail, as it did in this case; Well Done . However, we simply can’t stand by. And wait around.

We may not have the money and star power of well-known philanthropists. Or rock stars. The great Muhammad Ali once stated: “You lose nothing when fighting for a cause. In my mind the losers are those who don’t have a cause they care about”. However, we can raise awareness. We can infect our communities with our passion. And enthusiasm. And pray the infection spreads. Like a virus. And contaminate thousands more. We can hold a garage sale. And give the proceeds to charity. We can host a dinner party for friends, present information, and brainstorm ideas of how you can band together. And do something. Most people will help if asked. We don’t have to feel helpless. We don’t have do it alone.We can dedicate a day’s pay or more if you can afford it, to a cause. This site www.onedayswages.org shows you how to do this. Do you draw? Paint? Are you good with your hands? Perhaps you can sell crafts at a fair. And give away all the proceeds.

Here are more ideas by Karen Chaffe. We can help. In our own backyard. Volunteer to read to the elderly or to tutor the young or illiterate. Organize the planting of a community garden in a vacant lot where those on low or fixed incomes can give to putting more food on the table. Donate at or to a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, or a shelter for abused women and children. Start a neighborhood watch group to help lower crime. Adopt an impoverished family for the holidays, or any day, through your church or place of business. Help them with food and clothing. Start a book drive and make them available to the disabled or to children who have none at home. Cook a meal or run an errand for an elderly, ill, or person with a disability, or a veteran. Involve your children when you can. They will learn by your example.

Permit me to revisit the starfish story before concluding. It is possible the youngster did not save the life of every starfish he threw back into the water. Maybe some of them died. However, for the one (s) that made it? It made a difference.We will not solve all the problems in the world. Truthfully, the problems will remain. Long after you and I have fallen asleep for the last time. Nevertheless while we are here, we have life. And hope. The hope of making a difference in the life of one. Remember how you felt as the recipient of a kind act. You did not ask. Nor hinted you needed help. The person somehow knew.

Who needs our help today? The homeless. The lonely, elderly neighbor. The mother with a mentally disabled child. The person you served his only meal for the day, at the soup kitchen. The animal left for dead, but whom you nursed back to health. The child you sponsored in Africa. And the generations you helped to save. The seat you gave up on public transport. The pro bono work you did for the one who could not pay. The run/walk you completed to raise awareness for a global cause. Shall I continue? No. You get it. Someone benefitted. The one whose faith in humanity you helped to restore. The one who now has more hope for tomorrow.The prayer you just answered.

Time does not allow me to cover all the issues I wanted to get across. I hope we feel a renewed sense of purpose. Remember,we might never see the results of our actions. Perhaps no one will thank us. The situation won’t change much. Perhaps people will question our ability to take matters into our own hands. Then again, we may see small changes.Our actions can spur a movement. A revolution.The march you took part in could result in legislative changes.Or help to create new laws. You can help someone see a better way. After so many have tried. And failed. Someone could be waiting on you to call on them today. This minute. Regardless of how things turn out, the greatest mistake you and I can ever make is to do nothing.

I must thank my fellow blogger and friend Paul, for “planting” the idea in my head to write about this topic. I’m a follower of his blog for a reason. You can check it out here www.mazunguman.com . Our conversation has led me to make a more concentrated effort in learning how to recognize the one who needs my help.

Enjoy one of my favorite songs of all time; Circle of Life

Until the next post, can one person make a difference? You bet.

Best,

Juan

IF This Was My Last Blog Post..


We never forget defining moments. Where we were. And what we were doing. The Oklahoma City bombing. Sept 11th 2001. The capture of Hussein. And Bin Laden. The minute Obama became president. The death of Michael Jackson. And now Whitney Houston. When a famous personality departs this life, shock, and sadness are expected. The entire world mourns. Understandably so. However, the devil’s advocate in me must ask, are we sad and mournful when countless children die every day from lack of food, and clean water? No. Do their stories make headline news? No. Is there a world while outpouring of grief? No.

Let me hasten to add, I loved Whitney Houston. Loved her music. The woman was a superstar. She blessed us all with a voice that beckons the soul. And stirred hearts. I danced to her songs. Following the loss of my first love, I cried waterfalls every time I heard “I Will Always Love You”. When The Bodyguard was released, I sat like a sardine, in a cinema with temps rivaling the Sahara desert. Because it was the movie everyone had to see. The point is, let us spare a thought for the children dying every day. Can we? Let us remember them in our prayers. In acts of service. Mourn for the loss of young lives. Hopes. And dreams. That will never be. They were snuffed out by starvation. Hunger. Malnutrition. Yes. I know we cannot save them all. But we can save some. Anyway, my soap box has now been placed under my bed. For now.

When the world loses a well-loved figure, naturally, it engenders feelings of your own mortality. I mulled over what I would write about if this was my last blog post. What I would want people to remember? Here are a few the things I would want my readers to be aware of.

(1) I would want you to become aware of the work of Zainab Salbi. One of my heroes. And founder of WFWI . I have pledge my full support behind this organization. WFWI helps women in war torn countries. They have been used as weapons of war. They were raped. Tortured. Abused. Suffered loss of limbs. They have survived genocide. Civil wars. Loss of spouse. And many other atrocities.  Along these lines, I would encourage my readers to choose a passion. A cause. And fight for it. Leave it better than you found it. Make your contribution. In your own way. Don’t stand by. And do nothing. So many people can use your help. The great Muhammad Ali once said: “You lose nothing when fighting for a cause … In my mind the losers are those who don’t have a cause they care about.”

(2) I did what I could with the time and resources given to me. Yes, there were many false starts. Roadblocks. Harsh learning experiences. However, using the knowledge. Experiences. And skills I had, I did what I could to stay standing. I made the majority of my decisions on my own. I took forever + 1 day to figure out everything happens for a reason. People will disappoint you. Cause you grief. Hurt you over and over (if you let them). Break your heart. Let you down. Stab you in the back. But I kept going. TBH, I had no other choice in most cases. Many watched.  Some judged. Others accepted. The rest turned away. I am who I am today, because of where I came from. What I endured. And the choices I made.  One of my favorite songs is “I did it my way” by the man. The legend. Frank Sinatra. Who remembers this quote by Judy Garland? “Always is a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

(3) Despite tremendously painful experiences in my love life. I chose not to give up on it. And the beautiful experience it could be. I still hope (d) to find someone who shares my passions. Drives. Hopes. Dreams. Love of laughter. The husband whose eyes I meet across a very crowded room, and the contact makes me breathless. My palms get sweaty. Heart rate increases. A man who still gives me butterflies 50 years later. He lets me make mistakes. Because he loves me enough to let me find my way. He is in it for the long haul. He makes all my ex’s look like backyard experiments. Because the search is over. It will not take an act of congress for me to love again. I was/am ready. You catch my drift. I love this quote: “When you ex says: you will never find anyone like me, reply with: that’s the point” Anonymous.

(4) Do not lose sight of your dreams. EVER. I recently published my first anthology of poems Have a Read On Me, two decades after being stung by the writing bug. As a teenager, I sat in a fifth form English class, and listened with pride as the teacher read my short story (along with a few others) to the entire class. This is how monsters are created! Is there is something you want? Go for it. No. Scrap that. Chase it. Pursue it. Relentlessly. Leave the naysayers in the dust. And proverbial wet blankets? Let the door hit them on their way out of your life. Do it. Do what makes you happy. Live your dreams. I love, love, yes love this quote: “Listen– are you breathing just a little, and calling it life?” -Mary Oliver

(5) It’s okay to apologize even though you did no wrong. Yes, you read right! “Apologizing doesn’t always mean that you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means that you value your relationship more than your ego”. Before I learnt this valuable lesson, I was there. Holding  the apology until I absolutely had to give it. That was until I saw what it was doing to my spirit. Hear me out. I am not saying to walk around apologizing to everyone. For everything. You will know when it’s needed.  It might be to settle an argument. Soothe hurt feelings. Or just be the bigger person. Try it soon. Sincerely apologize for something you did not do. Use it as a way of opening a dialogue. You will be surprised. I think it was Harriet Beecher Stowe (1865) who said “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and for deeds left undone”

(6) You have the right to forgive yourself anytime you want. Seriously.We are too hard on ourselves. Somehow, we’ve become experts at self-fulfilling prophecies. And social aggrandization. Comparing ourselves to others. Dissecting our failures. Playing host to doubts. Being our own worst enemy. Holding onto things we have done wrong. On and on. And on. Let it go. Forgive yourself. Tomorrow is another day. To start fresh. To move on from this latest failure. The very public fall from grace. It’s the day to look in the mirror. Smile. And say to yourself: “Don’t worry, I got this”. Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.Anonymous

(7) If money was not an option: I would work only 6 months out of the year. Volunteer for three. And spend the other three travelling. Life is a rat race. I believe it should also be well-balanced. We work very hard. With very little time to enjoy the benefits. I would volunteer in Africa for a month. Spend another at a shelter for abused women, and the last at a local humane society. As for travelling, I would spend a month in my favorite place. Another in the places I have only seen in my dreams. The last would be determined by closing my eyes and blindly picking a spot on the world map. Dr Kathleen Hall said: “We have overstretched our personal boundaries and forgotten that true happiness comes from living an authentic life fueled with a sense of purpose and balance.”

In closing, the list above is far from exhaustive. However, these are the things I felt impressed to share. Live. Love. Laugh. Forgive. And while you are at it remember this saying: “Life is the ticket to the greatest show on earth!”

So, if you were writing a final epistle, what are some of the things you would include?

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

Cross…..sdaoR…..


It’s a New Year. New starts. Resolutions.Do’s. Don’ts.Decisions. Making them.Keeping them.Hoping you get it right. Let’s get this party started!

I was talking with a friend a few weeks ago. Our conversations are generally easy. Like a comfortable chat with someone you’ve known for a bit. I explained some of my growing frustrations. My friend thought I was in a “waiting room” of sorts. Yes. You know. The waiting room of life. Consider this analogy. You are waiting to see your GP/PCP.  You know. The interminable wait: to see the good doc for a few minutes. When the nurse assistant appears/the monitor beeps. Everything else fades. You hold your breath. Heart rate momentarily increases. Eyes and ears strain to hear/see your name. Unconsciously, you reach for your belongings. It has to be you. No one else has waited as long, have they? If only you could get through the first door. To the next waiting room. You will be one step closer to seeing the health magician. But alas. Joe Schmo gets called. You swallow the bitter taste of disappointment. Enter reality. Maybe next time. For now, it’s back to the waiting game. The cycle of it all.

Has your life ever felt that way? As if you are stuck in reverse? You arrive at a destination. Precious time and sacrifices got you there. The plan succeeded. But now what? What’s beyond this goal? You can’t shake the feeling that something is missing. Do you long to travel? Perhaps get a new job. Enter into the relationship you finally have time for. Mend another. Declutter your life. Move away. Whatever the situation. You can’t move on until you get past this. Whatever this happens to be. For us. If you’ve been there. Or you are here. Chances are you have arrived at a Crossroad in life. What happens next will change your life. For the better. Worse. Or maybe it wont. Once we find ourselves at a Crossroad, how should we proceed? How can we be certain we are making the right decisions? Decisions that will impact you. And future generations.

As 2011 drew to a close, I looked back on the things I accomplished this past year. A sudden realisation struck me : it’s as if my life is just beginning! As such, I feel as if I am waiting for the next big adventure. The next big conquest. Before I kick it, I want to teach in Africa. Sudan is on my mind. It will take 1-2 years before this goal is realized. For now, however, I am once again face-to-face with this incurable disease of wanderlust. It’s back. Never left. I applied a small band-aid to a gushing wound when I made the decision to study in the UK. But alas as it always does, time came knocking. The band-aid has been rendered useless. As I knew it would. The wound has been reopened. No band aid will fix it this time around. It’s time to apply firm pressure, and perhaps a visit to places, situations, and relationships which will soothe my soul and provide healing. Decisions that will cause me to choose a particular fork in the road, versus another. Questions should not be turned into a bunch of jumbled up musings. Where do I go from here?  I know one thing for certain. If and when I get to old age, I would rather regret the things I did do, instead of the things I did not do.

I know the typical answers. Pray. Done. Find a purpose and fight for it. Check. Develop new passions. Double-check.Yep. The whole lot. Having made up my mind on what I wanted to do, I thought my readers would like to hear another perspective. While at uni, I met a truly wonderful human being. Her name is Antje Goldner. She willingly agreed to contribute to this piece. I am grateful for her response. I am a regular reader of her blog, click on the link below to find out why.

Here is Antje’s take :

“Recently, while I was home in southern Germany, I went with my family on a walk organized by a local historian, who took us on a pretty hike and stopped at certain points along the way to give little talks on some historical events or facts connected to that area. Towards the end of the hike he stopped at a quiet little crossroad to tell us a local legend of how the people in the village nearby used to believe that the devil would manifest itself at this spot on New Year’s Eve, just at the stroke of midnight. He added that in medieval times, crossroads in general were considered unlucky and frightening. This made me think of all those legendary blues musicians from the southern states of the USA, who were said to have stayed out on an empty country crossroad over night to meet the devil, giving it their souls in exchange for the ability to play their instruments better than anyone else.

How come that crossroads are feared the same in different cultures and throughout different times? I guess it has something to do with insecurity. At a crossroad you have to make a choice and usually, you have to make it by yourself. Maybe you have to leave a well-travelled path and choose one that is only the merest outline on the ground. Or you are afraid of losing your own way by choosing one that a lot of people have gone already. Whichever way you choose, you don’t know where it will lead; you don’t know who you will meet along the way, who you will have to leave behind, how you will change by walking that road. Most importantly: you don’t know if your choice will be the right one.

I used to agonize over this. I think everyone does at some point in their lives. Some people never stop. If you are one of those people, I have a thought for you: how do you know if a direction you took was wrong or right? You will never know! You will never be able to go back and take that exact same decision at that exact same crossroad again. Even if you were able to go back to the crossroad, it would not be the same, because you would have a whole set of new experiences with you. So if you cannot know, there is no need to dither, or to agonize. Once I fully realized this, I stopped worrying about those frightening crossroads. Nowadays, I just take the one that feels or looks right at that point. It works for me. I travel lighter, and if I feel that my path is not perfect, I don’t think about going back and taking another road – I think about how I can improve the road I am on.

If you are still standing at your crossroad, unable to move on, insecure, unsure – remember that the only difference between the one road and the other is quite simply your choice. By choosing one road above another, you make it different. You make it yours. And once you are past that crossroad, don’t think about it again. Believe me, it’s not worth it. Instead, keep your energy and your attention to the path you are walking on now. Look out for the little surprises along the way – the unexpected vistas, the flowers growing in colourful clumps here and there, your fellow travellers who will make you laugh and cry. Keep your eyes open and appreciate the details and you will be surprised by what you see. And if you still find that you don’t like this path, don’t worry: there’s another crossroad coming up, right behind the next bend in the road”.

Antje (http://crestingthewords.wordpress.com)

Finally, if you are struggling with where to go. What to do. How to get there. Pray about what is best for you. Act upon the promptings you will receive. Once you have made the decision. Do it. Try not to waver. Or wonder about the “what if’s” in life. They will always be there. Whether or not you succeed. Or fail. Think about the choices that have brought you to this point. There is no do over. But there are fresh starts. Millions crave the opportunities that we have. We have freedom. Health. Hope. Opportunity. You name it. You know your blessings. You are the only person standing in your way.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan