Creating Conflict

Written in November ’12 and apparently I forgot to press publish… This is profoundly entertaining to me because of the topic.  It is also entertaining because I’m in the process of launching my Indiegogo Campaign and I’m trying to make things happen there too… Hmm maybe I need to listen to myself.  Let it flow.

The rumble of impending despair.

Have you ever had one of these days? You know the ones where you wake up and slowly one by one everything begins to go wrong? Well I’ve had one of those in fact I’m having one of those. Phone issues – trying to get to meetings that I’m running late for only to get stuck behind 4 – yes 4 – dirt movers. The dirt movers to me are any massive tractor that I can’t see over and that only goes 10 miles per hour. Obviously this was not a recipe to get to where you are going on time.

Some days I wonder if I’ve had this day solely so that I can blog about it. Hmm. Let me think about that really – did I have a crappy enough day that I’m feeling the urge to blog about it right after feeling like I really wanted to write but couldn’t get inspired? Uh Oh . I did this to myself.

What really struck me and what I wanted to write about though was not screwing oneself by imagining something bad into being, nor was it the meh day itself, but the reminder that I got of my time in Haiti.

I arrived in Haiti one month after the earthquake and stayed for three weeks. While there I did what was needed.  In life I have typically defined my role very specifically, but there I did what was needed. Sometimes that was having a conversation with someone, other times it was meditating.  I translated at UN meetings, and helped with design plans for sustainable communities.  I held babies and got them food. Basically I lived and was helpful where possible.

Things in Haiti took longer than I expected then to. This was typical always. Yes I really meant to emphasize that always is not just an overstatement it was the actual state of things.  I learned through my time there to remove my expectations and simply be in the moment.  Because of this I suffered from far fewer frustrations.

While I believe that we often create the conflict that we need in order to grow, sometimes that lesson isn’t easily learned.  In Haiti, I was practicing presence and being.  It felt wonderful.  Leading back to today’s lesson.  Perhaps what I should have done was simply be aware that I was running behind and enjoy the time I was in instead of  trying to force things that obviously were only going to happen when they were ready. 

In crisis? Remember Your Roots.

I’ve been thinking about the cycle of the year as the leaves begin to show beautiful colors and drift languidly to the ground.  On one level trees appear to be dying.  We know they aren’t because this cycle happens every year in the Northeast. First, the trees change color, then they lose their leaves, and by Winter’s commencement they stand stark as skeletons against the cold and the snow.

But, we also know that every Spring trees bud, sending out new chartreuse leaves to capture the light and grow fully green again. Continue reading “In crisis? Remember Your Roots.”

Dude, Where’s My Luggage?

A multitude of frustrations with my flight into Port au Prince.  I was arriving to help out and instead I was the one asking for help on my first five days.

This all started because on my way to Port au Prince my luggage was not put on the plane with me. While normally this might be understandable, since it was the third leg of my trip, I had picked up my luggage the night before in the Dominican Republic and dropped it off in the morning so it was more like a single flight.

Now, as I’ve understood it law requires luggage to fly with a person, otherwise it is take off. Why was mine not put on my plane? And why was it not there the next day.  And why on subsequent days did I have no luck with anyone answering my phone calls to check to see if it came in? Five calls and none of them answered…

Ultimately, I got my luggage back.  I’ve never been so thankful for having a travel toiletries in my carry on before in my life. And I’ll never fly again without at least one outfit in my carry on.

I guess no matter how frustrating this was at the time it was also ok.  It was ok because I got to experience the generosity of the volunteers around me.  Every day someone handed me a clean set of clothing.  I literally felt like I was living in bounty during a time where I physically had nothing.  So in the end I was able to be shown that no matter what I always have what I need.  That’s pretty amazing and something for which I’m profoundly grateful.

SVN Spring Conference: Haiti Onward

Clothing drying on the line at a Haitian CampThe most emotionally charged session that I attended during the Spring SVN member gathering at Skamania Lodge was Haiti Onward.  In part, this was because the rawness of the earthquake and its aftermath, and in part because of my experience volunteering for several weeks with AMURTEL had me feeling connected deeply to the stories that were shared.  The session touched upon several organizations that are working on revitialization and the rebuilding effort and offered the SVN community the opportunity to be inspired to participate in that effort.  Following are a few brief pictures of what was heard during the session. Continue reading “SVN Spring Conference: Haiti Onward”


While catching up on one of the episodes of House, MD that occurred while I was away in Haiti, I noticed a theme that flowed quite well with my experience. So much so that I paused the video and began to write.

The theme was ‘privacy.’ While House and his team had a short debate on the topic and whether it was a modern innovation, totally unnecessary or socially irrelevant, I began to think of my visit to the town of Cabaret just outside of Port-au-Prince. Continue reading “Privacy”

Heading to Haiti

I’m leaving for Haiti early Monday morning and I am so excited that I am bouncing off the walls!  OK, so, I am not literally bouncing off the walls, I’m just giddy with anticipation.

Well, yes.  I’m heading down to volunteer in any way that I can, and while at it I hope to bring stories of what its like back for people to understand a little better what is going on there, how a country can be made a little more sustainable, and how to restore peace post-disaster.  I expect that while I have a lot of practical knowledge and an MA in Socially Responsible Business and Sustainable Communities from Goddard College I’ll be learning much myself on this trip.

I’m packing right now and the interior of my room is an explosion of outdoor gear, clothing, and donation items.  My conversation with Amurtel further helped me to realize that this is not a typical trip, and my packing list will be drastically different: for instance, I need to bring my own accommodations (a tent, sleeping pad and sleeping bag.)  I guess it’s a good thing that I’m an outdoorsy person and have some of what I need.  But I will need to pick up some fun things like a super lightweight sleeping bag (its in the upper 90’s), (lots of) mosquito repellent, and a small solar charger.  Darn it! <– sarcasm

Some of what I’m bringing for donation:

  • some barely worn t-shirts with me that I had been trying to decide how to re-cycle
  • four freecycled tents and some rope *there are still families living under sheets and the rainy season is about to begin*

I’ve registered with the US Embassy in Haiti, wrapped up (most of) the loose ends with work, set up bill payments (thank God for online banking) and put everyone on notice that I’ll be leaving.

Any support to the success of this trip is welcomed, whether it is financial, prayers, compassionate thoughts, information, connections, equipment, et cetera.  I’ve already managed to engage the interest in a serious investor; the Jersey City-based fourth grade class of Ms. Litman is sending along $350 for the children of Haiti.

I need to go now because I should stop vibrating with excitement and get to everything that needs to be done before I leave.

Oh and on a final note I won’t post here until I return so please check the blog specific to my volunteer time in Haiti if you are interested in more.