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Talking to the blog

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 by Marianne Elliott

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Okay, so this is my third post in one day, my sixth in a week. I think I can admit that I'm feeling a little bit isolated and missing having easy access to my people to talk things over with.

This has been one heck of a week for me. Professionally and personally this crisis has stretched me. I'm out of my depth and trying to learn faster than I suspect is possible without making potentially deadly mistakes.

What I want are people to talk it over with, and all the people I would usually talk to are far, far away and this week the phones are not my friends. I'm missing the connections, or the moments I have free to talk turn out to be the middle of the night in whichever continent my loved ones are sleeping.

So I'm blogging. Or writing emails and sending them off into the night, knowing that they'll not be read until sometime when I myself am fast asleep.

One of the approaches I was planning to use to help maintain balance in these stressful times was yoga. When I was living in Kabul I discovered yoga, and twice a week I met up with a group of people, mostly women, to practice yoga with. I loved it, some weeks I felt as though it was the only thing keeping me in one piece. But now I am here in Herat and without anyone to practice with I am finding it incredibly hard to find the discipline to roll out my mat and be quiet with the practice.

Instead I'm finding release and relaxation through running, which has been a reliable method for me over a number of years. I love the rhythm of it and the sense of achievement when I run further or faster than I could the day or week before. I love the chemical kick I get out of it. Running is an easy and dependable fix for me. But yoga was going to be my balance, the ying fto match the yang of running. Where running fulfilled my desire for goal oriented achievement and the external pay off of miles covered or hills climbed, yoga was going to help me be present in the moment and accept the journey without pressing towards externally measurable goals.

Well, may be tomorrow the mat will look more welcoming. For tonight, since I'm pouring out my ramblings, here is a letter to a precious cousin that gives a sense of the paths my thoughts are following.

Dearest M,

I'm not always sure what kind of journey I'm on here. Some days it seems like an amazing opportunity to learn so much more about life and about my own potential. Other days it feels like a lesson in how wrong we can all be – how badly humans can mess up their lives, their environments and their communities – and on those days it's not clear to me at all what difference it makes that I am here.

On those days I think about you, and the other people I love at home, and I think that there is not so much to be gained from being here, in the midst of all this mess, and pain and violence and suffering. I think that I should be home, making the most of the wonderful people I have in my life.

And then I realise that there are some wonderful people in my life here, and that I would never have known them and never learned the things I have learned from them if I hadn't come here.

Well, you can probably tell that this path is not the kind that you set out upon and then never look back. Perhaps I'm not looking back, but I certainly find lots of occasions to revisit the question of why I am here, what I am here to do and whether it remains the right place for me to be and the right thing to be doing.

Maybe that is healthy – perhaps it is a mistake to become so settled and comfortable in our lives that we stop reflecting on whether we are living the best life we can be living. Certainly there is no such comfort for me here, at least not yet.

I do think that it is a good and healthy thing to reflect, to examine our lives and to be ready to admit and act upon the need for change. But I also think that we need, as a perhaps basic human needs, some balance to that – some sense of stability and confidence in our choices and out paths.

I'm sharing all this because I imagine that you must be learning a lot about the need for a balance between reflecting on your choices and examining the path you have chosen, on the one hand, and feeling some certainty and confidence in your choices, on the other.

So for these very different reasons, I feel as though we might be learning some of the same lessons.

I don't know if it was on the news in NZ but we had some pretty bad factional fighting this week after the heads of two different tribal groups were killed – one in retaliation for the other. I'm in charge of the office this week so it falls on me to try and represent the organisation in these circumstances. I'm out of my depth and learning to trust my instinct and take everything slowly – stop and take deep breaths before I speak and act, but then on the other hand trust myself to speak and act wisely when I have to act fast.

Anyway, I've been thinking of you and S.

All my love,



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2 Responses to "Talking to the blog"

  1. Alex aka Gypsy Girl says:

    This post has been removed by the author.

  2. Alex aka Gypsy Girl says:

    Frida,I’ve been reading all your posts today. I want to know your story. I couldn’t tell you how powerful I think your work is over there… It speaks so much to me. I’m away from my country and my tribe too, and although my experience can’t be even remotely compared to the greatness of yours, I can certainly relate to all of your questions. Am I in the right place and doing what I am supposed to do? Is this the right path for me? I’m in a huge transition right now, looking for my true life’s work. Thanks for sharing. It makes me feel sane, supported and inspired to follow my heart.

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