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Zen Peacekeeper.







I remember

Saturday, August 18, 2012 by Marianne Elliott

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While I’m on this silent writing retreat, I’m just going to post some of my morning writing practices. They may have nothing to do with what I usually write about here. Except that they are about the process of writing. If you want to join me, it is simple. Set a timer for ten minutes and start writing, using the prompt. Keep your hand moving. 

Ten minute writing practice – prompt: I remember

Every morning before I eat, I remember this: I have food while some have none.

And every morning I remember you. I remember your email telling me about the time, when you were a boy, that you found the bodies of 40 people – men, women and children – who had starved because of the terrible drought. And I remember sitting with you on the patio in Herat in May this year, when you told me that you were worried about this winter, worried that too many people would not have enough food to get through.

And then the tears start to come, and I lose my appetite. I look at the strawberry pancakes on my plate and wonder how I can eat them, remembering you.

So I have to think back further. I remember when I wrote to you, soon after I left Afghanistan and was home in New Zealand. I told you I was finding it hard to enjoy being home. I was finding it hard to enjoy my walks over Mt Victoria, my morning coffee in the sun with Andrew, because every time I noticed how happy I was I would be struck by guilt. I would think of you, of all of you still in Chegcharan. Still in danger, still hungry, still not sure what the future holds for you.

And I remember what you wrote to me then.

You told me the problem is not that I can walk in the park without fear of landmines, or American drones or Taleban bombers. The problem is not that I can eat fresh strawberries and creamy yoghurt. The problem is that you still cannot.

You told me to enjoy it all. Enjoy it, savor it, be nourished by it. And then, you said, ‘Take that joy and that strength and keep doing all you can to make sure we can enjoy these things too.’

So this morning I said a prayer. I prayed that everyone in Afghanistan will one day be able to walk in a park without fear. I prayed that one day everyone in Afghanistan will have enough to eat.

And then I ate my pancakes, slowly chewing each bite, enjoying, savoring, allowing them to nourish me.

And then I sat down to write this. Because for today, the only work I know to do for you, is to keep telling these stories. The only thing I can do from here, in Taos, New Mexico, is to share what you have taught me.


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