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Zen Peacekeeper.







Where in the world am I?

Friday, May 31, 2013 by Marianne Elliott

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A year ago I wrote a post with the same title. I was embarking on a trip that would take me to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and launch my new passion for radio documentary. At the time I described the trip as ‘a beautiful metaphor for everything that has changed in my life since I last passed through the U.A.E on my way into Afghanistan.’

I no longer worked for the UN (or for anyone apart from myself), had a job title or a salary. I could no longer tell people what I did in one easy sentence. But I had a creative mission, to use radio as a medium to tell stories from Afghanistan that might shift how people see the country and it’s people.

And I was scared. Unsure what it would be like to travel independently in Afghanistan, without an organisation to protect me.

A year later I’m sitting in a cafe in Oakland, California, about to embark on a tour to talk about my book Zen Under Fire, which launches here in the US and in Canada on Tuesday (4 June). This trip reflects another leap of faith, and again, I’m scared.

I’m taking a big punt on my book, investing almost 5 months of my year and a decent amount of my resources to getting it out into the world.


Because I believe in this story. Almost six years after I left Afghanistan and started writing this book, I stand by the story I tried to tell.

It’s a story of our collective hopes for the world – the belief that the world can be a kinder, safer, fairer place – and our desire to do our part to make it so.

It’s a story of how we sometimes lose hope, when we discover we’ve made mistakes – maybe even done some harm – in our efforts to do good.

It’s a story of the transformation we each need to be willing to undergo, if we want our ‘good works’ to actually serve the world and it’s people.

It’s a story of the courage and compassion I encountered in Afghanistan, and how I learned to cultivate that kind of courage and compassion for myself.

It’s a story I needed to tell. And I think it’s a story the world needs to hear.

(NB: You can order your copy of Zen Under Fire now, and if you do, you’ll get free access to an online guide to being ‘Zen Under Fire’ that I’ve created specifically to go along with this book. Learn more about how that works here.)

So that’s where I am in the world. And here’s where I’m going to be for the coming month – as I tour the US and Canada sharing stories from Zen Under Fire and – I hope – having fabulous, and sometimes feisty, conversations that will help fan the flames of the stories you need to tell, and the changes you want to bring in the world.

Here’s the short version:

June 2:  Napa, CA

June 4:  New York, NY

June 5:  New York, NY

June 6:  Boston, MA

June 11: Austin, TX

June 13: Houston, TX

June 14: Los Angeles, CA

June 18: Chicago, Il

June 19: Madison, WI

June 24: Arlington, VA

June 26: Toronto, ON

June 27: Vancouver, BC

July 2:   San Francisco, CA

Get all the details (and links to the Facebook events) here.











(PS: I’m still working on Portland, OR – Seattle, WA – Santa Fe, NM – Boulder, CO)


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