Its 4:50 am, and I wake up to the crisp morning air and the sound of monks chanting. Extraordinary. How did I end up staying in a Buddhist monastery? I’m not even sure how I ended up in Nepal. It just kinda’ happened. It wasn’t in my plan whatsoever, it just came to me and it felt right. So I booked a flight just like that.
If there’s one lesson Nepal is trying to teach me then its patience. From the moment I arrived in Kathmandu at what I’m going to label THE WORST AIRPORT EVER, things tested me. And they have continued to do so throughout my stay. Power cuts on the regs, electric shocks, cold showers, chaos, pollution, noooooothing was easy to sort out. But it’s pretty funny at the same time. I just expect everything to go the opposite way of how it should now.
But if anything is to make up for it then it’s the people. They inspire me. They are so strong in heart it leaves me in awe. The suffering these people have been through and continue to live with is unbelievable – but they have not been defeated. Not one bit.
I can still remember clearly watching the news exactly one year ago observing the devastation those terrible earthquakes created. If someone had told me then that I would be standing there one year on I wouldn’t have believed it. But here I am amongst it all. Rubble still filling the streets and wooden pillars holding up buildings.
But it is still beautiful.
The temples, the people, the culture, the faith. It blows me away.
And for people who have lost so much, they give so much! Even if all they have is a cup of tea and a slice of bread, they’ll insist you share it with them. My heart has grown bigger than I thought it could. My life and the lives of these people could not be more different but I have bonded with some of them as if they are my family.
And do you know what I have come to understand even more? These people ARE my family. We are all family. It has made me realise how truly blessed we all are in the western world yet we don’t realise it because we have always been surrounded by it and we expect it.
But the truth is that we don’t have a right to be fortunate just because we were born into a beneficial part of the world. (We were just lucky!) And it is 100% the responsibility of the fortunate ones to help the less fortunate. No exceptions. Everybody in this world is exactly the same. All we want is happiness and to avoid suffering. It is as simple as that. And if we have the ability to reduce someone’s suffering then we should absolutely do that. Every time. No excuses.
It is very easy for us to turn a blind eye. We get so involved in our own worlds and our own problems. It’s easy to project negative judgements on people’s situations to make it easier to ignore their pain.
Why is it a normality to think that love only stretches as far as a handful of people who we are close to? Why should love be rationed? Why is your mother or your father or your child or your partner and so on any different from someone else’s child or mother or father or partner?? Is there truly a difference?
Love does not have limits.
Love does not have boundaries.
It can be as big and as wide as you want it to be.
Let’s stop seeing it as ‘us’ and ‘them’ and decide to connect instead. If that were our loved one in that situation we would not think twice about giving them our all. So what is the difference? The sooner we see through this, the sooner this world will be in peace.
Let’s come together and decide to spread a little compassion. Actually no, scrap that, let’s spread A LOT of compassion. All the compassion we can find within ourselves and then some. Let’s forget about our own problems for a minute and see if we can help another’s. I bet our problems won’t seem quite so dramatic afterwards.
And do you know what? Love attracts love. It’s a win-win.
Let’s stop closing out the strangers around us. They are not obstacles in our way. They are people. Just like you. They feel just like you. They hurt just like you. They had a long day just like you. They want that train seat just as much as you do. They want to eat and survive just as much as you do. They want warmth and love and happiness just as much as you. Let’s take a few extra minutes to stop and notice the ‘others’. And once we’ve noticed, let’s follow that up with some action. Because they’re really just you in disguise.
We forget that sometimes.