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Las tres hermanas

One chilly autumn night, the three of us sat around reflecting under these little indoor twinkling lights. As we admired a quiet street outside covered in leaves while sipping a giant milkshake with three straws, Priya asked Athena and I about five significant events in our lives. She described it as any experience that has changed the course of our lives permanently. When I started to think back, I was reminded of being truly grateful for an abundance of experiences that have forever impacted my perspective but even more  blessed for family and friends from all over the world that have allowed me to share in their inimitable events and took part in mine.

An experience that  stretched my whole being and formed an undeniable place in my soul; when I screamed at the top of my lungs as the three of us felt a 15 ft sudden drop speeding up and down those massive sand hills. The driver laughed hysterically at my unpleasant surprise of what I thought a sand buggy ride would be in the  Peruvian desert. Apparently it was time to face my fear of heights, right outside the little oasis town of Huacachina aka home for a chilling gang of street dogs. In those frightening moments of several unexpected drops; I had to surrender to my fear , shout it out, let go of any control and put my trust in the driver. And I promise gently consistent fearlessness will trickle in.

Another time during the trip we had to completely give up control and practice our fearlessness was that stomach churning bus ride up to Machu Picchu. A magnificent ancient civilization, sits comfortably among the clouds looking down at millions of explorers wandering from one exquisite place to another in search of their ultimate treasure. I, an explorer found a part of my treasure that day as I stood on that peak and felt those Peruvian clouds in my hands. My heart roared strong words and my mind repeated them undoubtedly, that “no dream is  bigger than you”.

And with this epiphany, came rushing in overwhelming restlessness of seeking, understanding and doing everything I can to live out all my dreams. My mind was working overtime planning every step leading into 5-10 years of my future,when it suddenly came to a halt. The exotic creatures, colors, sounds, smells and the continuous sweating in the densely green and fully alive amazonian jungle demanded my undivided attention. And as I swayed in the hammock and dimmed the lantern until it was completely dark in our cabana, stillness washed over me.  During the nights while the monkey grunts, snake hisses and macaw squawks filled the rain forest, it was in these quiet hours that I found peace, a reminder to slow down and felt the courage to be present now.expo-athenabday-peru-900

Photo by a Condor travel guide.

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The Blues

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Photo by Anshu

I fight the days when an abundance of love around me, does not seem to stop me from thinking about the wrongs that were done to me. All the hurt that I had labelled as the past came, rushing to the surface and threatened to consume my present and created fear for my future. Even though I had forgiven it, them and myself, healing is a continuum that demands a lifetime.
Darkness slowly creeps in by blaming others and then an exhausting battle begins as I try and push it out of mind, wishing to push it out of my life but at last it settles comfortably within my control as I blame myself, convinced that I might have deserved it or I could have chosen a different path. The scars that only I can see and feel weigh heavily.

My whole being turns to prayer and is soon reminded of our Creator’s eternal grace and unconditional acceptance, as I hear a sparrow sing of joy outside my window, in tune with my heart beating of hope and my soul with no hesitation starts to sway in resilience. The darkness fades, as I can now feel the rays of sun on my face and deeply breathe in a new day. I train myself time and time again to surrender to all my dark and light experiences, to cherish them equally and to grow stronger roots for tomorrow. I am reminded of all that I have been given and all that I have conquered to keep moving towards fulfilling my mighty purpose.
“Give me your heart, let your eyes find happiness in my ways.” Proverbs 23:26

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Modern Reserves

“Step out of that part of the city where you see more of your culture, your own color of people, because its safe and familiar and create a world celebrating and learning the unfamiliar.” Anshu

As I stare and smile at the beaming silver light from the perfectly shaped moon. I look at all the houses that receive equal view of this mysterious round thing. Everything from my window seems so still and quiet in the dark of night. Everyone craving their rest from the day they experienced and survived.
As I reflect in this quiet hour, I can vividly see a shooting star and the same perfectly scarred moon as I lay in my mosquito protected bed. While Dada hums and Dadi starts her snoring in our veranda. We are surrounded by giant trees and their leaves that move like monsters to the gentle breeze. I whisper a quick prayer for all of our protection and thank God for blessing me with such fearless, loving and kind people around me.
Soon I am brought back to my room in Calgary, Canada with Pepsi (our dog) barking downstairs. I remember when he was just six months old; my mom and my sister fell instantly in love with him on a street in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in the year 2000 . We chose to invest in him and he brings healing to our family everyday. So invest in each other beyond borders. Comfort is overrated, instead contentment within; anywhere, anytime and with anyone is worth achieving.
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Photo by Anshu Stephen

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Sunny Day

As I walked towards the big window and slowly drew the curtains, a thousand rays of sun came flooding in. I closed my eyes to soak in the warmth and the clarity of all the nostalgic memories rushing in. I needed a moment to just think and give these very precious memories my undivided attention. I stepped out of the walls of my beautiful and comfortable house as I walked towards the untrimmed grass with splashes of hopeful yellow; I forced myself to sit and be still. I allowed my heart to feel the pain of loosing people, places and many things familiar, my nose to smell the mesmerizing scent of grandma’s garden of roses, gardenias, marigold and lilies,mixed in with sweet mangoes, my eyes to vividly picture the clothes hanging on the ropes to dry underneath the tormenting heat from the sun, my arms to feel the embrace of all who ill never meet on this earth and others who are so far away and finally urged my mouth to whisper “I miss you so much; I wish you were here with me, everyday”.

I  missed you during my adult baptism; but it was due to your  unwavering faith that I chose to give my heart and life first, to God. I would have appreciated your wise and comforting words when I experienced my first heartbreak and loss; but I rose resilient from witnessing your lives of consistent perseverance. I wish you could have heard the applause after I sang my heart out; but I could almost hear you singing the beautiful harmony to my melody. I wish you could have shared the experience of floating in a tiny canoe on the restless Amazon river being balanced by the eight of us; but I did see you right beside me every time a bright orange butterfly paid a visit to the canoe or led the way in the jungle accompanied by  magnificent turquoise winged  butterflies with outlines of the darkest black. Lastly I felt your warmth today in the gentle breeze whispering your promise of unconditional love and kindness, that I will try to share with the world around me with a smile.

 

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Sing in Rome

As I hum along to this tune by John Mayer, it takes me back to my hostel in Rome. A mixed dorm room themed North America with twelve bunk beds and a tiny washroom. I chose the bottom bunk bed close to the door, to be my refuge for three nights in the city of timeless fountains.

My two fellow travelers and I dragged our feet with our ever growing backpacks (felt like) from the metro station only a ten minute walk to the hostel, hidden behind the main street. Somewhat of a beaten down door led into the lobby with a nice clean kitchen, my belly roared at this sight. Quickly checking in and dropping off our back packs we rushed out to find a grocery store to buy some bread, cheese, wine and tea. Our staple for meals of no splurges but treat ourselves to a delicious 2 Euro wine in the evenings at the same time.

Our three days were filled with magnificent historical architecture in every corner of Rome, righteously intricate art in The Vatican, delicate fountains overflowing with wishes of people from near and far and every meal starting and ending with scoops of delectable gelato.

In my memories stands out the last night in Rome, when I sang a song close to my heart while my new friends sat around the kitchen area and sipped wine that we were all sharing. Everything and everyone in that room listened in silence smiling  and soaking in this place, people, time and experience unique to this moment never to be repeated again. As I breathed out my last melodious lyric; appreciative claps and encouraging words filled my heart. And to desperately extend this fleeting moment, we all decided to roam this brightly moon lit city till  early hours of the morning high on laughter, gelato and temporary contentment that will disappear the next morning as we board that train and then the feeling will rush back as soon as we arrive at our next place of exploration.

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Soul mate

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Photo by Anshu Stephen

“The life of every living creature and the spirit in every human body are in His hands.” Job 12:10

We all have this purpose that we spend our lives trying to discover and fulfill. Everyday thoughts, actions and words that are in my control and the rest I am learning to let go. Letting go only seems to get harder but when I have been able to give up that control, I have opened the door to incredible experiences.

I have grown to learn that incredible experiences can create various impacts depending on who, where, why and how my heart and time is invested. I have been blessed to share myself and be challenged by many soul connections along the way.

Said good-bye to my strongest soulmate yesterday, as she follows her mighty purpose. We have seen each other through the darkest valleys and the brightest skies as we explored Europe, Asia, North-America, South-America and hopefully many more inspiring cultures together in the future. So I am planning our next trip already sis when you are back home!

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Rainy day

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Photo by Anshu Stephen
Another new chapter that feels pre-destined.

I look out at the perfectly shaped rain drops on my windshield and can’t help but feel warm with anticipation and excitement. This feeling that has become a norm in my life as most things have been and will be temporary from one moment to the next. I can vividly remember the first flight I ever boarded to step into foreign soil, first time I heard a foreign language, saw different colored skin and became entranced by the fragrance of pine trees instead of familiar gardenias.

At first I was overcome with fear of the unknown, then giving in to the sadness of losing all familiar and comfortable, which quickly slipped into the feeling of being lost and alone but eventually surrounded by amazing love, hope and fearlessness through my relationships, experiences and travelling adventures.

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