Rituals are rad. Three reasons why!

My week in pics: Saying goodbye to Lima… watching this EPIC fountain and light show, barre class on the roof, last roomie dinner, receiving an AMAZING package from the women in TheTribe (and being moved to tears), trying to be convinced to get on snapchat, saying goodbye to new friends, gorgeous views from the plane, exploring the city during our first few days in Córdoba! 

 

Rituals are rad. Three reasons why!

Happy Friday! 
(And happy Cinco de Mayo for anyone celebrating!)

Greetings from Córdoba, Argentina! We’re now into month five of this Remote Year experience. Pretty crazy how time flies!
And the topic as of late has been on home. Perhaps missing the comforts of home, and what home stands for.

Luckily, there are ways you can feel at home no matter where you are in the world. And having rituals is one such important way. And for you at home, these ideas will help you, too!

Watch this week’s video to find out what I mean!

(And if you would prefer a read, please see the transcript below.)

 

What daily, weekly, or other rituals do you have in your life? And why are they important to you? 

Please share your thoughts and comments below, and be sure to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel!

Exciting news! I have space to work with two more brave folks who are ready to play bigger in their lives and in their business, and really make things HAPPEN. If this is you, let’s book a discovery call!

 

Have a FAB week!

Carol - high res

 

TRANSCRIPT:

Happy Friday! I’m Carol Schulte, and welcome to another video addition of my Happy Friday blog.

And greetings from Córdoba, Argentina! Where I’m coming to you live from the rooftop of my new co-working space, and in front of El Paseo del Pastor, and the beautiful cathedral behind called Capuchinos. Yes, that is actually the name of the cathedral. And another fun fact for you, did you know that Córdoba is nicknamed the city of the bells, as there are between 30 and 40 different churches and cathedrals in this city alone? Pretty neat.

So, it is now month five of our Remote Year journey – pretty crazy to believe how quickly the time is going by. And some of the conversations this month have been centered around the idea of home, missing home, and how we can feel at home regardless of where we are in the world.

So that is what I want to talk about today, and more specifically, for those who may be at home, the importance of having some rituals in your day-to-day life.
Now I bet you have daily or weekly rituals, even if you didn’t necessarily realize it.

And I’m going to talk about three ways, three ideas, of how they can help you on a daily basis.

 

  1. Rituals can add a bit of structure and stability to your life.

    Whether it’s a morning ritual, perhaps you like doing some yoga stretches or your morning exercise. Maybe you’re someone who enjoys a cup of coffee while reading the newspaper, or filling in the crossword. Or maybe you’re someone who likes journaling or setting some affirmations for your day. Perhaps you’re someone who has nightly rituals like watching the news, or flossing while doing some lunges. Or maybe you want to reach out to someone to say goodnight. Maybe you have some weekly rituals, like going to your fave grocery store every Friday afternoon, to set yourself up for the weekend. Or maybe going for a walk in your local park on Saturday or Sunday morning. Whatever it is, having some of those rituals can add some structure, some stability, some regime and routine. So you feel in control, even if life can get messy or you’re in a different environment.

  1. Rituals can aid in our decision-making.

    What do I mean? We are inundated with choices and having to make decisions every day. Barry Schwartz talks about this idea called the Paradox of Choice, and it’s a real phenomenon! Sometimes when we have so many choices and opportunities around us, we don’t know what to choose and it keeps us stagnant! But having certain rituals can help. Whether it’s having that favourite brand of tea that you always drink, or your local grocery store, or having a place you like to get your hair or your nails done. Having some of these things in place can take away from having to make so many trivial decisions on a regular basis. And, can leave some more bandwidth for those more important ones.

  1. Rituals can give us a sense of security, or a sense of home regardless of where we may be.

    I’ve had a few conversations with Remotes here in the group, and one of the first things many of them do when we arrive in a new place is to scope out where their local coffee shop is going to be, where they’re going to do their exercise – be it a local park or a gym – and what they’re going to do in order to have some of their rituals from home. Be it their morning juice, or snacks that they like, whatever it is that reminds them of home. Some of them may also make sure they light candles or burn incense. Having smells or music from home can make you feel like you’re at home and you’re secure wherever you may be.

 

So there are three ideas of how rituals can aid in your day-to-day life. Now I want to hear from you! What rituals do you have and how do they help you on a regular basis? Share your ideas in the comments below. And if there’s someone in your life who could benefit from this video please share it with them!

Make sure you subscribe, and let’s keep the conversation going!

 

Until next time, I’m Carol Schulte, I look forward to hearing from you, and don’t forget to dream big, play big, and live big.

 

P.S. Don’t forget to leave your comments below or on my YouTube Channel! – and be sure to subscribe!

Stop looking, start living. (Lessons learned from the Amazon!)

My week in pics: Exploring the Amazon (even swimming with pink dolphins!) holding a baby caiman, having a TON of fun leading ‘Women Living Big ‘Surf, Sip, and Stretch!’ event, visiting the beautiful Monastery and Cathedral of San Francisco, Magic Fountains, farewell sunset.

Stop looking, start living.

Sometimes, the harder you look for something, the harder it is to find it.

I spent four days deep in the Amazon last week. It was pretty amazing. I saw all kinds of animals and creatures and birds (sloths, caiman, monkeys, snakes…) – although often it was pretty hard to spot them.

However I realized when I didn’t try to look so hard, and instead took in the whole landscape, I found I could see them far easier…

Maybe such is the case with all things in life.

Watch this week’s short video to see what I mean!

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Perhaps we need to stop looking so hard, and enjoying all we have right here.

Have a FAB week!

Carol - high res

 

 

 

TRANSCRIPT:

Happy Friday! I’m Carol Schulte, and welcome to another video addition of my weekly blog.

This past week, I spent four days deep in the Amazon. And although incredibly hot, it was an amazing experience.

I saw some awesome creatures – pink dolphins, sloths, a snake, caiman (like mini alligators), tree frogs, a boa, not to mention beautiful birds of all different kinds of species. And the stars at night were simply stunning.

Now I looked hard to spot a lot of these creatures, because they were in their natural habitat. Our guides had eyes like I’ve never seen before – they were able to see the smallest tree frog deep in the bush while we were meters and meters away on our boat…

Although I was looking really hard for some of these animals,  I found when I relaxed into it, and tried to take it the entire landscape at once, I could actually spot them and find them much easier.

And such as it is I feel with a lot of things in life. Sometimes the harder you look for something, the harder it is to find.

Whether or not it’s that next big opportunity, looking for more meaning and purpose in your life, or looking for that man.

Maybe we need to stop looking so hard, and start living right where we are. 

Now I’m saying this and sharing this with you because it’s something I too, need to do. And so I’m committing to looking around a little bit more instead of looking for something, and living right here in the moment.

Sometimes when we’re looking too hard for that next big thing, we’re missing out on all that we have right here in front of us.

 

As my dear friend Ferris Bueller says, “Life Moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

So yes, look around at all you have, but maybe don’t look so hard for something you don’t necessarily have.

That is the challenge I have for you, and I hope you’ll join me in taking it on this week.

 

If you have someone in your life you think could get benefit from this video, please share it with them!

And until next time, I’m Carol Schulte, stop looking, start living, and continue to dream big, play big, and live big.

It’s time for me to get real. To be vulnerable. (Plus 3 tips on how to deal with fear!)

My week in pics: Experiencing Semana Santa in Ayacucho, Peru (and what an experience it was… the running of the bulls, beautiful processions, crazy Easter festivities…) more surfing, touring around Lima, Remote Year birthday BBQ, indulging in a DELISH meal at La Picantería!

It’s time to get real. Be vulnerable. (Plus 3 tips on how to face those moments…)

 

Happy Friday!

So, you’ve seen me share about some of the amazing adventures I’ve been having so far on my Remote Year experience, as well as some of the insights I’ve gleaned.

And now it’s time to get real, to be a little vulnerable with you.

Because the truth is, despite the excitement, every day is not all rainbows and unicorns!

In fact, this week I had a moment. And seeing as how I’m all about living big and getting outside of the comfort zone, I’m going to do just that and be a little bit vulnerable with you today…

(and for those who would rather read about it, transcript is below.)

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So, this is me getting real with you today!

And now I invite you, too, to get a little vulnerable… please share your thoughts, and/or fears, in the comments below. Because chances are you’re not the only one feeling that way.

 

Have a FAB week!

Carol - high res

 

 

 

TRANSCRIPT:

Happy Friday! I’m Carol Schulte, and welcome to another video edition of my Happy Friday blog. Greetings from inside the cacti on the rooftop of my Lima, Peru apartment.

Brené Brown, a writer and researcher extraordinaire, and someone I greatly admire, speaks about the importance and power of vulnerability.

Now while I certainly believe in this idea, and definitely do with many people in my life, it’s another thing to share publicly in a video such as this one.

However, if I’m all about living big, which I am, that sometimes means doing things that are out of your comfort zone and make you just a little bit uncomfortable. While for some that may be bungee jumping or skydiving, for others that may be opening up about your true feelings.

And today, it’s the latter.

Here’s the thing. Yes, I’m on this epic Remote Year adventure, living and working in new cities every month, having some incredible experiences (like last weekend going to Ayacucho, where they celebrate Semana Santa – the week leading up to Easter – with beautiful processions, the running of the bulls, and crazy festivities…) and by the time you watch this video I’ll be on my way to the Amazon, which I am super pumped and thrilled about.

And yet, that doesn’t mean everyday is filled with nothing but rainbows and unicorns!

In fact, I had a moment this week where I found myself in a serious conversation about marriage and babies and single women in their thirties and well, I may have just about cried.

Although I’m happy with where I am and what I’m doing, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have fear around the idea of finding the one, settling down, and having a family one day. And I know I’m not alone. The Sex and The City phenomenon is real. And sometimes our expectations of where we thought we would be at certain points in our life – either professionally or personally – don’t come into fruition. And that’s okay.

So there you go. Being real and vulnerable with you today.

It’s okay to have moments, days when you’re down or off, or when your fear hits you in the face. We’re human after all!

And so next time you experience a moment, your fear becomes very real, or you’re about to have a mini panic attack or want to cry, remember these three things:

 

  1. First, breathe! And then sit in it. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable. Be with your feelings.

  2. Get some support. Reach out to a friend or family member who you can honestly share your feelings with. Chances are talking it out will have you feeling a whole lot better.

  3. Jump back on the faith and belief bandwagon. Yes, it’s a fear of mine, and yet I do believe deep down there is a man out there for me and I will have a family one day. So, I’ve created some new affirmations and I’m feeling a whole lot better right now.

 

So now I’d love to hear from YOU! How can you be a bit vulnerable this week, and perhaps share one of your fears? Chances are you’re not alone. 

And, if you think there is someone in your life who could benefit from this video, please share this with them! And be sure you sign up to receive my Happy Friday blogs.

Until next time, I’m Carol Schulte, and don’t forget to dream big, play big, and live big.

 

There Is a Time And a Place For Calypso Music!

My week in pics: Learning slackline at sunset (harder than it looks!), singing with my roomies, enjoying some Pisco Sours (when in Lima!), Happy 100 days of Remote Year!, Lima showing off its sunsets, visiting the Miracle Lagoons, attending the annual Pisco Festival – and sneaking into the VIP area to get hats! HA!)

There is a time and a place for Calypso music!

Happy Friday! 

And Happy Good Friday to boot… 

Inspired by the fact I was sick this week, today’s blog is all about recognizing there is a time, a place, and a season for everything (including REST.) And, I have another video for you, with the WATER this week! WOO HOO!

(And for those of you who would prefer a read, please see the transcript below.)

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I hope you find time to work, to play, to rest, to celebrate, to do whatever it is YOUR time to do!

Have a FAB Easter weekend!

AND, leave your comments (and ideas on what movie this line comes from!) below!

Carol - high res

 

 

 

TRANSCRIPT:

Happy Friday!

And greetings from the beautiful Lima waterfront. I promised you I would show you the water, and so I am ensuring I deliver!

I’m Carol Schulte, and welcome to another video edition of my Happy Friday blog. The theme for this week? “There is a time and a place for calypso music…” a line from one of my all-time FAVE movies – and if you know what movie I’m referring to, please share your ideas in the comments below – and there just might be a prize for you!

 

So what do I mean by this idea?  

There is a time, a place, a season, for everything.

So this week, I was a little sick. In fact, I’m still getting over it – and so if I sound a little stuffy, I apologize. It’s because I am!

Now it’s a good thing I don’t get sick all too often, because it really is no fun! I wasn’t able to surf (like the people you might be able to see behind me!) I wasn’t able to work out as hard, and I even took a few naps throughout the week.

Now instead of judging what it is that I did do or what it is that I didn’t do – I instead took it as a sign that my body perhaps needed some time to rest.

At any given time, we don’t necessarily know what it is that we need.

But there is a time for hustling, and a time for resting.

A time to work hard, and a time to play hard. 

A time for surfing, and a time and a place for Calypso music.

So, how do you know what time it is, at any given time?
Here are three ideas:

  1. Listen to what your body is telling you. Get quiet enough, and if you listen to your gut, it will always tell you exactly what it is that you need.
  2. Stop looking at what everybody else is doing. Because they’re following their own time, space, and season. And that may or may not be where you’re at.
  3. Stop judging. Stop judging yourself, or even worse, stop projecting your judgment on others, because that can be extremely detrimental!

 

So my challenge for you this week is to figure out what time it is for you, and what YOU need, without comparing, and without judging.

 

And remember, as the Byrds say:

To everything – turn, turn, turn.

There is a season – turn, turn, turn.

And a time for every purpose under heaven.

 

So that is my challenge for you this week.

Until next time, I’m Carol Schulte, and have a FAB week!

If you got something from this video, I want to hear from you in the comments below! And make sure you’re signed up for my Happy Friday blog, because I’m going to have some extra special resources coming your way in the weeks ahead, including my mini course, ‘7 Steps on How to Take the Perfect, Shameless, Splendid Selfie!’

And if you know someone in your life who could benefit from this content, please pass it along and share it with them.

Again, I’m Carol Schulte, and until next time, and don’t forget to dream big, play big, and live big.

 

What surfing can teach you about opportunities in life…

My week in pics: Saying goodbye to Medellin, Colombia; interviewing the inspiring Paulina from Huerta De Las Delicias, going surfing with a few peeps, indulging in an incredible experience at Central, rated #4 restaurant in the world; bike tour at sunset, learning Peruvian dances. 

What surfing can teach you about opportunities in life…

 

Happy Friday!

And greetings from Lima, Peru!

We arrived over the weekend, and I’ve already indulged in some delicious ceviche a few times, been surfing twice, and watched numerous gorgeous sunsets over the water. ‘I think I’m going to like it here.’ (cue: Annie Soundtrack!)

There’s something about being near the water…

In fact, that is what this week’s Happy Friday topic is all about! And more specifically, about waves and opportunities… And, seeing as how so many of you piped up with positive feedback after last week’s video, well, you’re in for a treat! ‘Cause I got another one for you today.

(And for those of you who prefer reading the Happy Friday message, well, I’m going to experiment with video this month, however will have transcriptions available come next week. And we’ll go from there… comments welcome!)

 

 

So there you have it. Waves are much like opportunities… you have to have the courage to leave the shore and be willing to work hard to get out to where the good ones are, you have to practice patience in order to wait for the right one for you, and then you gotta set yourself up properly on your board – on your path – stay balanced, and enjoy the ride all the way to shore.

What are your thoughts on the matter? I want to hear from you in the comments below.

Have a FAB week!

Carol - high res

 

 

 

P.S. THANK YOU for all of your comments and kind words after hearing about all of my mishaps last week! Quick update: My arm is healing nicely, I haven’t been flooded in since, AND, my laptop is able to be repaired! YAHOO!!!

What REALLY happened on my epic adventure… (plus 3 Lessons Learned!)

What REALLY happened on my epic adventure… (plus 3 Lessons Learned!)

Happy Friday!

SO I just found out mercury was in retrograde last week.

That explains a lot.

I was all set to go on this epic adventure – a few days on my own along the coast of Colombia to see Tayrona National Park, and then to meet up with a group in what I’ve heard is a beautiful old colonial town, Cartagena. And finally, off to a remote house on the water ‘Casa en el Agua’ for a few days of disconnecting and unwinding.

I was hoping for clarity, peace, and rejuvenation.

Instead, however, I had a series of ‘mishaps’ shall we say along the way… a different kind of epic than I was hoping for, however epic none-the-less!

I’m switching it up this week, and going to share my story by video!

(You’re not going to want to miss this one… there are some pretty hilarious happenings I share. Good thing I can smile about it now!)

And so now I’m curious to hear from YOU!

Can you think back on an adventure you’ve had where, in the moment it was perhaps a little challenging, however looking back there were important lessons gleaned?

Leave your comments below.

Have a FAB week!

Carol - high res

 

 

 

P.S. Do you prefer watching videos or reading blog posts? Let me know!

Don´t Cry Over Spilled Milk (err, I mean mango juice!)

 

Happy Friday!

On Monday, I met with an amazing woman with whom I was going to be delivering a workshop the following day.

I was thirsty, and as I had already had a coffee beverage, I decided to order a fresh mango juice to quench my thirst. Yum. Or so I thought.

First mistake.

The juice came, however as my friend and colleague had not yet arrived, I thought I would be polite and wait.

Second mistake. 

When she got there, I jumped up excitedly, wanting to show her just how pumped I was to see her.

Third mistake.

My arms, in their unbridled, unabashed manner, were flailing around, and must have somehow knocked over that tall, full, inviting glass of mango juice all over my laptop.

Yup. It happened.

I froze. Did that really just happen?!?  And in not wanting to shake or pour more mango juice on the table, I waited for one of the amazing baristas to come to my rescue. She turned it over, my friend got some cloths, and we wiped it down as best we could.

 

My friend was quick to look up what to do when spilling liquid on a laptop, I turned it upside down in a ‘V’ shape and let it sit. I assumed it would be fine. Nothing more came out. Worse case scenario? The keys would be a little sticky…

After our meeting, I went to buy a few bags of rice, with the intention to submerse the thing. I mean, it had worked for my phone years ago, surely it would work again? Now there also happened to be a group event that night, The Moth, and so in not wanting to miss out, I asked the bartender for a plastic bag, opened up my laptop within the bag, and poured rice all over the keyboard. Yes, in the bar. I asked a few friends and techies in the group if I was doing the right thing and got mixed messages. However none of them good. Mixed messages on the rice myth, however the consensus was not to attempt to turn it on for at least 24-48 hours.

WHAT?!?

I went home, and boy was it hard not to try to work on my laptop. In fact, I had to borrow my roomie’s…

In the morning, I was so tempted to test it out. Instead, I found out where a mac repair store was, optimistic to find out it wasn’t too far away and there was someone who spoke English.

I rushed over there, especially given the fact I was delivering a presentation not long afterwards… And that was another issue. How was I going to deliver my presentation without a laptop?

In any event, it wasn’t good. I’ll spare you all the details, however this lovely young gentleman, when he saw the look of distress on my face after hearing it wouldn’t be looked at today, offered to open it up during his lunch hour and clean it up. I was hesitant at first, however what So kind…. and he would get back to me.

Now again, being overly optimistic, I thought for sure it was in the bag, and that all would be well after the cleaning. Heck, I thought I may be getting away with a fast and freebie fix here!

No such luck.

In short, I am writing to you from my roomie’s iPad, as I am off for a few days adventure on the northern coast of Colombia, and want to have this ready to go in advance of Friday. My laptop is not responding, and my dude (still a nice guy, even though he wasn’t able to fix it…) says it’s not looking good. That being said, he said there is still a chance it may turn on a few days from now…

Okay, so I was a little stressed. A little frustrated. A little emotional.

I wanted to play the ‘what if’ game. Have a do-over. Replay all the steps thinking how many different ways it could have gone. But I know that just does more damage than good.

And then I spoke with my Dad, who talked me off the edge.

In his brilliant British accent, he said, ‘Come on, Carol. It’s a technical device. it’s not the end of the world!’

And he’s right.

It’s kinda ridiculous to think our laptops are our lifetime here. But they kinda are. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to get our work done. And yet, there is more to life than laptops.

Moral of the story?

Well, there are a few:

  • Be careful whenever you have mango juice. And perhaps keep well away from your laptop!
  • Be careful having any liquids near your technical devices.
  • Don’t trust rice. If your piece of technology ever gets damaged, take it to the experts right away
  • Never get too attached to any one device
  • Count your blessings. It could have been a lot worse.
  • Make sure you have insurance for those valuable items!!!
  • Stay positive and light. You´ll figure it out.

 

There has got to be a deeper reason why this has happened to me. Now again, I still want to believe it may somehow magically turn on after a few days, however I may have to take more drastic measures.

I’m leaving for the coast of northern Colombia or a few days of adventure tomorrow, and the thought going without a working laptop scares me a little. However, maybe it’s exactly what I need.

I shall keep you posted!

Have a FAB week!

Carol - high res

 Any advice for me? Other thoughts? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. 

Wanna Be More Productive? Try Being Lazy. Allow me to explain…

My week in pics: Visiting a coffee farm, going horseback riding (with my new bestie Higa!) jumping in a waterfall during a rainstorm, doing a barrio tour, embarrassing myself during rumba and hip hop classes, indulging in a 13-course tasting menu (at one point we had to wash our hands in one chocolate!) enjoying a full day hike in a beautiful national park in the rain… 

Happy Friday!

And happy St. Patty’s Day! I have my green shamrock earrings on (yes, made sure I packed them when I left back in January… good thing I have my priorities straight!) and hope you’re sporting some green, too.

 

I had an epiphany this week. Contrary to what may make sense intellectually, maybe I’ll actually accomplish more by accomplishing less.

What do I mean?

It seems I’m trying to force being all one way all of the time, when it’s just not possible.

 

You want to be more productive? When was the last time you allowed yourself to be lazy?

You want to be happier? When was the last time you embraced your sadness?

You want to feel more connection? When was the last time you enjoyed time on your own?

 

Here’s the idea.

You can never be all of only one side of the spectrum, and none of the other. It just doesn’t work. And as long as we try, we’ll never win.

We’re never all one way with anything in life. We can’t ever just be one spoke of the wheel. We’re the whole wheel.

When I was completing my masters thesis, I used a theory called relational dialectics when examining end-of-life conversations.

Now stick with me here, I promise I’m not going to get all morbid on you, nor too academic.

However the theory speaks to the fact in every interaction, and in every dialogue, there are tensions at play. The three main ones are:

 

Autonomy-Connection:

We want to be connected to another individual, however at the same time be able to hang onto a sense of our own autonomy.

 

Openness-Closedness:

In our desire to build connection, we want to self-disclose certain information about ourselves. And, we also want to be sure to keep other things private.

 

Novelty-Predictability:

In our relationships we crave some newness to keep things exciting, however we also want to ensure we have certain rituals that make us feel comfortable and that we’re used to.

 

One of my ongoing struggles while being on this crazy Remote Year journey thus far, is trying to strike a balance between working and experiencing. And I’m not sure I’ve quite struck gold yet on that front.

And maybe it’s unrealistic to think I ever will.

First of all, I’m not sure balance even exists. And it’s not about being all in on one side without also embracing the opposite side, with respect to anything.

It’s about integration.

You’ll be more productive when you realize it’s okay to feel less than, or dare I say ‘lazy’ on occasion.

You’ll be happier when you realize it’s also okay to have off days.

And I bet you’ll experience increased connection when you realize you’re also perfectly fine on your own.

We don’t live in a black and white world. It doesn’t always have to be all or nothing. And although I’ve often said ‘go big or go home,’ perhaps that’s not necessarily the case.

So welcome both sides of the spectrum this week. Embrace it all. And perhaps in being okay with doing less, you’ll realize you’re actually doing more.

 

Have a FAB week!

Carol - high res

 

 

 

What are your thoughts on striving for integration instead of balance? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

An eye-opening visit to a Colombian Prison…

My week in pics: Last few days with the family in Turks & Caicos, jet skiing, view from the flight home (LOVE airplane window pics!), first few days in Medellin, interviewing some amazing women…  

Happy Friday!

And happy belated International Women’s Day!

I hope you somehow celebrated… I will share more about my day soon enough (which included holding on-the-spot interviews in a local park and square… and hearing some amazing stories from local women here in Colombia.)


However today, I want to share a bit about my experience visiting a local prison before I left Bogota…

 

Our visit to a Colombian Prison ~ A good thing or more like Poverty Tourism?

 

Although it looked like a run-down apartment from the outside, after 4 different passport checkpoints, having our fingerprints taken, being smelled out by dogs, there was no mistaking we were entering into a high security prison.

And as we got closer, you could see the faces and the hands and the hollering coming out of the crowded barred windows. It was almost like a scene out of a movie.

We were eventually led to Patio 6 (they call the different sections of the prison patios…) which we would soon learn is for the extranjeros, the foreigners. It was also apparently the safest of patios, and the inmates had special privileges (like having visits from the ‘tourists’…)

It was pretty real and pretty raw.

One gentleman from the Philippians, although now a yoga teacher and turned very spiritual, told us he carried around his special pen, with a blade as the tip, just in case.

Another man from Russia explained he was transferred here from another prison after 11 months. He seemed to have an extremely positive attitude, had been rewarded for good behaviour, but admitted he had no idea when he was ever getting out.

And yes, this was the prison where it was just revealed there was a pile of bones discovered under the woodworking shop (where we also visited… it was actually quite impressive some of the things being made.)

It was eye opening in many ways and for many different reasons.

And yet, what was arguably the most disturbing was that we were visiting in a way as though they were animals in a zoo.

I know we were going with the best of intentions, and with a local volunteer organization that do a lot of good work. And yet the time actually spent with the inmates was not sufficient enough to really make an impact, in my opinion. (Although I’m sure they got a kick out of the banana cheer I was asked to do to break the ice!) We spent more time being shown around, asked if we wanted to buy any of their handmade crafts and bags, and getting through the various points of security.

I actually do believe some of the conversations we had did potentially make some of them think. And I’m sure they enjoyed some new faces. And yet, they must have also felt strange about having these tourists looking into their lives, in a pretty vulnerable way.

When I was volunteering in Calcutta for a short period of time with Mother Teresa’s Missions of Charity, I remember having similar feelings in that yes, we were there to ‘do good,’ but were we actually doing good, or simply there to feel good about what we were doing?

I realized early on, unless I was prepared to stay there for a significant period of time, and really get to know the infrastructure and find out what was truly needed, I wasn’t really helping or doing good at all.

It’s a delicate subject, and a difficult conversation.

However I shall end with a small insight I had. In the moments of conversation and connection I did have with a few of these gentlemen at the prison, I saw them as people like you or I. And when you look into someone’s eyes, it is simply one human being looking at and connecting with another.

And that is ultimately what it’s all about.

We come from different backgrounds, grow up with different privileges, make different mistakes, and yet we’re all still people. And people need connection, and they are starving to be seen.

So don’t be too quick to judge – anyone for anything. We don’t know their story, and don’t really know what’s going on behind the scenes…

Enjoy a real moment of connection this week. Look into someone’s eyes, see them for who they are, and allow them to see you for who you really are.

 

Have a FAB week!

 

 Carol - high res

 

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this delicate matter…  please leave your thoughts below.

Is it about maximizing the moment, or experiencing the moment?

Is it about maximizing the moment, or experiencing the moment?

Happy Friday!

 

Greetings from Turks & Caicos, where I’m enjoying some fun in the sun time with my amazing family. (It’s true – jetsetting from Colombia to the beach… I’m a spoiled girl, extremely lucky girl… however also a very grateful girl!)

In this moment, I’m sitting by the pool, watching children splash and play, watching drinks splash and swirl, watching people splash and smile.

I’m witnessing a moment in time.

And it may just be this moment right now, wherever you are, perhaps an insignificant moment you may not give much thought to, that becomes a special moment in your life.

Perhaps it’s the epic soundtrack music I’m listening to, however in this moment, although not jumping out of a plane or climbing a volcano, I‘m still having an experience, right here, right now.

Now I’ll admit I’m a self-confessed maximizer.

I want to make the most of every situation, say yes to every opportunity, squeeze in every experience possible.

However in an effort to want to maximize my time, maximize every experience, I wonder if sometimes I end up minimizing some of the moments that truly matter.

These moments, like the one I’m having right here, right now, are the ones that make up your life.

And yet if we’re trying too hard to create a moment, or force a moment, we may end up losing out on the moment.

I like doing things. And, if I’m honest, I also like feeling as though I’m doing things. Checking things off the list so to speak.

This week, I haven’t done a whole heck of a lot. At least, not with respect to ‘checking things’ off any list.

But maybe I’ve done more than I realize.

I’ve enjoyed time with my family. I’ve had special conversations. I’ve played with Elmo, danced on the stage with Cookie Monster and other Sesame Street friends, had lots of fun potty trips with my niece and nephew, and lathered on a whole heck of a lot of kids’ sunscreen.

I like maximizing. I like doing things. I like lists. And yet perhaps I’m realizing it’s not always about checking things off any list at all.

 

Living your life cannot be captured in a do-to list.

 

So this week, at some point I challenge you to put away your list, and be open to experiencing a moment in time, this moment in time, and enjoying it for what it is. No need to maximize anything. Just experience.

Deep thoughts from sitting in the sun, HA!

Have a FAB week!

Carol - high res

 

 

What are your thoughts on maximizing versus experiencing? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.