Not as bad as it seems

Things are not often as bad as they seem, which is a good thing to remember when you have a 2 year old toddler who is prone to big screams and drama.

Like that time when I went to Nepal to work as a volunteer in an orphanage. The political situation was restless, as always, but these days there was a lot of talk of revolution. As I am the kind of person to plan for the worst case scenario, I had decided to always carry my passport with me so I could make a run for the airport when the buffalo dung hit the fan. So when I packed for a 10-day meditation retreat in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery on a hill just outside of Kathmandu, I packed everything and left nothing at the children's home, just in case…

One night I woke up just before midnight to what sounded like bombs and guns in the distance. When I listened closer I heard many people shouting and screaming. ‘The revolution!’ I thought, and my heart started racing. I woke up my Canadian roommate and together we listened to the bangs and the shouting. We put on some clothes and went outside. There we saw some monks looking out over the city at the flashes of explosives. It was clear that there was something big going on but they were calm, with serene smiles on their faces. I guessed this was just a side effect of being monks and all that meditation and such and we asked them what was going on.

They smiled even bigger and said: ‘the Nepali guy won Indian Idol’. It took a few seconds for me to register but then I remembered how excited everyone was that a young man from Kathmandu had made it to the finale of Indian Idol. The city was celebrating, with fireworks!! And shouting and singing and dancing in the streets apparently.

I always have to smile when I think of this and of how I learned to leave my passport behind while living in Nepal the year that followed. I also learned that less is more and serenity comes with a simple life. It also comes with knowing that things are often not as bad as they seem, and I try to remember this when my son lets out a blood curdling scream, yet again…


Richmond, VA