When I was a small child, we lived close to a very special monastery. In that monastery was a very magical well that always fascinated the dreamy child in me. We were told that the well was always empty but if you prayed and your prayers were accepted then the water flowed and you could have a drink of holy water. I was in utter awe of seeing my suspended bowl attached to a piece of rope sometimes come up full.
In my travels I saw several cultures revere water in different ways. On this riverbank in Myanmar locals considered this water a miracle cure for their ailments, the river Ganga in India is considered the ultimate destination for Hindu worshippers.
There is so much mystery in something as simple as water. We are 70% mystery ourselves!
Day 64 of 365~
Image taken on the river bank near Bagan, Myanmar
One of the greatest fears might be to one day realize one is insignificant. To have lived a life that touched no one deeply, to not have loved passionately, to not have given for the sake of giving and not to have believed in something much greater than oneself. And scarier even than all of that is to have lived without ever meeting or knowing who we are.
Day 39 of 365~
Image taken somewhere in New York
old Hani woman~ Yunnan
In Yunnan province in China, there are at least 26 ethnic minorities living in small villages up and down the lush green mountains. We drove through these villages and met some of these amazing people who were said to have come from the mountains of Tibet before settling in Yunnan.
The Hani believe that all things on earth have souls They offer sacrifices to mountains, rivers, dragons and heaven, and, as often as every week, to their ancestors. Animals have spirits that are honored in hunting rites.
It was such a gift to walk among them, witness their unique lifestyle and see faces that are still connected to one of the old natural religions of the earth. Their faces told their stories…
At about age 5 or 6, my sister and I used to love playing house games with the neighborhood children in our village. We had an unfinished floor in our home that was still cement walls and bricks and we created our own pretend little world there. We had a basket tied to a rope from the kitchen window on the top floor and we snuck food ingredients down in it to create our own breads, coffee and other pretty disgusting recipes that we ate with total pride. We also found there an old discarded yellow closet that we declared to be our very own church. We acquired all sorts of iconic pictures, crosses and religious signs and hung them inside the walls of the yellow closet. We would go inside it with complete reverence and pray daily for miracles. One day a miracle finally happened. We heard a big bang on the walls of our little yellow church that made it vibrate miraculously! We ran yelling in awe and in great fear with shaking knees declaring our religious status and direct connection to all that is holy. It was only a couple of years later that our neighbor Nabiha, the very same one who offered us the yummy bread from her ‘saj’, gigglingly confessed to have thrown rocks at us to make believers out of us.
photo taken: My daughter visiting a favorite church or ours in the mountain in Lebanon.
I have been thinking a lot lately about children and the process of growing up. My daughter is 7 and she is a dreamer, a total believer in the magic of life, in fairies, in angels, in the unusual and special things about life. As she gets schooled and gradually grows older, some of her beliefs will get beaten to the ground and deemed silly, childish and unreal. I dread that day that is sure to come to at least some parts of her magical life and I pray that she may gather some of this sparkle to keep for herself in a special place somewhere, because how dull is a life without magic?
a cookie offering for a fairy
To believe in fairies
To imagine what their tiny wings look like
To dream about seeing them one day
To struggle with patience
To make them offerings
To promise to be kind
To be respectful of nature and its helpers
To have a mind sparkling with the wonder of mysteries unsolved
Is the charmed and magical world of a child