Shanghainese women, famous for their strong personalities and their control of the household including their men have become a stereotype in China. The wife in Shanghai is known to make her husband hand in his whole salary at the end of the month and to only give him back a small portion as pocket-money as she sees fit. He also has a strict curfew for coming home at night and he is expected to perform certain household duties on top of his daily job. I took a sneak peek at some of these lovely ladies’ mahjong gambling activities in the afternoon behind a dusty window screen in one of the alleys of the old city, and strength is certainly a quality they emanate.
New York, it rises from its ashes each and every time to prove time and again that ‘when there is a will there is a way’. And New York’s will is not like any other, it the combined strength of warriors that gather from all over the world powered by their vision and their wish to stand out from the pack. I remember living through the attacks of September 11th and seeing such a gloom that I thought this powerful city would never recover from. But it did, and it always will because of the will of its people. Yes, it is a city built to withstand the storms of the world to evolve into something better and greater.
There are still places in this world, where hard labor is a way of life. The formidable Hani women build their own homes, plant and sow their own rice fields, slaughter their own animals for food and gather their own firewood for cooking. All the weight is carried on their backs and supported by their incredibly strong necks for years on end. If the essences of strength and patience were looking for a home on this planet, wouldn’t it makes sense that they would seek these people?
In the streets of Hanoi, the capital of French Indochina, I met the toughest looking women I have ever seen in Asia. Hard working, beautiful, tough and quite knowledgable. This month’s journey starts in the beautiful city of Hanoi.
“To keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss.” The horrific motto of the Khmer Rouge, the movement whose guerrilla forces lead a genocide killing and torturing one fifth of the whole population of Cambodia in the 1970s. Cambodia had the misfortune of giving residence to the monster of war that tours our planet taking away innocence and leaving only death in its wake. But as is always the case, out of the greatest darkness, the brightest of lights is born. From those dark times comes a new age to Cambodia and in the new generation lives kindness, pride, strength, brightness and a promise of a much better future.
There is a great power in Africa which throbs in the land like a drum beat and then spirals up through its people, radiating from every pore in their skin and fashioning a most complex range of human expression…
I look back at this photo of a girl in Goma and I see shyness, strength, pride, defiance, warmth, dignity, among so many other emotions that come at me from her face and her posture.
If you have been to Africa, you perhaps would have felt that it is a place that keeps beckoning you back, because you realize that you left a part of you there and took a small part that always tugs at you to take it back home.
They live in colonies, the communicate amongst themselves, they have the ability to solve complex problems, they have ranks, leadership, work ethics, they colonize new territories, they invade neighbors, they serve their queens… do they remind you of any other Eartlhlings?
I spent a long time watching this group of workers with their leader as they moved a discarded piece of potato chips along a distance of about 5 meters, working so methodically, so quickly and with the so much effort, each ant concentrating on its task at hand until they finally dragged it under a rock to the base of their colony. They moved in a straight line to their final goal, it was so incredible to witness. As this was right in front of our building, a few people of course pitied my insanity (well I was kind of crawling on the ground), and I had to ward off a little toddler who almost crushed the whole miracle with his foot and with a semi evil look on his face, the one little boys have when they are about to exercise their power over an insect! 🙂
This particular and ancient truth has been quite upfront lately in world affairs. Somehow this ancient lesson is being applied and demonstrated repeatedly in the last few years from events in Iran, to Egypt, to Yemen, and to most recently the current events in Syria. I am normally not someone who is drawn to writing, commenting or thinking too much about politics, but I do look at this issue in terms of trends happening in the world. And this recent phenomenon of people coming together and protesting a valid cause, an injustice or an oppressive regime, is becoming the way these nations forcing their way into reformation.
And this concept works just the same within our minds. One of the biggest enemy of our personal development is dispersion and conflicting thoughts. Somehow a magnetic force is needed to align our thoughts to all face in one direction, towards our purpose and away from our past patterns. Only then are we able to draw on enough inner strength to overcome hurdles and obstacles in our way and to reform our old ways of going on.
photo: potpourri twigs tied in a bundle from Ikea 🙂