Saturday November 14, 2015
This morning I was suppose to write my incredible community about the Marketing Calendar 2-Week Intensive Masterclass that starts on Monday. Then, I found out about Paris. I had to take it all in because even though, I personally do not know anyone affected, we are all connected. When we see mass attacks like we are reminded of our fragile nature.
At the same time, when things like this happen, I begin to think about our power. At this point in my life, I have been blessed to walk the streets of 27 incredible countries on this planet. What I've noticed in my travels is something really interesting. Our TV screens would like to prove that our world is unsafe, full of violence, hate and terror. Yet, what I have seen with my own two eyes is the opposite. I've seen a world filled with love, patience, kindness towards strangers, curiosity, fun, surprise and beauty.
Even in the midst of getting quasi arrested in a foreign country where I didn't speak the language, I found those things.
Yes, you read that right.
Back in the summer of 2007 I spent a summer in Europe and Australia before I went to Grad school that September. I had just arrived in Cyprus, a small country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. I had made a mistake that I usually never make as a seasoned traveller: I didn't do any research on what to expect. I went there because it was the next country from where I was, Greece.
My experience in Cyprus was not that great all around because I had just left Greece where I had spent one month with my then boyfriend who went back to Canada without me and we had also broken up, as I was moving across the country to attend school that September.
Lonely and upset, I decided to leave Cyprus earlier than anticipated to head to Istanbul, Turkey, where a good friend of mine would host me and then, I wouldn't feel (nor be) so alone.
What I didn't know about Cyprus, was that it is a divided country: half Greek, half Turkish. I traveled to the capital city, Nicosia, where I had to cross a UN buffer zone to get to the Turkish side so that I could get my plane the next day. There were guards with big machine guns everywhere.
This was my first time in a country where this kind of military force/protection was common place. Being from a small place in Canada, I had never actually seen a real gun in person. Now, there were everywhere, in a country that spoke a language which was literally 'Greek to me' and my broken heart didn't help my normal curiosity and courage to take precedence.
I made a decision: stay in the best hotel, go out and send my group email (this was before the days when Facebook was good enough for a status update… I was sending regular group emails to my family and friends), get supper, go back to the room and stay put until the taxi was going to take me to the airport the next morning.
"Good plan", I thought.
After writing my email in an internet cafe, I wasn't allowed to leave. Men, who were dressed in casual workwear, whom proclaimed to be the police (with their laminated 'badges'), figured out how to tell me in very broken english that there was a problem with my email.
To make a long story short: I had two options.
Option 1 - Cut and run.
Option 2 - Go with them.
Neither seemed to be that good of a choice, but seeming that I was in a country where I couldn't even say hello in the local language, and there were three of them, and just one of me, I opted for #2.
I was really, really lucky.
They were telling the truth: I did go to the police station and it turns out they have monitors on the computers and they caught me saying words like, 'Machine gun', 'United Nations', 'Buffer zone', ... you get the picture.
They thought I was a spy.
Yep, me in my short beige shorts and pink t-shirt that said, 'Island Girl', a spy.
My emotion going through most of this experience was anger. I was so angry that these people were wasting my time and making me do this. All I wanted was to be out of that country.
However, by the time I was sitting in the police station with about 10 officers reading my email (actually, only one reading because the rest of them didn't speak english, he was translating), I was upset and scared.
They truly could lock me up, throw away the key and no one would ever find me.
Back in those days, I wrote just like I talk. Actually, I still do that, except that I have now trained myself to be more thoughtful and deliberate in my words over the years as my vocation has me writing and speaking regularly.
At that time, I used the word “crazy” a lot. Crazy in the sense of... "Woah, did you see that? That was crazy!!" Which could pertain to watching a great surfer catch an incredible wave or the sky lighting up in magnificent colours.
Throughout my email I had wrote, 'Crazy!' A LOT because I was literally in shock about all that I had experienced in less than 12 hours. Partly because I wasn't prepared for it, partly because I was an emotional wreck so no doubt my emotions were heightened.
One of the officers who spoke english was trying to make small talk with me while I was waiting to be released (since they realized that indeed, I was not a spy, just a small town Canadian girl, experiencing the truth of what it means to live in a politically safe and stable country for the first time).
He said to me that he wanted to visit Canada and many other countries. I said to him in a snarky tone (I was not impressed), “Well, why don’t you go?”
To this day, I do not remember his exact words, but I do remember the jist of his response and that was this: he couldn’t leave because of the political instability in his country and particularly because he was a police officer and what if, while out of the country he began plotting again his side? Not to mention, he couldn’t afford it.
I guess you can say, I wasn’t expecting that answer.
My 26 year old self was stunned. There were so many things running through my mind that I couldn’t get my thoughts straight.
Lastly, he said to me, 'You know, we aren't crazy, here. We just have to be careful'.
My heart dropped. I felt saddened for so many reasons. With language barriers and a mess of emotions, explaining to them that I knew they weren't crazy wasn't going to happen. I just sat there with not much to say.
To end the story: I got back to my hotel and the next day was greeted by my great friend in Turkey, whose lovely family took me in for the week and treated me like family. Just what the doctor ordered.
Here’s how this story relates to Oprah, Paris and all that is accumulating in my mind right now.
Even though I had not been treated fairly in that country (or at least, I didn’t think so at that time), I can look beyond the action and see why it happened. They were protecting their own safety. They live in such instability, that they took me in, ‘just incase’. These people were not bad. They were not terrorists. They were fathers, brothers, sons, friends, who were doing the best they can with what they’ve got and trying to keep it in tack.
Hindsight, as they say is 20/20.
That day I learned a lot about the world and about people.
I learned that first and foremost, I am so incredibly grateful to be a Canadian where there is political stability and justice. Second, I learned that in the countries that are not as safe as Canada, the majority of the people there are just like us: they want peace, love and happiness. It is only a few who are creating the difficult situations in their countries.
Which brings me back to what Oprah taught me about life.
I remember years ago, and several times since, hearing Oprah speak about how she always would say to God, ‘Use me, God’. Oprah has always wanted to be used for her highest and greatest good that she could be on the planet.
I never forgot that and I brought it into my own practice.
I believe that true happiness comes from living in the highest expression of ourselves and that highest expression of ourselves comes from deciding to be of great service to ourselves and to the world. When we do that, we are happy and free.
And that is why today, I, like many of us, are saddened by what happened in Paris. However, I am feeling a fire within my belly at a deeper level. I want to be a messenger for love in this lifetime and I want to be used up fully in service to myself and the world.
For me, that is helping more and more coaches align with the highest expression of themselves so that they can spread their impact as far as possible. Person by person, we will shine more light into the darkness on our planet and this will help bring more love, compassion, joy and happiness to the planet, especially to those who live with unrest and instability on a daily basis.
Today, take a stand for love, for yourself and for humanity and vow to become the highest expression of yourself in service to the world. Because the world needs more messengers of light and love and you are one of them.
#LovetoParis #LiveYourAwesomeness #YouAreAmazing
Live Your Awesomeness,
P.S. If you made it all the way to the end, thank you for reading. I want to invite you to do two things:
1. Please tell me in the comments what your message is. What is the gift(s) that you are bringing to the world.