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Confessions of an asshole by Misha Lyuve

May 8, 2011

I wish I would always be balanced, kind and compassionate. But in reality, sometimes I can be an asshole. I offend people. I can be selfish, inconsiderate and ungrateful. Big news? – nah.

And of course I get to chastise myself for everything I’m not and everything I should be.  And as I leave little room for my own humanity, I do little for others’. Just upset me, say something to me I don’t like or do something I consider wrong – I will quickly get righteous, judgmental and unforgiving – yup, more of an asshole. Sounds familiar? – dah.

Just for illustration purposes: here is an asshole-ness – un-forgiveness vicious cycle.

Vicious cycle

This vicious cycle causes and perpetuates wars between friends and countries, it can divide a family and a nation, it leaves scars of arguments and wars for a lifetime.

So let me tell you, as an asshole to an asshole: let’s FORGIVE! We can start today forgiving one person; and maybe this person is you yourself.

tranformation cycle

From Haiti: the world of discovering self by Dr. Jane Aronson

Jan 29, 2011

Dr. Jane Aronson, a renowned pediatric infectious disease and adoption medicine specialist.  World Wide Orphan Foundation, the organization she started with the vision to transform the lives of orphaned children around the world, has been making a difference with children in Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Kenya, Serbia and Vietnam. To donate to WWO click here.

I’m writing this journal on early Friday and I get to go home soon to the two feet of snow in Maplewood, New Jersey. My children, whom I miss, are for sure sleeping and dreaming of the fun that they had in the snow on Wednesday. I just popped up at 4:25 am thinking about the fact that the children I met this week in Haiti have no music in their lives… nothing creative in their lives. There were no mirrors in the orphanages so they can’t see themselves and if someone takes a photo of them, they see it perhaps for a moment, and then it isn’t for them. It is for us so we can show people how much they need and want, how cute they are, how sad they are, and how tragic their lives are. But we steal the photo and take it away with us and they don’t see themselves. They can’t watch themselves grow up. We touch them and love them for a moment and that is fine, but then we leave. We ask them questions and find out about their deepest feelings of loss and we know that they have these feelings. We film them because they need to tell their stories. So they tell me their stories and I see them, really see them, and they are real for me. I know their names and I take away their memories of dead mamas and papas. I think about how WWO can help kids have better mental health. I begin to dream about how we can use music, art, dance, theater, and soccer to help kids express themselves and feel better and feel stronger. We do this in other countries…no brainer. I am going away and I am leaving them now; I will be back, but they don’t know this. I feel badly and I am sorry that I opened their wounds without healing with them. I am so sorry Djempsy, Fryzhelly, Watson, Jean, Christophe — all of you. They are “paper thin”…and so am I.

One of the best moments this week was when I filmed the kids singing a song about the history of Haiti (something about Haiti being mountains surrounded by water) on my iPhone and then showed them the film of themselves. They couldn’t get close enough to the little screen on my iPhone and they laughed at themselves. Their big smiles, white teeth and velvety black skin were so close to me. I was loving their joy so much that I almost fell off a cement platform that had been poured the week before as part of the construction of a new bathroom. There I was seated in a child’s straw chair an inch away from the edge and the kids were laughing and pointing to themselves as they watched the film. I didn’t fall off, but if I had, I would have laughed and had the satisfaction of the power of their excursion into a new world…the world of discovery of self. (read the whole article @ Journal #3)


Impatience and being undeserving by Misha Lyuve

Jan 24, 2011

I’ve been wondering whether impatience is my inborn trait or I acquired it through the years of living in big cities. In either case, there was no better place to explore my impatience than while traveling through colorful destinations of Dominican Republic, the island where time and its inhabitants’ relationship to it takes on different qualities than what I’m used to.

As a Dominican friend explained, once she moved back after living in New York city for several years, it took her a while to get used to, for example, that a cashier in a bank could have you wait for ten minutes while she is finishing up a conversation with her mother-in-law. You got the picture.

Waves at a surfing beach at Cabarete, Dominican Republic

Luckily, traveling through the island I had many opportunities to watch my impatience rise from my stomach, mixed with the sense of entitlement, flavored with disappointment and frustration and garnished with self-righteousness, getting crushed against the shores of my consciousness as foamy and mighty waves of famous surfing beaches in Cabarete.

Recently someone told me about being undeserving, a way of being where no-one owes me anything; like the world is not there to serve my needs and please me, but when it does, to accept it as a grace and a gift. Imagine that!

Continuing the inquiry into compassion by Misha Lyuve

Jan 15, 2011

And if we take all of it: our immediate circle of people including annoying neighbors and mean bosses, strangers we bump into on the trains or a grocery store or a highway or a homeless person on the street (might we worth a separate blog entry) and then the rest of the world full of starving orphans, abused women, people with debilitating illnesses, victims of natural disasters (oh how quickly the world forgot about Haiti) – where to get a heart capable of compassion for all of it and strong enough not to get crushed by heaviness, sorrow and helplessness?

And here we are sliding though our lives sipping on a latte, pissed off that the train hasn’t arrived on time and that this year’s raise didn’t meet our expectations and  that the fish was overcooked and and and

So how do we balance this walk on the thin rope of enjoying great lives we’ve got (even on a bad day), keeping an open heart full of compassion and not losing our sanity?

Oh not again, more questions than answers

A noteworthy suicide note and an inquiry into compassion by Misha Lyuve

Jan 11, 2011

Bill Zeller, a 27-year old Princeton PhD candidate and renowned internet programmer, committed a suicide and left a note that I find is worth a read (to read full letter click here)

The raw insights of his inner world and, ultimately, the act of suicide itself display a kaleidoscope of complex and contradictory intricacies of living. And I am sure if you read this letter you will end up with a wide range of opinions and emotions except for, probably, staying indifferent.

My question is about how the inner world is being expressed in the outer, for the most part in relationship with other humans.  Do we really have an idea of what the other, even someone close to us, is experiencing? After all, we’ve been conditioned to smile, exude success and thoughtlessly respond “great”s to “how are you?”s. And if we don’t feel it, we adjust. (Or else…?)

And for myself, I noticed that I became much harsher. In my life the intention to achieve desired destinations has become more important than attention, compassion or a random act of kindness.

Hmmm… definitely something to think about.

Leave comments with your thoughts.