Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I Need to Shut Up Sometimes and Learn to Look at Myself

We always learn new things as we journey through life--that is, as we get seconds and days and years older--and some lessons are just incredibly, incredibly humbling.

I'm in Aceh Province in Indonesia right now (having left North Sumatra just yesterday) getting my first exposure to the worldwide work of the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP)--something Quakers started a while back but has now become largely secular because that's exactly how it's supposed to be--and, even though I'm barely a week into it, the whole experience has been absolutely life-changing.  The place, the work, the principles, especially the people I've come to know are simply extraordinary.

You see, I didn't really know this but I can honestly say I've only known way too little about the things I've been talking about all this time.  This is really hard to say but it's the raw truth.  I've been stagnant in the growth department for very, very long.

I'm not going to go into details right now but I just really felt the need to admit I've been a pompous brat all these years without even realising it.  It's always been a mantra of mine that we're constantly evolving and growing but I've only come to grasp, these past seven days, what growth and evolution actually mean.  I've heard lectures and public talks about it.  The organisations I work with are big on ideas of growth and evolution and it's all good but such concepts are simply not absorbed through verbal information relay.  It has to come through personal experience and that's what happened to me.  It hurt very badly when it happened.  It was like getting slapped repeatedly in the face and stomped on by wooden shoes.  I shed tears lying in my hard make-shift bed but it had to happen otherwise I would have been stuck where I was.