Friday, March 29, 2013

Cartoon 39: Receive


I was sitting in a busy circus tent working with a young man who had honey colored eyes, a half shaved head, and gigantic holes in his ears. We were practicing meditation techniques to develop presence and focus to support our circus work. We got so deeply invested in the exercise that we didn´t realize that lunch time had arrived. The buses that were meant to take us and everyone to the cafeteria filled up with all the other colorful singing laughing crazy circus folk and headed off on down the road. We opened our eyes to find ourselves alone in the huge red and blue tent with empty bellies and no transportation to get food. So we each decided to go scavenging.

As I walked through the campground of the circus convention, I happened upon a big white van with a license plate that said Cordoba, Argentina. It was the temporary home of the two smiling faces and open hearts that calmed my growling stomach with a delicious fish sandwich and hierba mate (traditional Argentinian tea). It was only appropriate that that's how I met the people that would later receive me in their home in Cordoba and teach me a lesson that life has been trying to get through my hard head this whole trip: how to receive.

A month later when I arrived to their home, they welcomed me with a bed to sleep in and delicious Argentinian style barbecues every night. When I asked about their hopes and expectations for the time that we would be working together, they said, "We just want you to be happy."

It's amazing to have not worked for money for almost a year now, I work in exchange for food and housing. I've never given so much in my life. And I've never received so much. In every country, complete strangers have taken me into their homes, They have trust me with everything they have, open up their hearts to me, share their tears with me, their laughter, their hate and frustrations. And they have given me everything I need. Often times the people who are taking care of me aren't even part of the community I'm working with, they just believe in my project.

Many times I've found myself so worried about deserving what people are giving me, that I don't even truly receive it. My mind swims trying to figure out what they are expecting of me in return. By stepping out of the monetary system, I have stepped into a grey area that has opened my mind and heart to deeper understanding of what it is to just accept and enjoy what people want to give to me. I'm not getting what I need because I'm paying for it, or because I've worked for it yet (when I first arrive to a new community I'm learning the context, diagnosing and planning so I'm not producing anything tangible for a while). I'm getting what I need because people want to give it to me.

I'm now watching myself in all parts of my life when people are giving to me. A compliment, admiration from people I meet, a person who finds me attractive on the street. I notice that I get tense in these situations, wondering what I should do, what does this mean, what does this person want... I'm not going to do that anymore. I'm just going to let what people give me wash over me like a river, nourishing me and filling me up just like the person who gave it would want it to.


  1. sounds like you've finally come full circle! thanks for continuing to share your adventures and epiphanies. que sigues el camino!

  2. gracias Ben! thank u for being an inspiration!!