I love being a mother and I’m forever grateful for my children. It has not always been so smooth through pregnancy, childbirth, and nurturing but I’m constantly learning, praying and evolving as I navigate through this journey of motherhood. We have been blessed with two gorgeous boys who are to me everything that I could have asked or wished for. They are sweet in their own right and sometimes can be thorns in each other’s flesh (sibling rivalry). I don’t dare say I know much about that as I am an only child so did not have to fight over toys with any sibling. Nonetheless I get to watch the love and bond that both boys share which is beyond every little fight that exist between the two.
Raising boys has its own challenges but I guess the same can be said about girls too (any help from mums with girls?) This should be another topic for discussion sometime later. Often times I get friends asking me how I manage with two boys? I don’t always have an answer but rather say to them; do I need a formula to manage boys? I believe every child is an individual with unique strengths that need to be nurtured by parents and not go by society’s norms to raising boys or girls in a certain way. Every child is created different and no two children are the same even twins. I am not a perfect parent but I pray and strive to be the best mother to our children.
This topic of motherhood and experiences came up during a discussion with a group of mum friends at one of the children’s parties we had attended. As usual we sat around and chatted over finger foods and tried to catch up on what we had been up to. A mum who was still nursing her then 4-month old baby told us about her birthing experience since she was a first time mum and wanted to hear from some of us who had been there before. You sometimes feel you have a lot of experience after a second or a third child and can give the most advice to new mums. This was her question to us: ‘so how was it like during the birth of your first child? Were you so nervous or scared? My answer to her was simple; I was just SCARED! (more…)
Managing Editor, Elizabeth Atalay, Senior and World Voice Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan, and Founder, Jennifer Burden on a video call to kick off the new season!
Welcome back, everyone!
This summer we all took a well needed “Blogcation” from the site. It was nice to take a break. The summer was busy for me and my family. We were in Europe and splashing along New Jersey’s coast in the USA, as well as, day tripping into New York City. Our adventures left very little time for sitting in front of a computer! But now that the kids are back to school, I am excited to be a part of picking up where we left off…
Getting back into the swing of things last week all started with Purnima in India posting to our editors’ group on Facebook: “Are we starting our posting schedule today?”, and then we all started scrambling into position from around the globe!
Elizabeth Atalay in the USA began organizing the schedule and surveying what had been written in the queue. She called me on the phone later in the week, and we agreed to organize our first Senior Editors meeting of the year. Kirsten was on jury duty in Canada, so we’d have to wait another week for her input. We agreed to meet on Wednesday morning. It was like getting all the Super Heros together!
Here’s how it all went down:
I chose 9:15am because it’s early enough in Purnima’s evening in India for her to attend, and it would give me enough time to get the kids on the bus, and then be back in time to fire up my computer with my cup of tea. However, one of my daughters slept in this morning, and I had to give her the full on mom physical — feel her head, take her temp, ask her questions — to see if she was ok to go to school. She was. So, after getting one kid on the bus, I had enough time to pack the other kid up, and drive her to school. So, not the calm stroll from the bus stop onto the video call that I envisioned! I messaged Purnima to let her know I’d be running late.
Once on the call, Purnima’s internet in India kept cutting out on us. It also took us both awhile to tinker and find the right mic and volume settings on each side. We FINALLY got it all going, and then out of the blue my husband comes running down the stairs and says in a panic, “I need a ride to the bus stop! I’m not going to make it, if I have to park! Sorry, I received a call I had to take a few minutes ago! Can you take me?” He had been working in the office upstairs, but needed to head to NYC for a meeting. So, I then had to end the video call. Yep. And I had to tell Purnima I’d call her when I got back from driving my husband to the bus.
It’s now after 10am. On the way back, I got a text from Elizabeth, “Did I miss the call?” She had other business this morning, and couldn’t get on earlier, but was now free. I say, “Perfect timing.”
I head back into the house, and before you know it, I’ve got both, Purnima and Elizabeth on the video call. Success!
Later, we share what we discussed in our editors’ group, and Senior Editor, Kirsten Doyle in Canada, got to add on to what we were building.
This about explains what it’s like behind the scenes, here, at World Moms Network. Did you expect something else?
We pull it all together. We always do. We’re the #WorldMoms. So, this is a note to let you know how grateful we are that you stop by here to read. We’re not in a big office building churning out editorials. We’re out and about around the globe, on the ground, and enthusiastic about making this work into our day. It really means a lot to us that you’re reading!
What can you look out for? #WorldMoms will be hitting New York City next week for events around the United National General Assembly. Elizabeth Atalay, Nicole Melancon and myself will be attending the Travel Blogger Summit on Study Abroad and Global Citizenship. The Summit is a continuation from the White House Travel Blogger Summit that I attended in 2014. They have a great lineup of speakers and sponsors, whom we can’t wait to meet! The hashtag is #studyabroadbecause
Margie Webb in Arkansas and Tes Solomon in New York will be covering this year’s Social Good Summit in New York City hosted by the UN Foundation, Mashable, UNDP, and the 92nd St. Y! World Moms Network has been covering this event since 2011, and it’s always an interesting event to hear about the progress towards the world’s goals to end extreme poverty and more! The hashtag is #2030Now
Tes Solomon will also be attending a high level United Nations Summit on the Sustainable Development Goals, too! We are covering a lot of bases, and can’t wait to keep you posted on what we learn. Make sure you keep up with our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds September 21st-24th!
Drop us a line in the comments and let us know what you’d like to hear more about from us in the year to come! We’d love to hear from you. And…Welcome Back!
Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India.
She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls.
Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.
You might have noticed we were a bit quiet on our website this summer as we took our annual “Blogcation.” Well, here is what some of us, World Moms, were up to during July and August of 2017!
Tara Bergman, USA
“My family and I took a backpacking trip to an alpine lake in the Cascade Mountains in Washington State, USA. It was a lot of work to get everyone on the trail with packs, but we made it to our destination and had the whole lake to ourselves overnight. The birds were chirping until 10pm and started up again around 4am, so I guess we had some company after all.”
Tina Rodriguez, Philippines
“No holidays here in the Philippines now. I’ve been trying to juggle many things like family and home life (including homeschooling the kids), work, advocacies, etc. By God’s grace, I’m surviving! ?My family and I were even able to squeeze in some bonding time with my parents, which made for many precious moments!”
Ketakandriana Fafitoson, Madagascar
World Mom, Ketekandriana Fafitoson, of Madagascar poses in front of the temple-pyramid of El Castillo in Chichen Itza while on a business trip in Mexico. The temple once served as an astronomical observatory!
“My kids have just finished school but I don’t know if we will have time to go on the seaside this year (we live in the highlands). The fact is that I am 6 months pregnant now, and still have to travel a lot for my job and my activism…But I will try to manage some time to take them to their favorite place, maybe in early September…If everything goes well”
Tes Silverman, World Voice, USA
“Summer’s was busy for me & my family! My daughter, Shaina, graduated from high school in June, and then my whole family headed down south to Virginia Beach in early July to celebrate my great-aunt’s 100th birthday! What an amazing reunion of aunts, uncles & cousins I haven’t seen in years, and especially for Shaina, who met a lot of them for the first time. My most favorite moment was going up to my great-aunt Pacing (the woman of the day in pink), and after being told who I was, seeing her eyes fly wide open after recognizing me and giving me a big smile. I then moved over so I could introduce her to Shaina, and her response was, “oh so pretty!” It was so moving for me that she recognized me after so many years, and that I had the opportunity to have Shaina & Micah see her again.
That weekend spent with my relatives made me realize how precious life is & how awesome it is to have an extended family. If l live to be 100, I hope to see as much family around me as my great-aunt had. As a result of this weekend, we are now planning to get together again next year, to make sure that the 2nd generation (mine) & 3rd generation of cousins (Shaina’s) keep in touch.
To-wen Tseng, USA
“Currently pregnant with my 2nd child, I had to take some time off earlier this year because of pregnancy complications. Now into 27 weeks, I’m feeling better and trying to catch up at work. I have a new book due exactly on the baby’s due date! Wasn’t aware of the pregnancy when I sign the contract with the publisher. A busy summer for me!”
Founder Jennifer Burden, USA
“We headed to the U.K. and Italy for a month to vacation and catch up with family and friends. Here’s a photo of the girls looking out over the ruins of the Forum in Rome.”
Bessma Bader, Saudi Arabia
“Summer has been both, slow and busy. Busy because I gave birth to my 5th child in June 18th, and slow because since then I have been stuck under or beside my 5th feeding or caring for him. All while trying to make sure the other kids get to various summer camps and activities to keep them busy considering it’s averaging 48-50 C degrees outside in the daytime, so outdoor activities are not an option! Feeling happy, tired and blessed. “
Cindy Levin, World Voice, USA
“I took my family up to the San Juan islands, a remote chain of islands in the pacific northwest of the U.S. We kayaked, canoed, hiked, and watched the orcas watching us. We also got to scramble around the “bottom of the ocean” looking for sea stars. In a rare tidal event, the moon was aligned so that we could walk where the water would normally be 10 feet over our heads!”
Piya Mukherjee, India
“It was a lovely summer and a bit of a milestone. My 18-year old returned home for his summer break from the hostel, and it’s been a sweet-sad feeling, cherishing every moment of family time, yet aware of the calendar telling us he will fly back to Delhi soon to his engineering studies. Best of all was the 8-day trip to Gokarna and Goa (India) – an off-the-grid, back-in-time kind of holiday, with entire days spent at the beach!”
Yolanda McCloud Gordon, USA
“I had a great summer. First in June, I went to NYC to participate in a story telling workshop with The Moth! Totally awesome. Then I joined Cynthia Changyit Levin in DC to fight for healthcare and led a Storytelling workshop at the RESULTS Conference! Back at home I prepped for the student that I took under my wings this summer.”
Elizabeth Atalay, Managing Editor, USA
“This was an epic summer for us, having both turned 50 this past year, looking forward to our 20th wedding anniversary this fall, and sending our oldest of four kids off to college in the fall inspired us to go big with our summer plans. It was a dream come true for me to travel to Tanzania as a family with Proud African Safaris, a small Tanzanian owned company that provided a trip of a lifetime. We spent 6 nights in the Serengeti viewing spectacular wildlife, and visited a Masaai village as well as several tribes in the lake Eyasi region. Then spent a few days at the beach in Zanzibar. Soon after our family trip, I did a week long women’s trip to Israel that was incredible. Then as a family we traveled into the path of totality in South Carolina to view the Total Solar Eclipse!”
We are excited to be back, to share the global stories that we have collected and dive into a new season together!
What did you do did this past summer? We’d love to hear!
Elizabeth Atalay is a Digital Media Producer, Managing Editor at World Moms Network, and a Social Media Manager. She was a 2015 United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow, and traveled to Ethiopia as an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow to report on newborn health in 2014. On her personal blog, Documama.org, she uses digital media as a new medium for her background as a documentarian. After having worked on Feature Films and Television series for FOX, NBC, MGM, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and Castle Rock Pictures, she studied documentary filmmaking and anthropology earning a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School in New York. Since becoming a Digital Media Producer she has worked on social media campaigns for non-profits such as Save The Children, WaterAid, ONE.org, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, Edesia, World Pulse, American Heart Association, and The Gates Foundation. Her writing has also been featured on ONE.org, Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter.com, EnoughProject.org, GaviAlliance.org, and Worldmomsnetwork.com. Elizabeth has traveled to 70 countries around the world, most recently to Haiti with Artisan Business Network to visit artisans in partnership with Macy’s Heart of Haiti line, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans. Elizabeth lives in New England with her husband and four children.
#WorldMom Ann Marie of Greece spent time with the children and workers in her charity
And a crazy buzz in the pit of my tummy which I had rarely felt since becoming a mother!
These were just some of a multitude of swirling emotions which engulfed me on my recent trip to East Africa. Travelling solo to a part of the world which has a bad reputation regarding health and safety measures was a challenge indeed! Not being able to sleep for about two days due to the length of the journey was just one of the obstacles I had to face. My main worry on the plane was planning tactics on how NOT to contract yellow fever, typhoid, malaria, diarrhoea, aids… the list was endless.
I really did NOT want to spend my time in Africa perched over a teeny hole trying to perfect my aim in a delirious state. Most Ugandan toilets are basically small ( to my European eyes) holes in the ground with no flush system or water. So getting sick there is no laughing matter. As it happened, I shared my hole with another 5 families, in a shed which could barely host my ample hips. Fortunately though, this daily, aerobic activity turned out to be the most dangerous experience of my whole stay – I never felt threatened in any other way during my visit. Close friends in the medical profession had made sure my suitcase was packed with enough medical supplies to fill a pharmacy/chemist shop.
I actually needed NONE of them and even stopped using the eye drops I normally use in Greece. I didn’t even get a tummy bug or headache but was the healthiest I can remember being in many years in fact. I do believe I had more kilos in healthcare products than clothes packed in my bags, all of which were unnecessary.
Despite being full of trepidation on the outward flight regarding the dangers of bad hygiene and drinking water from a suspicious source, my main emotion was that of euphoria. I had done it!
I had thrown caution to the wind and embarked on one of my life’s ambitions after putting it on hold for decades.
Starting a family usually means, for most mothers, a period where work and life goals are put away in a storage cupboard to be taken out and savoured on rainy days whilst enjoying a cup of tea.Unless you are fortunate enough to have a full time nanny or family member to take primary charge of your offspring, most mothers are busy with the daily needs of nurturing and running a household.
That usually means our (pre-motherhood) burning ambitions and personal life goals are stored away in the closet and reappear for a brief dusting and airing once in a while but rarely see the light of day. That’s what happened to me when I had my two sons. I had always wanted to go to work with Mother Theresa in Kolkatta and had actually made the application to go and do my gap year in India. Life had different plans for me however, and due to a series of events I ended up going to Berlin to do my year out. I had an unforgettable life experience living in Germany and one of the first things I did was volunteer to work with senior citizens. Having been involved in volunteer work since secondary school, my needs in this area were certainly fulfilled and I have absolutely no regrets about my time spent in Germany. However, there was always a nagging regret that I hadn’t gone to India. I was devastated at the death of Mother Theresa on several levels and it was a final confirmation that I would never meet her personally – at least not in this life.
When my two sons were old enough to be left on their own at home I became much more active again in the community and focused my efforts on working with the huge number of Syrian refugees who have been entering Greece the last few years. I also became active in trying to encourage sponsors and supporters for a start-up or charity in Uganda.
#WorldMom Ann Marie of Greece spent time with the workers in her charity
The regret I had about not going to India manifested itself once again during my developing friendship and admiration for the group of young African pioneers who were striving to bring about change for children in their community. It had always been my dream to go and learn in a third world country. After receiving several invitations from the charity organisers to go and stay with them, so we could share our culture and ideas, I took a major decision; I thought it’s either now or never!
I really needed to grab that quietly smouldering dream and yank it out of the closet once and forever.
My family and friends were touchingly supportive and encouraging so the whole preparation went really well.
I don’t want to go into too many details in this post about my actual time spent in Uganda. It would take too long! I’ll save that story for my next post.
The point I want to share with you now is that however long you have shelved and stored your dream its RARELY too late to fulfill it or at least do some slightly altered version of it.
Where will YOU go or what will you DO to fulfill your dream(s) … which have possibly been put on hold?
Having lived in 4 different countries, Ann Marie finds it difficult to give a short answer about where she's from. She regards herself: Brit by birth, Aussie by nature, with a sprinkling of Greek and German based on her insatiable appetite for tasty food and chilled beer!
This World Mom has been married to her Greek soulmate for 16 years and they are the proud but constantly challenged parents of two overactive teenage boys. (She secretly wonders sometimes if she was given the wrong babies when she left the maternity clinic.) She can't explain the fascination and ability that her 13 and 14 year-olds show in math and physics or that both boys are ranked 1st and 2nd nationally in judo. Ann Marie can only conclude that those years of breastfeeding, eating home cooked meals and home tutoring really DO make a difference in academic and physical performance! The family is keeping its fingers crossed that---with the awful economic crash in Greece---continued excellence in math and/or judo will lead to university scholarships...
In addition to writing, enjoying a good glass of wine and movies, Ann Marie also works as a teacher and tends their small, free-range farm in the Greek countryside.
That is what the receptionist said when I asked her the meaning of “aussichtsterrasse baumli”.
“So, how do we go there?” I asked again.
She looked at me blankly at first, and I worried if I had asked a culturally inappropriate question.
“You have been here in Winterthur, for three days and you have not gone there yet?” she asked me incredulously.
I frantically looked out for where my husband was. He was busy fuzbolling with the children, at the hotel lobby, much to my annoyance. I thought he had already spoken to this particular receptionist and asked for directions and I had to just pick up some papers from her.
When I returned my attention to her, she was back to being busy at her computer, and I wondered if I should ask her again or just go back to watching fuzboll.
“So, this is a print out of the local map from here to the bus station,” she handed out a sheet.
“Thank you,” I said.
“And this is a map from the bus station to the forest,” she continued with another sheet. “And let me get you a local map of our city,” saying so she got up and went into another adjoining room.
“Now if you take the bus from Loki station to …” she was amazing.
Switzerland is just not the friendliest nation in the world. It is also the most hospitable. The people there are truly helpful.
A walk through the town of Winterthur
We began our journey to the promising terrace on top of the town. As we stepped out of the hotel, a light drizzle started and perhaps we hesitated to continue, because we were the only ones who had embarked on this journey, all alone, without our friends. And we wondered at the futility of it, in the rain, at a shivering temperature.
“Why don’t you use my umbrella,” said a voice. We turned to find our friendliest receptionist in the world.
“You think it is okay to go in the rain?” I asked.
“Today is your last day, and you should not miss Baumli,” she answered.
There was no looking back now.
With maps in hand, taking blind turns at intersections, reading German street signs, comparing it with the map, not understanding, giving up, almost turning back again, our adventurous spirit returning, trotting on, asking directions from students who had perennial ear plugs in their ears, we continued our journey.
Culture soaking the lonely, rainy streets…
It was not bad. It was an adventure. My only fear was, we could get lost, not knowing how to find our way back, and missing our return flight home. It was our last day in Switzerland.
My son kept insisting, “Ma, we are not kids, we won’t get lost. See we have maps.”
We reached what they called the bus station after a walk of half an hour and following the map. You see we had refused to take the connecting bus from the hotel to the bus station which would take us to the beautiful terrace on top of the town.
Culture soaking the streets some…
My husband and son wanted to ‘soak’ in the culture and feeling of the town, they claimed. I still wonder how they claimed to do it without the feeling of feeling lost with a map in hand.
Culture soaking the streets some more…
We were faced with the most challenging task to get tickets. The automatic ticket kiosk at the bus station displayed everything in German. And we jumped to our maps to check all the words which our kind receptionist had circled in red.
None of the words or destination names looked familiar. I knew we were lost. I had this intense irritation which I masked. My husband kept insisting that he was taking me to a surprise destination, but with Google in our mobile phones, no destination is ever really a surprise.
Finally, after a short epic incident at the ticket kiosk, we got our tickets and got on a bus and waited with bated breath for the supposed destination to arrive. When we got down, I almost expected to see a beautiful terrace or viewpoint. But no! We got down finding ourselves at the entrance of a narrow trail leading into a very dense forest.
Entering the forest…
“We have to walk into this forest,” said my husband.
The entry to the forest …
“Of course,” I really put efforts into masking my irritation.
“Google says if we are lucky, we can sight many wild animals,” my son shrieked excitedly.
I knew I had to make peace with the world now, or I could never. I am never a surprise loving person. I am a Taurean, who likes to be grounded, who likes to know what to expect, and who likes everything in order. But here we were embarking on a journey into a forest to a promised beautiful view above the town, after a long and assiduous journey by walk and bus. For all that anyone knew, we were already lost. And there was that promise of wild animals too, which I tried hard to forget.
I followed the two excited kids – one an adult, one still a kid; they had both already entered the narrow trail and walked further on assuming I was following too. So, I decided to oblige them as well. And it is good to get lost together, isn’t it?
A walk into the forest continues …
The air was fresh. There was a light mist. The drizzling had stopped some time back. I have always been a trekker, and so I enjoyed walking generally. It was not so bad, I decided.
“Look ma, nature is smiling at us. You have to too.”
A Change of my heart!
About ten minutes into our walk, my heart was doing wonders. There is something about a walk that creates magic in the air, that makes you inhale miracle dust, that makes you wonder at the beauty of the world, and this was one such walk, into the dense forest, sighting wild animals. My son claimed an animal to be a fox, my husband thought it to be a wolf or vice versa. It was chasing behind another small animal.
Nature beckoning us on …
We continued our walk. The path curved beautifully. It started to drizzle again slightly. We shivered in the rain, but for nothing in the world, I would have stayed back at the hotel.
As the forest cleared slightly, we came across beautiful vineyards, the tiny vines yet to creep up the fence. The tender leaves yet to open up fully were shyly grinning against the rain drops glistening on their tips.
Beautiful vineyards in the making…
We continued to walk up. I believe we would have been walking for about half an hour now. I make it a point to never wear a watch unless my husband reminds me to. I do not like to know the time, at any time.
You could walk forever if you have the time, energy and a heart which loves to meander about natural beauty. There were benches lined up in short intervals in the path, in the middle of the vineyards. The journey was romancing us, the path was dancing up to us, singing to us, luring us into its fold.
The journey romancing us …
There was an occasional jogger who waved at my son. I wondered who would want to jog in a drizzle, but here she was, with a pink hood. There was another middle-aged man who was strolling just like us, and who was content to just walk, pause, look ahead at the vast beauty from the elevation, and continue to walk, pause, and so on.
A wayfarer who posed for us …
We continued our walk. These were the only two people we ever met during our whole walk because it was just not the day to take a walk uphill. I totally agree, never at 7 degrees Celsius in the shivering drizzle.
A thermometer on the path
It was pretty lonely. The past few days had been a constant whirl or seeing all over Europe, drinking in the beautiful architecture, gazing lovingly at Renaissance art, eating exotic foods, being bombarded with brand new culture every hour of the day, playing fuzzball, running behind kids, interacting with our friends, singing antakshari and so on. This walk felt like a fitting end to the hectic trip we were just concluding.
Nature assaulting us with her bounty
This walk to Baumli, was the best part of our trip, for, in this walk, we received more from nature than we ever hoped to seek. Traveling in Europe fulfilled our expectations of the art, culture, excitement and all the assaults on our senses, which we had hoped for. But this walk was an assault on our soul, it was joyful, it was bliss.
Reaching the promised terrace:
The walk led us to the terrace – the promised heaven of the exercise. And what a view it was. We were all spellbound. We could not drink in the sight more than we did, but we ached so much to drink more if at all that makes sense.
The promised terrace above the town
There was not a single soul around. It was still drizzling, and we still had only one umbrella, with which our son was generally dancing, leaving the two of us to shiver so badly.
Dancing with the umbrella
It was also the worst day to go on a trek, and into a forest, to the top of the mountain, just to look at a view.
But you did not need an umbrella or a special shoe for this trek, you only needed a special type of soul, and we all had that, I guess.
A destination worthy of a journey
And in that shiver, our beautiful souls were looking at something, never before looked at. We were experiencing those feelings in our heart since the past hour, which had never before been experienced. A walk in nature is definitely good. But a walk to reach Baumli, all alone in solitude, in a brief drizzle of love from mother Nature, was beyond the best. I think I could explode by just looking at the view, or going through the journey again.
Culmination of an epic
I promise, anyone who undertakes such a walk, could hear angels whispering in her ears, angels whispering verses of poetry, angels beckoning your fingers into a painting, I felt all my creativity surging in, and I tried hard to stifle it, for I did not want my creativity to steal away my precious moment of communion.
This long trek to Baumli, was really a walk inwards to my own heart, to the deepest recess of my heart, ever traveled by me, and with open eyes too. There is a beautiful phrase used in the Heartfulness system of meditation – Constant Remembrance. What it means in very simple terms is, to be in touch with divinity at all times. And on this day, I felt this term take on more meanings than what was ever felt possible to me at any earlier time.
I have said this before, and I will say it again, the beauty always lies in the journey, it lies in the walking or trekking or riding. The destinations are almost always déjà vu or an anti-climax or at times even betrayals of the long arduous effort of reaching there. This time, this one time alone, in this walk to reach the top of Baumli, I could say that the statement could be rendered false.
Both the destination and the journey were as beautiful as the other. None were competing with each other. They both stood alone, in their own individual splendor, and reverence.
Some walks cannot be explained; alas we only can fall back on words like this article, for communication. Some walks can only be experienced, and even then, there would still be something lurking in your consciousness which could be trying to say something to you, which you could continue to try to understand, even one month after the walk. This was one such walk.
Well, after about 15 minutes, we decided that we had to interact and looked at each other, and smiled.
My husband’s eyes twinkled as if to say, “I wanted to surprise you, didn’t I say that?”
Love is ‘Meaningless Meanderings Leading to Perfection’!
Love and romance certainly is a candle light dinner or red roses on birthdays (no, he has not got me either, lol). It is also a declaration of love like the poems written by Romeo for Juliet. However at times, true love could mean a frustrating journey with upside down German maps and unintelligible road signs, at times true love could mean a walk along with foxes (or maybe wolves), and at times true love could also mean shivering in the rain with hair plastered all over my face at 7 degrees Celsius.
True love could be a meaningless meandering which can lead to perfection, says Lao Tzu.
Above all true love is that, where each one takes the other to the Ultimate communion.
Has any vacation taken you by surprise to redefine your opinion of beauty or love?
Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here .
She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award .
She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page .
She also contributes to Huffington Post .
Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!
This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.
She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.
“Has anyone ever told you that you look like a young Lynda Carter?” an older man asked me in a park. I was in my 20s at the time.
“Yes, actually,” I replied. “Thank you.”
I smiled and walked on. It wasn’t the first time I heard that comment. A few people likened me to the actress who played Wonder Woman in the mid-late 1970s on television. Though she started to portray Wonder Woman the year before I was born, people would mention her name as my apparent doppelganger from an early age. I guess it was the dark hair and eyes.
I’ve always had a thing for Wonder Woman. I wasn’t really ever into comic books or superheroes, in particular. But I had Wonder Woman underoos and a felt a connection to her character. Maybe because she had similar features as me. It could also have been that she was a strong, badass female. What girl doesn’t want to be like Wonder Woman?
I dressed as Wonder Woman two Halloweens ago. I hadn’t dressed up for Halloween in decades, but my gym was having a fun outdoor workout that encouraged Halloween costumes. I bought a costume in a local store. I knew exactly who I wanted to be. When my ex-husband came to my house to pick my boys up for the night, I was outside dressed in my full Wonder Woman costume. He didn’t say a word. I posted something on Facebook about the encounter, thinking it was a funny/awkward little encounter. I left my phone for a bit, worked out, dragged a tire a few times and found over 200 likes to my funny little post.
I felt pretty badass that night and have been told that the Wonder Woman character fits me well.
It wasn’t until I saw the most recent Wonder Woman movie that I truly understood why I’ve felt a connection to the character for so long. Watching her story unfold reminded me of my own. It’s hard to explain, but I saw a girl who grew into a woman that, despite being told “No” a whole lot, fought for what she believed in. She appreciated life, truth, babies, ice cream, didn’t have a need for the acceptance of men (and pointed out that besides procreation weren’t really needed at all) and rocked a tiara. She was kind, funny, had a need to defend the world from bad and was ready to fight if the need arose.
When every man on the screen told her not to cross No Man’s Land, Diana Prince became Wonder Woman. She took her coat off to reveal her true self, raised her shield and walked straight there, deflecting bullets with her bracelets. The men followed. Like others, I may have teared up a little during this scene.
But it wasn’t about winning a war. It was about love.
As Diana said, “It’s about what you believe. And I believe in love. Only love will truly save the world.”
I write this here because I think most moms feel the same way. As a single mom, my kids see me mow the lawn, lift weight, cook dinner, watch their sporting events, go to work, among other things, every single week. They’ve seen me at my highest and lowest points and love me no matter what. They roll their eyes at me, tell me I’m mean and still give the biggest, most loving hugs I’ve ever received.
As moms, we are all wonder women. We persist when we’re told no. We seek truth and justice. We keep going because we are out to protect our kids and our love. Nothing will stop us.
Have you seen the Wonder Woman movie? Did you feel a connection to Diana?