Nie Wieder (Day #245)

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Autumn in Berlin, © Abigail Wright 2018

You might notice from the title, this post gets a bit dark. Fair warning. When I first began this blog in 2010, the idea of processing my thoughts through writing might have crossed my mind once or twice. So many years later, I am still a huge believer in embracing meaningful change, but I’m also learning the necessity of having a vehicle through which to interpret and understand these events and evolutions. So, I’m back, after a whirlwind twelve days since I disembarked on three major journeys.

1. Life Coaching Training with CTI
On this topic, I haven’t a clue where to begin except to say I’ve decided to train as a life coach, as part of my journey to help others create habits of small changes to manage anxiety and live a more fulfilling life. Landing in exactly the right place at the right time, I’ve just begun my work in training, alongside some incredible friends and coaches with a really empowering program that has already begun to transform me, as well as my skills as a coach. Although I learned a lot about active listening, asking powerful questions, and countless other skills used in coaching, I also understood myself in radical ways I didn’t expect. I now see that I still shrink and filter myself in profound ways for the sake of acceptance, and that I spend more time than I’d like trying to hide in the past or future, or in distractions, despite my continued work and study in presence for years. This beginning opens up a whole new world of possibility – my favorite thing. Also opening up Pandora’s Box of growth, I see I have a lifetime ahead of vulnerability, change, facing my own demons, and opportunity. It’s going to be a wild ride. Much love to Julie Kashen and Edwin Vega for recommending this incredible path of beautifully unknown outcomes.

2. Berlin, Germany
Despite my German heritage (my mother’s father, from whom came my nose as well as at least some of my musical talent), I never had any interest in going to Germany. Switzerland, France, Italy, yes, but not Germany. This past year, several of my friends have mentioned Berlin as a really great city to visit and in which to live. Invited by Rebecca, who moved there last year, Janine, whom I met last May, and then Lindsay, who decided to travel there in November and said I should go too, I decided to see if I could meet my dear friend Adam from the UK there and created a trip.

Despite some serious travel obstacles in getting there (No need to trudge through that – but the moral of that story is: avoid kiwi.com, EuroAtlantic Airways, and Aigle Azur. Enough said.), I landed in Berlin, grateful to catch up with eleven friends and loved ones over brunch upon my arrival. We caught my incredible friend Glacéia as one of the stars of an out-of-this-world revue show with circus acts called Vivid. Singing and performing like a firecracker, she blew me away, along with the rest of the show.

For the rest of the weekend, I wrestled with my newfound vulnerability, attempted to shrink less and spend more time in presence (as learned from my life coaching class), and enjoyed the moments. Awareness has its downsides too, and I quickly realized why I never wanted to travel to Germany – because of its incredibly complicated and at times evil recent past. We saw some pieces of the wall, walked by Checkpoint Charlie, and got a little lost in the Holocaust Memorial.

Nothing, however, could prepare me for the way I would feel when facing the Brandenburg Gate – the sense of dread at standing in a place where Hitler once held rallies. Focusing much of my life on the positive, I admit, I rarely like to spend time facing the darkness, but I’m glad I went. At this time in a very polarized climate in the United States and in a rather dangerous era for citizens of many other countries in the world, I want to be one of the global citizens who pays attention and contends with both the light and dark. Thankfully, I ended on a light note with wonderful people, and I even took time to enjoy a visit to Vabali Spa with some friends.

3. San Francisco, California
Although I also had a wonderful opportunity to catch up with a few beloved friends and stay with a gracious host from Belarus (ex-DJ turning sommelier, how can you go wrong?), this trip went awry. Let’s be honest, I’m disappointed that the smoke from the forest fires kept me from being able to relax and give a solid audition representative of my talents. That said, who cares?

I am so sorry for everyone dealing with the forest fires in California, from the everyday citizens (hopefully) wearing medical masks or construction masks, to those evacuated, to the tens of thousands now homeless and the dozens who’ve lost their lives. I weep for the planet, and I have not yet recovered emotionally from breathing in the air of the earth that cries for help while we continue to pollute it with our entitled lives of carbon, plastic, and carelessness. Even South Park (I love this show) gets it right now. I came home last night and attended a child’s birthday party today. When the topic arose, one person said we’d have to wait until we had a better president to accomplish anything for climate change. I couldn’t help but argue that we can’t wait for someone else to make a change.

Well, needless to say, I’ve had quite a journey these past twelve days, including the six plane trips and huge array of food, smells, temperatures, personalities, and time zones. Distilling it down to the most important lessons, I have learned two crucial things. First and foremost, we are destroying the planet. We’ve been destroying the planet. We really don’t have the luxury of waiting for someone else to fix it or distracting ourselves from doing something about it. Period. Secondly, good people are my favorite attraction. Not museums, monuments, or even autumn leaves and shows. People. Given that, I have to remember that good people can make a difference.

So – if you’re one of those, find a way to do something more than you’re already doing to change today. Good news, there are resources to find out how, compiled by good people like you. Here are six of them, if you’d like to make a difference.
1. Reduce your carbon footprint
2. Get involved
3. Divest
4. Invest
5. Attempt a zero waste lifestyle (or some of the approaches to it)
6. Listen to people trying to solve the problems of climate change (it really helps me to stay somewhat optimistic and not feel paralyzed or powerless!)

About the Holocaust, Germans have said, “nie wieder,” meaning “never again.” In the time of World War II, countless individuals turned a blind eye to the atrocities facing their fellow citizens of the world. Passing the blame to the people executing orders or giving the orders, most of the people who might have done something to make it stop sat around and did nothing. Perhaps people will question my comparison of genocide to climate change, but what will future generations think if we too sit by and do nothing, while others enjoy their entitled freedoms and grow their wealth at the cost of the  displacement of islands and cities, the destruction of homes, lives lost, and the desolation of Earth? This bothers me. It should bother us all.

 

From a Marathoner with Love

Closed Central Park

Dear Friends, Fans, and Family,

To those of you who’ve supported me by donating funds to Team for Kids, running with me, or cheering me along my training, thank you. I couldn’t have come this far without you.

As you know, this part of the world has been ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, and I have no words to express my sadness and heartbreak for the victims of this storm. That it has begun to polarize our community about such a life-affirming event as a marathon further breaks my heart. So many of us have spent months training for a challenge designed to makes us stronger and raised donations for very worthy causes, and I believe in this marathon and that it should continue on Sunday. I believe we each should run with our heads held high, celebrating 26.2 miles of this amazing city and the inhabitants who now fight daily to keep it running in every way.

Although I think it practical and important to keep the marathon’s spirit, income and revenue rolling despite this difficult time, my heart does truly goes out to my friends especially in Staten Island, Long Island, lower Manhattan, and NJ, as well as those affected in other localities. Throughout the days leading up to the race and on Sunday, volunteers are encouraging runners to donate to help victims of the disaster. As participants, may we use this moment as a call to volunteer our time or donate as we can and not turn away from those who need our help. As spectators, please meet us with a cheer rather than a protest for our months of hard work.

Let’s not turn our backs on each other in this time of need. If you need disaster relief or volunteers elsewhere, please post where we can help in the comments. If you have a donation to give, please begin with the Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief here: http://www.redcross.org/hurricane-sandy. If you’d rather give to another similar organization, this Huffington Post article provides some good tips for giving well to the disaster relief efforts.

If you’re interested in giving also to Team for Kids, please send your donations in the way of my friend Kristen Kasarjian’s page. She’s running for the same charity I am and still needs to reach her goal. We all have goals, after all… Some of us want to finish a race, some want to replenish our incomes so we can pay our bills, some of us want heat, water and electricity, some of us need a new home. It’s the energy and beautiful stubbornness behind people like marathoners that make this city great. Please don’t hide behind the glow of your television, computer, and smartphone while criticizing people bringing revenues and hope to a city we love. If you want to help, unplug along with those who have no choice and look for an opportunity. I promise you, there are plenty… and if I can help, please tell me how.