Sunday, January 18, 2009

We see ourselves reflected in others


A new year is usually the time when we reassess where we are in life and where we are heading. In 2007/08 I was heading everywhere with little time in between to think about my experiences, what they mean and how they are changing me.

2009 will bring travels less in quantity but hopefully more in quality time. My dad always says ‘everything in moderation’ and he is right. It’s because I have been obsessively overdoing the travelling thing that my body finally said: enough.

However, more rest in between travels have been rewarding me with small epiphanies that may or may not mean anything at all. A friend was teasing me recently about how my tea collection now exceeds my red wine supplies - when it suddenly dawned on me that the two drinks have more than a few things in common.

While green tea is as ingrained in Eastern cultures as red wine is in Europe and other Western countries, they also have similar health properties and are both seen as an art form. Tea estates and wine estates are each breathtaking in their own way and the harvest of grapes as well as tea leaves undergo many processes to create different types of end products that could be matched with food or enjoyed on its own.

Similarly, while learning more about Islam here in Dubai, I realised that the salaat and the sun salutation also show similarities. Both are spiritual practices where one touches the forehead to the floor. The fluid movements massage the internal organs and encourage the body to move towards a sense of balance.

We always seem to think that cultures are so different but the fact is that as human beings we often lean towards the same things. Yet in different parts of the world we have different resources to draw from (tea trees in China as opposed to vines in Cape Town) while different groups (Buddhism and Islam) may independently adapt similar practices for wellbeing.

Is it perhaps that we are not as different as we would like to believe? Who knows; the girls who introduced me to the traditional Chinese tea ceremony in Shanghai could have been my kin if I was born into a different skin.

The more I find connections the more this world becomes an exciting and wonderfully complex place that I can’t wait to discover more.

5 comments:

Gideon said...

Gaan kyk 'n bietjie na Matt Harding se video op YouTube getiteld "Where the Hell is Matt?" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlfKdbWwruY). Dit embody wat jy hiervan geskryf het: maak nie saak wie ons is nie, of waar ons is, of in watse kultuur ons grootgeword het nie, daar is sekere basiese dinge wat ons almal geniet, soos om te dans. Dis 'n amazing video :)

Anonymous said...

Its about being comfortable in your own skin, walking through the fear of the unknown and being open to the human experience. Your words are wonderful. Mich

Mona Lize said...

Thanks Gideon, it's a GREAT video. The world as one, indeed!

Mich, I really value your support and comments. You're right, we can either embrace the unknown and enrich our lives or fight against it and never learn more about the human state and the world we live in. The madness and the magic are absolutely entertwined.

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Anonymous said...

very interesting, thanks