I was in Essaouira, Morocco on 9/11, 2001, drinking tea in a cafe near the beach. I was entertained by this old Moroccan man who came to the bar with his donkey.
He was a character as many of them are, a spring in his step and a twinkle in his eye. I couldn’t help but smile when he used a chair to hop up onto his trusty steed, whom had a potato chip bag on his forehead either for decoration or sun protection.
I was not prepared for what happened that day. No one was. I must tell you the Moroccans could not have been more kind or concerned. Here’s a prayer of peace for that fateful day.
Couscous – the traditional Moroccan way. This version is a little more time intensive than the boxed couscous, but if you up to the task, you won’t regret it – the smells emanating form your kitchen will transport you to Morocco instantly. [Read more…]
What structure could be more charming than a Riad? A 2 story square within a square with bedrooms and verandas looking onto a central open-air courtyard, usually with fruit trees, a small pool or a fountain. This architectural design is ingenious for creating space and breath and yet gives a sense of privacy and being held. There’s an atmosphere of calm and enchantment. A possibility of endless cups of tea and inspiration. A place to daydream by day, and by candlelight at night. It invites you to get lost in thought, or no thought and have deep conversations, or do whatever you love to do. It’s a place of refuge and gives permission for your quieter voices to be heard.
This poem is everything… we are the wild geese.
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
from Dream Work by Mary Oliver, published by Atlantic Monthly Press, 2004
There are few experiences that I love more here in the medina, than sitting in a Riad with candlelight drinking a glass of Rosé, listening to the sound of water, while a gentleman sets a table next to me in total silence. Open sky, a few clouds, stars, this is how it all started. Seduced by simple elegance.
Change is good. Transformation is better.
This is a sign I saw in London for an investment company. I thought to myself, “I also have an investment company.” I’m invested in people making change in how they view the world. I’m forever invested in myself and others seeing ourselves in a different way.
Getting out of the everyday loosens the grip on who we think we are and how others see us. We get a fresh perspective, breathe different air and feel revived from a new landscape. I do it all the time, in chameleon style. I’ve learned how to change my tone. It’s not exactly a blending in, but a willingness to be open to where I am, curious about my experience and accepting of a new culture.
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Have you ever been snowed in? It’s a mixed feeling of disappointment and excitement all at once.
I can’t go anywhere, look at those huge wet flakes! The roads will be impossible. So much for that appointment… I get to stay home, make a fire and do that writing I wanted to do in between stages of spring cleaning.
But then what happens? You become ravenous. I wasn’t craving cookies. A fire was made and with over a foot of snow on the ground and still coming down, I thought of a warm, aromatic roast chicken — French style with 40 cloves of garlic. [Read more…]
I’ve just finished a trip through Rajasthan with a lovely group of women. Sitting on the rooftop of The Raas in Jodhpur at sunset, knowing what sort of life was going on around us, I was aware of how rare it is to have time to soak up such atmosphere in the company of like-minded women.
It makes my heart sing. We stayed the last few days at the Lake Palace in Udaipur. We had to reach the hotel by boat. On one journey, I got into the boat with 10 muslim women from Kuwait. They were traveling in a group of 27. No men. They were laughing, singing and looked so free.
They even sung a song to me including my name, saying basically viva USA and viva Peggy. Sweet, head covered women in western clothing, happy as clams. Not at all what we imagine. It broke a stereotype. Muslim women from the middle east travel? Together? They laugh and have fun in foreign countries, taking pictures on their cell phones just like us. They blog. Not all of them are living a life portrayed on the news.
Women like getting together to do purposeful things and share their stories. We have fun together. I’m not saying that men don’t. We do it differently.
I was thinking for instance, why men don’t usually like to shop. They are not often fashion conscious, but more importantly, they are not thinking multi-dimentionally. We shop for ourselves, our loved ones, the house, etc. We like to feel the material and look at beauty. Our world is big.
We live in a world of propaganda and I believe it’s a move towards peace every time we get out of our own country and see what’s really going on.