We only have four more days of teaching the refugees at CRP. The students have made stunning progress, incredible shifts have happened in this short time. Jill and I and the staff at CRP are working hard to ensure that the volunteer teachers (all of them are Iraqi refugees) are prepared to continue teaching the community. I am already becoming incredibly sad to say goodbye to our students.
I’m told by those in the know that blog posts should be short; this is the real reason I haven’t been able to write many of them. There is too much going externally and internally for short. If I were going to capture even a slice of it, tomes would need to be written. So, instead of trying, here are some thoughts on sound and silence; the rhythms of my existence here.
5:50 a.m. Call to prayer, Allah Hu Akbar. Jolts me awake most mornings and penetrates to my bones. I listen to this ancient, communal call and I feel alive–albeit exhausted–and connected to the past, present, and future. To this place and to everywhere.
6:00 a.m. I crawl out of bed and heat up my herbs; my Qi and Blood are in need of nourishment. I drink them in the dark and feel grateful for the silence of the early morning.
6:30 a.m. Yoga practice. Still quiet, still dark. I drink it in as I know that, just like in my own home, I will soon be joined by some rowdy, playful children.
7:30 a.m. Issy and Dunia (Amanda and Samer’s children) roll in and give me a second wake-up call. Soon enough, electronic devices are on, there is a flurry in the kitchen, chit-chat, check-in on e-mail, FB. So many sounds, all at once. The day has started for real.
10:00 a.m. Jill and I head out to Turtle Green cafe. On the way, groups of teenage boys call out to us, teenage girls introduce themselves. Men in trucks yell through loudspeakers, selling who-knows-what. And then at the coffee shop, the civility, the clink of coffee cups, great music. It is silence and sound together.
1-6:30 p.m. At CRP. There is a lot of chit-chat before and sometimes during classes. We need to remind the women frequently that the practice is a quiet one. It is mostly lovely noise–lots of laughter, good, old-fashioned teasing, and tears. Jill and I are sticklers though for quietude during the practice. These men and women hardly ever rest. Their lives are full of noise, their heads are full of more noise in the form of painful memories and present and future worries. So, when they sit with eyes closed and breathe or lie down in savasana, my eyes inevitably fill up with tears. It is still and quiet in the room. That small, smoky, dingy room feels suddenly spacious. And if our time here has any long-lasting effects, I hope that our students will have learned how to create this silence and space for themselves. Insha’llah.