It is a beautiful Saturday morning, the sun is shining brightly, and it is nice and warm. Am here, somewhere in a remote area in the Middle East, I am alive and breathing. I am healthy, happy and truly grateful to be here at this very moment in time. I look around me and appreciate the very essence of life, I take in a deep breath and drink in the beauty of my surrounding. It wasn’t always this beautiful in my eyes before. I remember when I first came here I used to feel like there was nothing much to write home about, at least not from a glance – it’s a desert all brown and white with the occasional green patch here and there. I suffered a severe culture shock as I had never been to a desert or comparable environment before, the sun was blazing HOT! The heat, at the highs of 48 degrees was sweltering. Having been born and bred in Kenya a country covered in the sheer beauty of green hills, rivers and a tropical climate, I had never experienced that kind of heat before, it was draining! It felt like the life juice was being sucked out of you, you had to cautiously stay hydrated or you will be dried out. There was nothing! Just a barren land with a lot of dust and sand storms.
My first few days were spent adjusting and acclimatizing to the harsh climate. I kept asking myself (I still do sometimes) what on earth was I doing here, it’s a tough life, is it worth it? But the answer was of course yes, I needed the money, I still do, don’t we all? 🙂 So I pushed on, I enjoy my work, it’s very different from conventional jobs back at home. It makes you feel proud to be a part of it, sometimes I think of our mode of operations and the terminologies we use and smile because only those who have been here can understand them well, it’s a unique experience, but there are those days you feel out of your element, being far away from home can be hard especially when you are working in harsh conditions. You are constantly home sick, missing your kids and family, you miss birthdays, Christmases and other holidays, you miss life! But you have to stay strong and keep your head up. Apart from the hardships involved, I am really grateful to this place because it has completely changed who I am, it is in this place that I have discovered who I really am, I have morphed from a young carefree person into a mature grounded lady.
See, this place threw me into an early midlife crisis, after the initial shock from the harsh weather and new very basic living conditions (not like home), I found myself working with a really diverse group of people. It was a sea of foreigners from multi-cultural backgrounds with thousands of personalities, it differed greatly from my previous place of work which was a small private company with less than 10 employees. It was very exciting and at the same time overwhelming. Some colleagues can choose to be difficult and this can make life even harder. We have long working hours so you spend a lot of time at the work place, some days are hectic while others are less busy. On the Less busy days I found myself thinking very hard about what life is all about, who I am, why I am here, the dangers that comes with my line and place of work, being far away from loved ones and constantly missing them, usual problems back at home and new financial obligations. It’s a lot of responsibilities.
Being faced by these new variables and trying to cope the best I could left me physically and emotionally drained. The first six months of my life here was a crisis, it was an emotional roller coaster. It was clear the variables were constant, they were not going to change, the stress was making me highly irritable and for me to be able to fit in and succeed, I needed to change accordingly. My mind and body gradually started changing I found myself spending more and more time alone trying to sort myself out, I enjoyed the solitude a lot, I still do, it’s the best way to get in touch with your soul and inner self, it gave me time to reflect on the situation, and how I needed to adjust. I started meditating and taking walks in the evening breeze to clear my mind and give myself a clear focus on how to move forward one day at a time. During those evening walks the weather was a lot nicer, it was cooler and the horizon looked amazingly beautiful with the illuminations of the setting sun behind the rugged mountains, what a sight! I loved those walks and I still do, I looked forward to the evenings. Since I was walking on a round field, I would alternate my thoughts, when the sunset and the beautiful horizon was in front of me I would stop thinking about anything else and focus only on the beauty of the view, when it was behind me I would think of the good things that are in my life and mention them one by one including the beautiful sunset.
I started training and conditioning my mind to stop focusing on things that were beyond me that were causing me stress like the heat and the nature of this place and focus more on changing things that I had the ability to change like my attitude, the way I treat other people and see things. I thought of all those small things in life that make life beautiful that we take for granted, things like trees, grass and flowers. My first work location had a lot of spread gravel, we walked a lot on the gravel and it is not exciting, I found myself missing flat compact roads and grounds, something I never had imagined I could miss because I thought it would always be there. I discovered a compound that had some flowers growing and their sight was mesmerizing. I reflected on how we sometimes rush through life too busy and focused on other things we forget to take a moment to take in the beauty of our surroundings, these are small things that we barely acknowledge until we find ourselves in an empty place and notice the difference.
Gradually I started feeling more and more at home and began liking this place just the way it is, well I had to anyways, and this made life a lot easier. I have always been in love with nature but before, my awe was limited to the shockingly gorgeous lush green scenery, rivers and oceans. Now my eyes had opened to a different kind of beauty, I began to realize that everything in this universe has its own unique beauty even in the simplest form, I allowed my eyes to indulge this desert and let it dazzle me with its uniqueness without comparing it. I was amazed to discover that it rains here too! There are days you wake up to low hanging dark clouds tinged with dust and dirty rain I had my first experience of dirty rain here with dark cloud spirals against a back drop of mountain silhouettes, what a beauty! Honestly I was surprised that it rains and snows in the desert, the view of the snow capped mountains from the skies is breathtaking!.
I get excited during my walks when I notice a new healthy lush green plant spring out of nowhere and thrive on nutrients I cannot imagine are available but are obviously there. The plants are hardened, they have survival tactics to thrive in a dessert. These tiny soldier plants remind me of a note I made to myself, to always bloom where I am planted. This plants are just like us, we are built with the power and strength to overcome tough times, this strength is hidden deep within us but most of the times we don’t even know or look like we possess it, sometimes life or even people may undermine you and your capabilities, they can challenge you by inflicting hurt and pain because they think you are weak or a push over. This are the moments that we reach deep down within us and summon that strength to fight back and overcome them. That is the moment that we spring out of nowhere, we start thriving and looking lush because we have hardened and can now easily withstand the challenges thrown to us.
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I believe I was planted in this desert for a reason/purpose. Sometimes the reason is not to save the masses from their sinful and destructive ways lol. Sometimes we find ourselves in places or situations to discover ourselves; our abilities, our talents and strengths. We go through hard times in life in order to take our thresholds to another level where it might be truly tested in the future. But for you to discover this purpose you have to open yourself to the possibilities, you have to embrace change and grow with it instead of resisting and fighting it. Once you allow this, you will see yourself grow and scale heights that you would have never imagined, be it in your career, in your marriage, at school or in simple platonic relationships. It is in this place that my skills in motivational writing were born and if you are reading this line of this article, it means I have managed to capture your mind and we can all add this skill to the many unseen beauties of this desert.
There is beauty in the ordinary if only you allow yourself to see it, we have the power within us to change our perception on everything. You choose what to see and feel about something when you look at it. It is your attitude that affects your perception on people, things and situations. You get more rewards if you approach someone or a situation positively regardless of the circumstances. Learn and feel the power of positivity, if you think positively you attract more positive circumstances in your life, however, if you’re negative and have a cynical, insecure or a pessimistic view of the world and people in general, your negativity will attract more negativity and pain. Watch your thoughts and your words, these two things are very powerful, use them positively and they will bring good fortunes to you , think good thoughts, speak wise and kind words and watch your life change for the better.
The older I get the more I become aware of death, every day I am reminded how short life is by the rate at which we are losing loved ones, every time I lose someone it hits me so hard how precious life is, so, knowing that my time could be any minute, I feel an urgent need to drop all unnecessary burdens keeping me from being happy and enjoying beautiful things in this beautiful life. Every morning I feel overwhelmed by gratitude when I step outside my door, the brightness of the day and the beautiful blue of the skies makes me feel this fierce desire to savor every day and the moments it presents to me like it’s the last. I choose to be happy and to enjoy every moment I have wherever I am even if it’s not the best place in the world, this desert is where I am at this moments and its good enough! what about you?
by me………Eunice Kamau