🇯🇴 The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan 🇯🇴
Civilised, gracious, genteel, cultured, historical, expansive, and sophisticated are only a few of the adjectives that come to mind when I think to describe Jordan and the unrivalled authenticity and kindness of Arab hospitality.
Jordan is chic, and Jordan is very, very special.
Firstly however I would like to personally thank all the magnificent souls who took their time to share with me their energy, knowledge and the wonders of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Arab culture. To His Majesty King Abdullah II and her Majesty Queen Rania. To Eugene deMarco, Her Excellency Lina Annab, Nadine, Mohammad, Ghazi, George, Raja, Hamsa, Samer, the Royal Jordanian Falcons. To the guides, and the fantastic hospitality from the accommodations I stayed… and special mention to Munther for being so immensely accomodating to our last minute changing of plans… tollerance level shinning golden! I was delighted and privileged to have the opportunity to come and discuss business endeavours and creative opportunities with you all. I am thrilled to find Jordanian resources well suited to the projects I have under development and to additionally find these facilitated and supported by like minded passionate individuals with vision; these are unique and valuable circumstances.
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Earlier this month I was delighted to be invited to attend a private audience with His Majesty King Abdullah II and Her Majesty Queen Rania. My artwork ‘Mandala’ was purchased as a gift to be presented to the King and Queen.
A mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल, lit, circle) is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing all existence. In common use, "mandala" has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe. Mandalas often exhibit radial balance.
The term appears in the Rigveda (an ancient Hindu collection of Sanskrit hymns) as the name of the sections of the work, but is also used in other religions and philosophies, particularly Buddhism.
In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space. They are used as an aid to meditation and trance induction.
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Before I get on a roll, lets additionally clarify a little of the miss-information floating around about this country and locale though yar. I know first hand what it’s like to be geographically miss-located by association. New Zealand often gets attached to Australia (nooo.. we are not that little island down there- that’s Tasmania) or mysteriously placed up there with Switzerland in Europe (I know… it sounds a little like that doesn’t it lol), Jordan often suffers being lumped in with ‘troubled Middle East’.
It. Is. Not. It’s a forward thinking, safe, developed and delightful culture- quite unique unto it’s own.
It’s tight quarters, with Syria and Lebanon to the North, Iraq to the East, Saudi to the South and Palestine, Israel and Egypt to the West- this area is one of the longest populated anywhere in the world. With artefacts and cultural remnants dating back over 10,000 years, this family has long standing provenance. One, which I would like to point out over those with a mere 150 or 300 years of colonisation; a bit more experience in living together. I balk at the audacity and arrogance of those with less experience and their endless opinions about what is happening in this part of the world- those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones- certainly not at those who have foundations that go back as far as these guys do.
I’ve realised some rather interesting things in my time here in Jordan and they pertain to how we interact and empower each other.
My culture’s conflict has an awful lot of basis in possession. It dawned on me one day in Amman that this really is not the fundamental kernel of what is happening here in the Middle East. Conflict has basis in interpretation; in semantics, in the details of how things are understood- there’s a lot of intellectualisation about particulars.
I was fortunate one afternoon in-between my scheduled meetings to have the opportunity to visit the Jordan Contemporary Art Museum. It followed on to being invited to attend workshop afternoon with visually impaired children and the opening of the museum's latest curation (above). It was here I had a fascinating conversation with an Arabic calligrapher (1st & 2nd photos) about the details of Arabic language. Taken by Burmese in the weeks prior while travelling in Myanmar I had also fallen for Arabic- phonetic sounding/ symbol based recognition languages are my thing. In two days I had accrued the basics but was totally captivated when this man explained to me the following: marks placed above the script can define whether the word or concept is imaginary or literal.
This blew my mind- he went on to discuss with me the formalities of brush strokes, the precise rules applied to the inclination and angles of the marks; the spacing; the thickness of line. Reminiscent of the formalities of Japanese script I was totally and utterly absorbed for two reasons- one, the beauty of the thing in itself and 2, because it gave me insight and perspective to the psychology of how this culture thought and the rules and parameters they feel are apparent within their historical structures.
This meeting also coincided with me finding great similarities in what is considered ‘Contemporary Art’ in older established societies and the techniques these places are using to teach young minds. That afternoon I was able to discuss observations from my travels and my experiences with scholars and those to the learned level of doctorate. Both in India and in Jordan, there are distinct categories of expression which were, and are, considered modern artistry. A derivative Cubist style, a geometric block coloured and textural expression, loose lined sketching, naive illustrative figurative works, poetic form cast in bronze, narrative illustrations upon ceramic.. and a few others. Consistent and parallel themes, and in some ways this could be construed as formulaic demonstrations of beauty. ‘This is considered acceptable’, ‘this is considered Art’, ‘this is how we do it’.
Watching the children in the workshop I considered my finding from India, now in Jordan and compared them with my culture. Was history repressing the ability for those here in older cultures to break out of set appreciations of ‘Art’ and expressive formula? Are these kid encouraged to make what they feel or are they being told what it should look like? How does a culture steeped in historical ideals of what is good and what isn’t take on radical and unusual deviations from this.. how does a new generation influenced globally by different media find a platform where their work is considered ‘good’ outside what is currently appreciated and has been so for many, many more years than elsewhere, and how does a young person wanting to be educated and find success within a system find a unique voice without being rejected from the structure which he/ she is being taught within… If I thought my country at times could be rigid and conservative I had just encountered a whole new challenging system. I also thought- how does a relatively new culture establish avenues for recognisable distinction within creative expression and how do we educate people to the long term values of craftsmanship and creative outlet?
That night I was wandering the streets down Rainbow Road and I was people watching; a favourite past-time. When Jordanians interact, it’s hard to perceive what is going on within the interaction. Ok, there can be hand waving, there can be different intonation and louder speech- but the energy exchange between two people, on average is very, very even. (* note- hand waving, yelling and loud talk does not mean the person is radical or violent- it just means they are impassioned &/or demonstrative- thanks media for mudding the water on that for viewers) It’s hard to tell who has the upper hand shall we say. Often when we communicate- we can see a dominant party, or one that is submissive to the others, or the appearance of power-play being employed. Culturally we have different ways of coming together anyway- like in India, interaction can be all balls blazing from the outset and then we work our way back down to mutual respect. In Arab interaction- there is much less crackle and fizz and more even respect.
The following day, I had the opportunity to talk with a man further about my observations. I’d watched a particular theme play out two times in the morning which I’d pointed out to him- once between two men at a kebab stand and another time between another group of men setting up stalls at Jerash. What looked like from the external display to be some type of heated discussion about a thing (the lamb and the beef in the first case, and the items in the stall in the second) was actually about the particulars of the details. The first men were discussing the better qualities of the meat and the second the particular correct placement of the stand and the items. Less literal about the stuff and more about the particulars… interesting spill over into the religious quarrels surrounding this area also.. it’s not about the Quran, it’s the interpretation of the messages within yar..
Is this not what happens as we get older? We get more particular about our perspectives, more entitled to our point of views, more rigid in our perception of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’; ‘good’ and ‘bad’ interpretations… we get grouchier about being confronted about these boundaries being criticised also…? It’s a hard thing to break out of system when we nit pick the details and impose controls yeah; but is this not a battle that we as humans have a daily self responsibly to consider opposing or contesting? Why.. I’m always asking why… and I can be juvenile of mind. I flick my concepts around play them out and I don’t settle for what are other people's ideas; I refuse to feel obligation or duty to ‘be’ or think a certain way. In other words- I don’t believe the hype and I don't do what I’m told is ‘correct’… oh what a luxury huh. Yes, it is a luxury to have had the opportunity to grow myself up making choices to being able to think & ultimately behave this way.
Above- Petra. A very special mention to ￼Adeeb Alhasanat from Jordan Inspiration Tours who's knowledge about this area is vast and is a fantastic representative to impart information about the culture of Petra and it's former and current inhabitants- I highly recommend him and his company.
These older cultures on some levels can be rather serious and I considered why I assimilate so well with the playfulness of Asia. One, the belief systems align more to my values and two, well, they are far more ‘young at heart’ in a way. Creativity and that inner child come hand in hand. In order to think outside the box we need to be avant-guarde, we need to be able to take calculated risks, and we need to not be confined by constraints, rules and judgements. It’s very hard to do something new and revolutionary if people freak out about stepping outside what is established or recognised as 'acceptable'.
Ironically- my culture, although it appears to be laid back and relaxed (touted as a breeding ground for 'creativity') employs the highest level of psychological warfare I have ever experienced in any culture, anywhere in the world. Control comes in dangerous and subliminal form and restrictions are imposed everywhere. Here's an interesting thing though- it’s kryptonite for most Kiwi’s to not be liked; to not keep the waters even in their social systems and community; we don’t like obvious displays of conflict. We excel internationally because of this- we work hard and we are amicable but there’s a rather sinister side to all of this too- we are incredibly manipulative. Our society has many controls, but we learn how to to navigate and break them, not very pleasantly this comes with learning how to navigate a person also, we like put downs, we like perfectionism, we like making people do things one way and not show above this and we like blame and excuses. We have a problem with celebrating success and we undervalue people and skill... especially the accumulative and transferrable varieties. We perpetrate the mistruth of ‘luck’ and miss-inform people that we can all achieve profound fortune. That's a heavy load- yes, choice defines our direction, but I in no way believe we can dictate all of our decisions- we must work from what we have in the current situation. Ripples- build upon ripples. Is it any wonder our society is un-empowered- we constantly feel we can’t get it ‘right’, people feel bumped from all angles- internally and externally. Personal greatness comes in many forms… some doesn't look too flash to others…
Interrogation- predominantly utilised upon ourselves is reflective of intellectual snobbery and subliminal superiority. It creates crippling self-doubt within ourselves and creates shockwaves of insecurities within others. Through this, we penalise those less ingenious from trying to just get the job done in the manner they choose to try and do it. Not eating the right diet? not going to the gym enough? not doing the ‘right’ things with our kids? No rego, no permit, no degree, no prior experience... just not sure? With all this external expenditure of energy into other people's business or the surety of our own, it’s no wonder we feel depleted and in need to reach for things or people to fill these voids & cracks.
Was it Tom Cruise's character in Eyes Wide Shut that said something to the effect of 'morals are the obsession of the middle class'...? A heinous statement in some respects but one with validity all the same. When you're hungry, desperate or have 'nothing to loose' or, you make the rules, or can buy your way through them, you're not obsessing about strategising alternatives. Get the job done the way you choose with certainty. Self doubt, complacency and indecision is more harmful than anyone else's opinion.
Welcome Home.. I’ve been in New Zealand under 4 1/2 minutes, arriving in the wee hours after traveling long haul from Amman to Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi to Brisbane, Brisbane to Wellington. I’m hangin’ out at the baggage carousel; a lady walks past me and remarks about my attire. 'Well ain't you underdressed for this city love, you’re going to have a few problems’ she remarks towards my sleeveless red playsuit and referring to the nipply temperatures awaiting outside- to which I happily giggle and reply 'I'm a Wellingtonian honey; we're built tough & we like it chilly!’… inwardly groaning and in the back of my mind thinking.. umm nup, this has actually been perfect for travelling 25 hours..?!
Excuse me?- Who are you?! And why should I even feel compelled to gratify you with a response? Imagine if I hadn't been from Wellington- what a way to say 'Welcome!' no?! You are certainly not really worried about my comfort for you would have offered me a coat, and if you had wanted to have a conversation, I believe you may have slowed down rather than commenting as you walked past- jealous perhaps; can’t quite bring yourself to say- ‘I like what you are wearing’ so feel the urge to drag me down to gain a little power play.. yesss now I think we’re onto it.
Ironically this little interaction was actually perfect timing towards my mullings and musings.
Psychological warfare, power-play, control, interaction, expression and identity. I’ve learnt amazing things and recognised validity in my observations over the years in the last three months, but unfortunately they don't play out too great for my loved homeland.
The four main controls: ‘Woe is me’, ‘Interrogator’, ‘Intimidator’ and ‘Aloof’. Fascinating strategies huh… but lets take a closer look at what these really mean in society today shall we, because the outward use of these on each other is really nothing to what we are doing internally either. We like the concepts of doing good here in NZ and of karma, but we are crap to ourselves… that’s just as bad as hurting another yeah nah yeah!
The example above was a rather timely illustration of ‘Interrogator’. Putting someone else down in order to gain a feel good boost by taking a stance of superiority. I feel this lady felt she had it all together- she was prepared and had supremacy to my inadequacy in her eyes. Strategies employed upon another give an interesting indication towards what that person likes to pull upon themselves also- for many people don’t differentiate between personal/ professional, internal/ external, expressive/ intellectual. I feel for her children, I feel for her colleagues, I feel for her- my, my her standards are high.
Unusual? No. In Kiwi-land this type of interaction is rather common place. People’s level of interactive entitlement and self-righteousness is higher than anywhere else in the world; it’s not unusual for people you've never met to lean over and interject, fling a passing comment or add their two cents worth. MOST times these are kind, helpful, funny or build a sense of camaraderie, but they can be quite the opposite also and it’s out of your control if and when it’s going to happen to you. There can be something rather disconcerting about having to deal with this when ya leave the house. This doubt, these seeds of uncertainty can become poisonous to those who can remember and collect them. Feel those daggers in your back when you're dressed to impress? They might was well be real in this country because I would argue- that sensory pain does far more longterm damage than what that wound feels like in actuality because of how we comprehend and understand it.
Happiness and a sense of elation is a sign, recognised the world around of success. An outward display of personal contentment and joy; a thing of beauty and to be celebrated. In NZ this is actually a little backwards; happiness can become an affliction unless you build that hide tough- it's going to bring you some unusual challenges. Where joy spreads lightness among others in overseas environments- sharing a feeling of warmth, here, at times, it brings you the opposite- jealousy, criticism, envy and even more dangerously it incites people to sabotage or de-validate achievement. People take joy in breaking others and dragging them down. 'What are you talking about??!!- we are rated one of the 'happiest' nations in the world!'.. yes, apparently. Look around you, travel a little and compare, we're not- I don't know how we are measuring this statistic, but I can sure as f*&%k share that when you've been immersed in other cultures around the globe which ARE happy, when you arrive home there is a distinct and startling difference... and hey, these are only my impressions- perhaps you see another side :)
In NZ people are not valued- neither is individual skill- people believe in equality in a broad societal sense. We are brought up to think we ‘can do anything’; that anyone can gain the skills to be incredible. We are not built equal, I do not believe in this concept- some have talents, skills or natural dispositions that others cannot acquire. Through years of hard work and selection, choices and direction we can grow and hone these building blocks- but it is not by accident or ‘natural selection’ that some rise to greatness or find personal contentment. Unfortunately there is a common acceptance in this society that some are ‘luckier’ than others- this is not the case- some have fortune because they have worked for it, and they have figured out where there directions, passions and strengths lie... attributes still come with problems; and problems come with attributes. I build my amazing life, my skills, my talents, my connections, my work, overcoming my problems and growing my ripples. I will not standby and tolerate people wanting to take that away from me, nor slight, demean or control others by not validating their achievements and growth; nor obstruct them for wanting to have more or be better. A little side note.. we don't get things we desire if we hate the people or situations that currently have them ;)
Twice in the last two weeks I have had conversations on the topic of 'wealth distribution' which got me thinking on a deeper metaphoric level. Wealth, value and success.. the internalisation of these qualities imo is far more important initially to a person's growth and vision than the external- yet it is often the superficial manifestation that people get hung up on. Obligation, duty, expectations to share- there are extraordinary pressures that can come with feeling flush let alone being flush; and the manifestations of luxury both external and internal. To be open, approachable and amicable; to achieve, to allow others access to our gifts, our energy and fortune- where do people receive recognition for the distribution of their spiritual or conceptual wealth? Sharing talent is the gift of those endowed with affluence (personal fortunes)... it can be found in places of 'poverty' and of 'hardship'. If society doesn't validate or celebrate 'fortune' and 'success' in her less literal manifestations; our extent of poverty is far reaching indeed. How do we enlighten people that 'wealth' is the responsibility of the individual? and how to we encourage people to value themselves and moderate feelings of guilt, self worth and obligation when there are excessive pressures to constantly give ones energy, ones resources and ones reserves?
We have interesting complications and they seem to be compounding quickly. Scarily- to undo this, the main work comes down with numero uno. Unhelpfully, people are scared to talk honestly about their feelings for it having consequence upon their jobs, their livelihood and their opportunities.. and well, there's not a lot of courage to speak out about being disgruntled or dissatisfied- the increase in cost of living doesn't just effect logistics it greatly effects freedom of speech. You want to feel personal achievement in a professional environment- well that ain’t going to come from a community where those cannot validate personal achievement within themselves. Here again, is why it is very important to define and follow doing the things you enjoy and that bring you happiness- personal sucess comes from ticking off and chasing those personal goals. I cannot stress highly enough my encouragement to those of creative and ambitious dreams- GET OVERSEAS and slide a 'Big Picture' jigsaw piece in there. Yes, I'm not encouraging fantasy, I'm actually working on a project which helps others who have desire and drive to do just that. Just as an artist has to walk away from an artwork to get space, reflection and perspective, a person needs experience in other cultures to get fresh outlooks on their life.
I love being in a country where I am respected; as is- as a human who is presented well and who is striving to do her best. Little things can make me really warm. Travelling around Italy and having chocolatey breakfasts with decadent croissants, strong ass coffee and Nutella makes my little soul sing- I shit you not that you can get raised eyebrows and little interjected comments eating this in NZ... shall I tell more stories?- God forbid you feed it to your little ones in public arrfg. The Nutella or croissant, perhaps, not the coffee... but well, kiddies in Japan love that also and that brings up a story about hitchhiking in the Land of the Rising Sun with a Bichon Frise ricocheting around a smart car filled with oversized stuffed plushie-toys being fed ice coffee from a bottle... the things I experience hehehe!! Even though I don’t personally drink booze, I adored walking into a petrol station where ya can buy fantastic bread, cheese, meats and alcohol to put together a picnic or dinner on the go. God I laugh at what would happen if we attempted to implement this in my homeland- we are not even able to drink a wine on our own beaches or in our parks… Trust issues eh... This investment into others wellbeing gets on my nerves- ‘it’s not good for you’ so this has been put in place- now adhere to it or else. Excuse me? I’m intelligent enough to make up my own mind thank you, and I don't need your opinion; nor should I be penalised if I find that my choice is incorrect, NOR should our past misdemeanours hang over us like noose impeding being able to give things another try within fair appraisal. Ie. just cos one dickhead ruined it, doesn't mean we all need to suffer ta, or just because something shyite happens doesn't mean a new legislation needs to be drafted. Life is about having a little naughty with the nice no?, and shit. happens. Responsibility… why does NZ feel it’s up to others to control this?
We encourage people to capitalise on ‘Woe is Me’, we berate ourselves internally using ‘Intimidation’ and ‘Interrogator’ about our diets, choices, decisions and appearances. We 'Interrogate' others psychologically and through other means to share and distribute their resources. We ignore and act ‘Aloof’ to those who deserve credit, we ‘Interrogate’ each other though email communication rather than resolving issues and conflict face-to-face and use litigation and fear strategies rather than just being personable. We control our society though ‘Intimidation’ by imposing intellectual superiority upon those of lesser means and we give completely inappropriate strategies to those less fortunate and then un-empower them when they don’t reach impossible ideals.
Ironically for a country that is built with pioneer spirit from all nations (that includes present tense- it takes a huge amount of this to emigrate here); people wanting a new system away from established structures; we have become more repressive than the lands we have departed from. Like over protective and anxious shepherds incessantly corralling and protecting our flock; we meddle, we worry and we leave nothing to natural order. Hey!- the flock is smart & the flock has grown.. there are sheep, there are wolves, there are rabbits.. hell! There’s the whole damn ark (lol). This strangle-hold will prove to do no good. It's choice that defines progression- if people are not enabled to make these in variation, for better or worse, growth becomes stereotypical and stunted and learning is formulaic and limited. 'What will be, will be'... super close to 'Inshallah' ("God (Allah) willing" or "if God(Allah) wills").. there is method to these statements; there's only so much a human can manipulate.
Self assurance and harmony comes from balance and a sense that one’s energy expelled is evenly replenished with energy gathered & consumed. In Western society we individually give an awful lot of this away in our interactions. We are taught to radiate outwards, but I came to realise while in Jordan, and through personal experience- we are not encouraged to develop the skills on how to reflect that back inwards or to moderate and reserve this technique. Our emotional intelligence is criplingly low. Those places with faith; the concept of a power bigger than ego on a big community scale; a power which can replenish and help a person with things that they themselves can’t manage, enables a person to have a link to that returning energy loop. It also helps us when we are not as far out on the ripples to find appreciation and solidarity within where we are, while getting to where we want to be- i.e that by continuing to do our best with what is present we can work towards a better future… this requires managing emotions i.e not freaking out, remaining calm and not throwing toys out of baskets or at others; constantly reframing back to what is good- even if that's minuscule.
Using a coping strategy or being involved in an addiction, to whatever it may be that a person wants to refill that void with (the feeling of being zapped mentally and /or physically) to top up their energy is the physical manifestation of trying to tie back in that replenishment of energy and love. It’s essential to learn about our emotions and feelings in order to do this- a little faith and trust is required in ourselves and in things working out ok. That ‘f’ word- I’m not just talking of a religious concept of ‘faith’- but if one chooses so, that may be where they find that link to love. Personally I find that link back to my beliefs of something bigger without being associated to a particular doctrine, rather to many and within my own conceptual developments (that includes the science and medical doctrine toooo); and within the activities that facilitate me being able to connect into happiness and a greater sense of lightness- the sea, the air, speed, movement, creative output. However, creative output has an awful lot of external energy expenditure associated- it’s historically well documented how this and addiction go hand in hand- how many artists, dancers, poets and other magnificent minds can we name who use(d) vices?- is it no wonder within cultures that radically think outside the box we are finding increases in coping strategies?! Plus, we can’t take away everyone’s strategies and not help replace them with better ones now can we??!! Smoking a fag takes a much shorter time than teaching oneself how to recognise the rise, fall and patterns of one’s anxiety now doesn’t it…. although imo, it should be my choice if I want to stay with the fag option to start with… everything in moderation consideration… and not everyone has the capacity to want to change.
Middle Easterners do not expel personal energy in the same format to Westerners- they are far more discrete and reserved- and I would say far more emotionally intelligent when it comes to a level of selection about how and when they radiate their emotional investment into others. We hold perspectives of ‘repression’ and ‘restriction’; we judge from our own West view because we only understand how we ourselves live and behave- taking their reservation for oppression; thinking our way is the best way to be- but I think there is a lot of method here which is very, very valuable and very misunderstood… and faaaar more developed. Oh how the media loves to wangle the burka & hijab- in Jordan, there are people of a great cross section of contemporary and traditional identity choices. Again, what is not chic about having things reserved for those we have selected of value to share with? Fascinating ideas for humanity innit when we start seeing how people have evolved socially to live together- for how we keep ourselves well, and for how we can come to understand each other much better and ultimately diffuse conflict and self-righteousness.
Conflict- we would like to say this is external. West; we like to point fingers over there to Middle East when we hear this word, but boy oh boy, I tell ya, we have this in far more dangerous form in our Antipodean communities. They might have the physical amphitheatres and places where gladiators battled, they might have flash points of war currently- but we all have created the psychological war grounds; the media of our criticisms; our ideals and projections upon each other; tell tales and mistruths of disgrace and disesteem.
Equality v balance. We seem obsessed with striving for the former and we are quick to pronounce other cultures which we perceive to not have these ‘rights’. I see far more value in the latter; balance, than the former. I vehemently believe in fairness but equality? We have different strength and weaknesses from physical to intellectual; we should strive to highlight and celebrate our power not deficiencies. Womens rights, roles and liberty… there are different guises in different cultures of these- just because they do not look like our Western format does not mean there is not balance there. The women I spoke to in Jordan in no way felt repressed and were angry about the portrayal of this within the media- as were my fair sisters in Kashmir. Their value in their communities and families was celebrated- no, it’s not the 'same' at times to their male partners and colleagues- but they’re praised and valued; recognised and celebrated for their skills making quality of living equations. And all of this is changing- with more choices, more exposure to opportunities, they are making decisions for themselves towards their dreams and education while incorporating these into their customs and relationships… that takes a lot of changes to preconditioning… that’s a lot for any human to take on. As I’ve said before- I’m the alien in this new land- it’s up to me to modify and take things on the nose if needed while finding a place where I hold my values and identity also while being open to new perceptions.. interesting balancing games eh. Queen Rania of Jordan is a shining leader in women’s rights, education and empowerment and her contemporary views and style, both of concept and presentation, is leading strong and unfettered Jordanians into a bright and fertile future- God I admire this woman. Rome wasn't built in a day peps- good things take time.
The history within Jordan of previous civilisations is at times daunting, overwhelming and completely humbling. I was struck a little jaw-dropped-oogle-like in Petra, Jerash and latter in Rome. At the ancient city of Gerasa just outside Jerash. I’d come to an intersection (above)- a meeting place literally from the four points of the compass for traders to arrive from neighbouring countries and much further afield. As I looked down, the paving stones below had grooves; ruts from oodles of years of chariots, carts, barrows and feet. Humans for centuries moving over the place where I stood at that point- that’s a bit mind blowing when we unpackage it; people living, dreaming, doing things, loving, crying and evolving; millions of stories- all varied, all different, all unique. Coming present day, in 200 years, this progression, this evolution and this hunger for energy has taken an exponential curve upwards. We are all hungry, hungry for more-ness of everything... and even if you're not into the stuff- you're getting energy in and from other things, people and places.
There is just so much variation here- from pristine beaches to the red sands and majestic rock formations of Wadi Rum; the ancient ruins of Petra to the seaside of ‘Aquaba. The variations of colours from light aqua’s and gem coloured blues to iridescent oranges, peach, magenta’s, violet's and the soft creams of stoned cities to the eye popping red’s due to the the filtered UV light. The quietest city I have ever visited; Amman’s sounds of birdsong and the calls from the mosques reverberate in my memory with happiness alongside the irridecent red poppies- there is a calmness that permeates this location which is heart warming. From breathing in the oxygen rich air of The Dead Sea and experiencing bobbing like a cork in the mineral rich water, to flying upside-down over the desert in a Hawker Hunter fighter jet and an Extra 300L… I can’t articulate how much fun and excitement THAT is... especially when ya've got the controls weeeeeee!… all I’ll say is MORE MORE MORE!! =^+^=
There is so much vibrancy, there is so much LIFE! There is so much fun, laughter, warmth and value here; it’s so very graceful- I hope my writing defames some of the fallacies floating around and alleviates inner concerns about coming to Jordan to travel and/or conduct business. You have nothing to fear. It’s just yum… doooo ittttt.
New cultures, old cultures… when it comes down to it- biologically we are all made of similar stuff- BUT we have conditionings that are different; neural pathways and flash-points which are different. Varied orientations for energy needs and ways of sharing these; and contrasting ideas that we believe in- all this shapes how we can progress, what makes us tick or repells us and how receptive or defensive we are to new information. Communication delivery can make a ginormous difference- most people don't like being told they are ‘wrong’ or finding out that a thing or ideology they have believed in can be done a different way or that there are other means to an end- and people can’t do things when they are scared. This can be confronting stuff. If however, we can take the fear associated with change away; if we can show opportunity for discovery by loosening off a notch, we can make headway into areas of productivity and development. Fear of the unknown, fear of letting go, fears of not having enough… fears of others getting ahead further than we are… fears of not doing the 'right' thing... those feelings all lie inside not outside. We need to talk, we need to encourage others to have opportunities to get together to discuss face-to-face our ideas, or tribulations; our concepts and honest viewpoints; we need to mingle. Trust in our good judgements not panic at prospective terrors, trust in natural order (NZ stop freaking out that shit would go chaotic if it’s left to develop without being nanny’d) and respect the intelligence of our world inhabitants and individual decisions.
The more people experience suppression, the more people want change, and this shows foremost within our youth. If we are not educated; emotionally educated as to how to deal with the rollercoaster of reorientation and the personal confrontation of difference, we will only fracture our societies rather than grow forwards with solidarity. We are all Kings and Queens of empires- the personal spaces of our thoughts and emotional orientation, and ultimately the lives we live and the choices which define them. Act reverent, act with grace, act with faith in your decisions and be proud of what you have achieved and what you will make happen in the future. إن شاء الله