Leave the familiar for a while.
Change rooms in your mind for a day.
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire
While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of
From “All The Hemispheres” by Hafiz, Sufi Poet- c. 1315-1390
For the past few years, in Dubai and in Qatar, and now in China and Mongolia, I have been filling notebooks with observations and musings. Living abroad is like attending a fast-paced graduate school in a variety of subjects simultaneously. The experience is stimulating, unnerving and enriching. My notebooks have served as my center, my compass, the place where I go to unwind and digest. In all this traveling, making new nests in new worlds, becoming a part of foreign communities, however fleeting, I have struggled to figure out my role in all of it. Who am I, other than a privileged tourist, a “trailing spouse”? How can I be productive and contribute something worthwhile? Recently, I realized that the answer is actually quite simple. My role is to tell my story and to be an ambassador of sorts, sharing what intrigues and inspires me, from daily interactions to the broader cultural context.
I chose sections of a poem by the Sufi mystic poet Hafiz and a slide show of a whirling dervish performing in the desert outside Dubai to launch this blog. They beckon us to let go, to lose balance, to stretch our identities and our world views. A spirit of play and adventure permeates both art forms. The poet and the dancer are inviting us to enlarge our circles. I hope you will join me!
Next Post: Traveling Inside Out