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Who is Away 2 Be anyway?

A few months ago I sat down with a friend in Nicaragua after a morning of surfing and yoga. She asked me, “What is behind the name Away 2 Be, anyway?” To her chagrin and that of many students from teaching days past, I responded, “What do you think?” Our friends chimed in with their opinions and mentioned the not-so-subtle double entendre. “Yes”, I said, “Away 2 Be is all of that”. And again, I repeated one of my ubiquitous teaching quotes and said, “There is no wrong answer. Away 2 Be is whatever you want it ‘2 Be'”.

Let’s look at is this way: When we are “away” from what we know, when we step “away” from our comfort zone and shift our perspective, we are able “2 Be” more authentic, more observant, more aware.

The number “2” reminds us that we are always connected. Never alone. That there is more than one.

We might look at the name Away 2 Be and recognize that connecting with ourselves and with each other allows us to move from point “A” to point “B” and connect with the world.

By providing and facilitating meaningful personal, local and global experiences through yoga, consulting and international travel, our hope is that everyone finds “a way to be” that is genuine, authentic and purposeful. We focus on people and relationships before anything else.

It is then that we will be able to make positive changes in this world. So whatever the name, whatever your practice or however you choose “2 Be”, let it be authentic. Let it be true. Let your story guide you. And let us know if we can join you!

 

Let’s do some good!

So this is how my life works:

I am loved. I am supported. I care more than I can handle, about the world, about it’s people. And I wander to places without a plan. I show up. I do my best to listen. I try to learn from instead of do for and I think that very intention is the reason I have wound up with a network of good people I consider my soul-friends around the world.

And sometimes I feel that I’ve been connected to certain people long before we have met. Recently this very sentiment occurred when I met with George. We sat down for a coffee in Quito and within minutes realized we had mutual friends in both Peru and the United States. In fact, George’s godson is my friend’s nephew! (The term “serendipity” has started to lose poignancy in my life because of its consistent presence.)

As we talked, George’s eyes welled up, not because of our connection, but because of his connection with friends and fellow citizens of Ecuador who tragically lost their homes due to the 7.8 earthquake on April 16th, 2016. George described his dear friends who have decided to cut down their own bamboo to build houses for those suffering. To date, the Caemba Casitas project has constructed 122 houses and 3 children’s centers serving hundreds of Ecuadorians. George and his friends have spent hours, days and weeks constructing these homes.

Those of you who know me know I believe in accompaniment over service, in relationships before help. Yet in times in which basic needs aren’t being met, when families are struggling to survive due to circumstances beyond their control, our duty is most certainly to be of service. We are all one. We must serve our brothers and sisters in need.

Here are a few ways you can help:

May your journey be meaningful. May you connect in meaningful ways with those you know and those you don’t. May you recognize all of the good in the world.

Susan

Founder, Away 2 Be

Why am I here?

In consulting sessions or on programs with groups abroad, the first question we usually ponder together is “Why are we here?” It’s a question many of us ask when in new scenarios, when humbled by a mountain top, or in those moments of humility so expansive that our eyes begin to weep. I asked this question of myself recently, before formally answering in public. To better understand what my own response would be, I sat on a beautiful terrace as the sun was rising in the East and setting in the West and the following is what seeped out of my pen:

 

Why am I here?

Hope.

That the world will be different

because I’ve seen a different world.

I’ve seen a world in which smiles supersede greed

laughter resonates beyond tears

faith smolders fear

and ubuntu prevails over all.

I’ve seen this world and who am I to keep it for myself?

It has become a duty to share

what I know

who I know

where I know.

To allow others

to see beauty in themselves

exceptional in the mundane

compassion within stories.

I see a utopic world perhaps, but

I choose it.

I choose this version of vision

over peril and violence

over unmistakably ignorant rhetoric.

I choose to share what I’ve always seen

what I am a part of

and so are you.

 

 

 

Leadership. How to.

“Leadership” has become a word whose frequency buzzes to the point of not being able to hear the word at all. Close seconds in our world of oft-used, sometimes-fulfilled buzzwords in global education, travel and group facilitation are “design thinking”, “paradigm shifting” “innovation” and “sustainability”. Up and coming words like “accompaniment” and “meaningful” will soon take the place of “service” and “empowerment”. Words are simply that. They convey messages to make the non-tangible tangible. And as we attempt to discover the newest and greatest and most grandiloquent means of expression, it is important to instate action that can defend the words we try to embody.

On voyages to other lands and in classrooms, schools and businesses, I have done my best to “facilitate” as opposed to “teach”, to be humble enough to invite varying opinions and perspectives in order for our group or team to create the best possible experience or solution. It is only when we can “walk the talk” that we will be able to become true leaders, people that are willing to see our own strengths and be vulnerable enough to recognize when others can compensate for our limitations. We all have talents that deserve to shine and if we try to “go it alone”, our talents are easily masked by the minutiae of where we don’t excel.

Below is a leadership tool you are welcome to adopt. In the classroom and in the world, I have used this tool, or some variation of it, to elicit accountability and group buy-in to our process, to allow me to step back and others to step forward. Each day, there is an individual or team that is responsible for different aspects of our experience. The below list was created with student travel in mind, but can certainly be adapted to any team scenario. Use it in your classroom, your home, your office, or on your next global adventure to enhance empathy, collaboration and effective leadership.

Use this tool and avoid the urge to uphold the popular terminology that will forever change. Your actions are what will remain in-style. By facilitating true leadership, the positive results on our world will be permanent.

 

Leader(s) of the Day Responsibilities:

Daily Schedule

  • At the beginning of the day, display the daily schedule, goals and activities and review with the group

Group activity

  • (At the beginning of the day and when needed)

Choose a ‘word of the day’

  • This word can be intention-setting or something helpful in the host community or new setting

Choose a ‘question of the day’

  • Choose a question that will elicit thought and can be referred at any time, particularly when reflecting

Group check-in

  • How is everyone doing?
  • Hold up fingers 1-5. If you are 1-3, look to 4-5 to uplift you and vice versa
  • Thumbs-up scale for good, somewhere in the middle for not so good, down for not well

Prepare

  • Review daily activities, what could happen and how to be prepared for any potential situation
  • Make sure everyone has what they need for the day’s activities

Time keeper

  • Help to keep us on time and round up the group when its time to go

Thank and greet whomever is hosting us

  • We often have to “say words” when we arrive and depart any given place. This is a great chance to practice speaking in front of a group and speaking from the heart

Help to organize/clean

Make sure everyone in the group is present, on time and healthy!

Sweep

  • Check the premises of wherever we are to be sure we have everything/all trash is picked up, etc.

Write blog

Lead Closing activity

  • Choose next day’s leaders
  • Answer ‘Question of the Day’

 

Travel alone. It’s a party!

Traveling alone to a new destination is like arriving to a party stag…

The crux:

You knock on the door.  This act takes the most effort and commitment and energy.  To your chagrin, the door opens.

You purchase your plane ticket, click the button and feel that rush of excitement, apprehension and pride for choosing to go for it.  You show up.

The decision:

You are certain they are all staring at you.  You want to leave. To call mom.  But for some reason you stay.  You realize you’ll never meet these people for the first time ever again. 

You will never see this place for the first time ever again. You know there is potential and opportunity awaiting you.  You know there is more to learn and discover and apprehend.  You start walking.

The action:

You pour a drink.  You meet others pouring drinks.  You find the snacks.  You meet others masticating empathetically. 

You walk to the nearest cafe, wishing that giant appendage on your back wasn’t bright yellow with the words “North Face” splayed across it zippers.  You sit and try your hand at the few coin phrases you learned on the plane.  

They laugh at you.  With you.

The transition:

You pretend with all of your might that you’re “in”, despite your own expertise in knowing you’re all playing the same game.  You start to acclimate.  The portal you entered through seems to change slowly, like a polaroid appearing more clearly.  You begin to see anew and remember first impressions only happen once and that is all and everything they are.  The initial angst you felt already seems like a foreign land.

When you finally kiss the host adieu, when you click that button again, you realize you’d rather not leave.  You’d rather stay.  To learn. To engage. To change and shift and see it all for the first time.  But you can’t.  Your time has arrived.  

You take a picture.  You press the shutter.  You hold on to what you can, and know, intrinsically, that all of it will not last forever.  But you can be sure your life has changed.  You are a better version of you.

So do it.  Go for it.  You will grow and learn and make mistakes.   And if you want support and suggestions and encouragement, we’re here for you.  Heck, we can even plan your adventure for you and connect you with some of the most wonderful people and places in the world.

You have our permission.  Now go!

Peace. How to find it.

My culminating assignment in college was a paper written in both Spanish and English about perspective and the world between reality and fiction. I conspired with Hume, empathized with Rockwell and sought to live in Borges’ world of Tlön. I concluded the precious space in between is where peace transpires.

Today we celebrate the International Day of Peace. This is a day designated to honor what is good and who is doing good in this world. We recognize war and injustice while preserving hope in those capable of shifting the paradigm from fear to empathy.

Living in the mystery and the unknown, I’ve been told, is one of my geniuses. I enjoy the sheer frustration of knowing that I don’t. I find myself in perpetual in betweenness, with an insatiable curiosity of people and the world. I am frequently found between countries, cities, and ideas, and in those places, Away 2 Be was born.

Away 2 Be facilitates personal, local and global connections by eliminating the often-uncomfortable in between. We are the bridge between you and yourself, you and your local community, staff, and team, you and the world. Through yoga, consulting and facilitation sessions and meaningful journeys abroad, Away 2 Be enables you to connect authentically and perpetuate peace within yourself and all that surrounds you.

To Hume’s pre-determinism, Rockwell’s bell pepper and Borge’s land between the mirror and the self, I humbly accept this challenge of shifting our current perspective and I invite you to join me on the journey. Away 2 Be was created as a conduit for change, for connection and above all, peace.

How will you create peace today and beyond?

 

 

 

Una respuesta.

This is for Spanish speakers and poetry lovers and those who connect with self in order to consciously connect with others.  This is an answer to one of my favorite poems by one of my favorite authors.  It addresses the contention, and further, the acceptance of the images we see in the mirror which are actually images of people we see in front of us, on screens, on the street, in our homes.  First and foremost, we must accept what is, so as to move forward into the greatness that can be.  Enjoy!

El poema que no digo,
el que no merezco.
Miedo de ser dos
camino del espejo:
alguien en mí dormido
me come y me bebe

–Alejandra Pizarnik

Una respuesta.

Alguien en mí dormido
me comía y me bebía

Pero ahora, después de conocernos,
no nos comemos,
nos damos de comer.
no nos bebemos,
nos damos de beber.
Después de vernos y saludarnos
y vivir juntos,
nos divertimos.
exploramos.
buscamos los mismo.
ahora viene y se queda.
me quedo y viene hacía mi.

¿Y yo?
Estoy orgullosa de haberlas conocido.
De enseñarlas y aprender de ellas.
De observar, más que nada,
lo bonito
de esta etapa
de esta fase
de lo que conozco
y de lo que nunca conoceré.

Orgullosa
fortunada
bendecida
alegre e
inspirada.
motivada y
dispuesta a lo que nos trae.