A Mirror held up to my eyes…

It is the middle of the night in Mérida but I’m wide awake, partly because my body is still running on European time and thinks it is 7 hours later than it is. I hope that I’ll soon adjust to the time change and feel recovered from the homeward bound flights.

I am ecstatic to be home. Even if sleep is evading me, my own bed feels so comfortable and the long swim I took     yesterday soothed my travel-weary muscles and joints. Unpacking, finding places for the small Italian treasures I lugged back with me, and washing the wardrobe we wore for a month helped to restore the sense of normalcy I need.

The past four weeks have left me with so much to ponder… maybe I’ll be lucky to ever sleep again!

Many events and occasions made a deep impression. The old world looks as though it is going through major upheaval: shifting borders, a changing economy, religious conflict and cultural clashes. Just as on the American continent, the European nations struggle with immigration, political and economic issues, and a shrinking middle class. We’re all in the midst of the same dilemmas, and the insecurity we experience feels like something that has never happened before. But, these issues have always existed. “Things were ever thus.”

Back in the latter half of the XVI Century, an alliance between the Medici of Florence and their traditional enemies, the French (through marriage) defeated the aspirations of other powerful states. Today, the current Prime Minister of England, leader of the Conservative Party and the head of the Liberal Democrats Party formed a coalition to gain power as they did not have enough votes on their own. Here in Mexico, the right wing PAN and the leftist PRD want to join forces against the centralist PRI! “There’s not much new under the sun.”

Communication though, is the one variable that I believe has altered our lives significantly. With the Internet, social networks and surveillance everywhere, what happens in one place can instantly affect the lives of others who are thousands of miles away. Violence seems to be provoked by this phenomenon. The rioting in the United Kingdom got the restless stirring in other parts of Europe. The criminal bombing of a casino in Monterrey has been followed by a bank hold-up in Merida.

We watch events unfold before our very eyes, we shake our heads, and that’s it. ¡Que barbaridad! Impunity reigns and we stand by. Is our complacency the culprit?  Although lasting change has never been achieved in the world, the ambitions of governments and multinational power brokers need to be kept at bay… swatted back if you will. Much in the way we need to chop back the ever-encroaching vegetation in tropical Merida.

Going away held up a mirror, and helped me to see that our country’s ills are shared by others throughout the world. If we’re all in the same boat, it seems that we should try to paddle in the same direction!

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10 Comments

Filed under Family and Friends, Vida Latina

10 responses to “A Mirror held up to my eyes…

  1. Sara Bateman

    Hello Joanna,
    It was so nice to hear from you. I have been following your blog and I so enjoyed all of your postings about your trip, I love that you cooked while on vacation, I would want to do the same. I would love to get together soon.

  2. Welcome home Joanna and thank you for sharing your trip with us. I can’t imagine taking the time that you did to organize your thoughts, write them down and then post all the pictures that you did while traveling. Thank you!

    • Actually it was fun to blog about our trip. I always have kept a diary while traveling and so the blog filled that need for me. Just to let you know, I have pasted all the trip postings together on a new page: Travel (found right underneath the header photo) They look kind of messy yet but I’ll get around to tidying them up. Thanks for writing… I hope Juan Manuel is doing well.

  3. AMEN, Joanna! You touched on so much here! Maybe the common need, still, across all these ages, is Love?

    “Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. you only need a heart full of grace. a soul generated by love.”

    “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    (from http://en.proverbia.net/citasautor.asp?autor=14047)

  4. norm

    The Economist nailed the reason for our social unrest a few years ago in a feature on China: There is only so much capital, we have added two or three times the number of workers to the mix through free trade, China, India, Russia being examples they cited. Where does capital flow to if it is not restricted? To the cheapest labor. It effects everyone, not just the drop it on your toe type workers, redundant workers work for less or starve, How long will it take to even out? My unborn grandchildren will be old crones before this shakeout is over.

  5. Good post Joanna. It seems that, more than ever, the seduction of power and wealth by the few always trumps the desire to work for the good of the people and the environment. If world governments don’t begin to “paddle in the same direction”, I fear for what the future holds for the children of today.

  6. Larry

    Yes, travel opens our eyes and helps us understand that others face many of the same challenges and changes that we do….indeed, we are not alone. Working together to make our world a better place for everyone, working in harmony for the common good, I believe, too, is the goal we should be striving to achieve! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Joanna. I know that your words ring true!

  7. I am glad you guys got home safe… hope you are able to get some rest 🙂

    • Thank you Carlos, Larry, John, Alinde and Norm. It is good to know I am not the only one who feels this way. What can be done about it? There’s the rub… or maybe not? Most people believe that one person can do nothing. I do not believe that’s true. We need to act as the spirit moves us… and not worry if what we are doing is “appropriate” or if we will be viewed as “goodie-two shoes.” Positive actions, kindness and truthfulness will never go without notice and if enough “singles” act… they’ll become a big group whose voice will be heard. We have to work at getting that group to grow loud and strong.

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