When flying to various places in my new country, one is guaranteed to see shimmery, sparkly gold specks on the ground. On land, golden pagodas are everywhere - in the cities, on mountains and hilltops, and in rice paddies in the middle of nowhere.
Myanmar is nicknamed "The Land of Pagodas" for good reason. Pagodas are a reflection of the devout Buddhism that exists here. For locals, each pagoda or sparkle serves as a reminder of their faith. For me, I allow each sparkle to serve as a reminder to slow down, focus my awareness on what is present in front of me, and feel my breath go in and out and in and out.
I arrived in Yangon in September 2017. It's been a while since I've written, which isn't uncommon on this here blog. Over the years, I've gotten caught up with life, and at some point, I realize I miss writing and make my way back here.
Before arriving last September, the year prior had been busy - full of hard things, equally full of beautiful and wonderful things, but also full of too much work. I was exhausted upon arrival in Myanmar. Here, I've slowed down some and have found a healthy work/life balance again. At work, I have an amazing team, who just by their mere presence alone encourages me to be kinder and more patient. I also have a couple of stellar colleagues who challenge me to be a more thoughtful leader. Outside of work, I have more time for my dear 10-year-old Hannah; I've made some good friends; I've traveled often; and perhaps most importantly - I'm (re)building healthier habits: swimming, doing yoga, meditating, cooking, connecting with friends and family (outside of Myanmar), and reading. All of these things are helping me live with more intent and be more present in my day to day, therefore reconnecting with my own faith.
I'm happy to be here in the Land of Sparkles for a while.