Day 275 – Be attentive

So in my Saturday blog I wrote about transcendental imperatives. Two complicated words. This week I want to engage with them. Not these exact words though, but the ones they referred to. Words from a book on the saint Benedict rule. An old, down-to-earth description of living in peace with oneself, one another and God. 

I don’t exactly how the transcendental imperatives fit in. I left the book at home in Kampala. On the road today, I let my thoughts wonder about the first one on the list. 

Be attentive. 

You can take that very literally. Paying close attention to the world around. Pretty crucial when you are driving. Especially in Uganda. Yesterday we talked about a report on traffic accidents. Almost 200 people died in a little over a month. I think that’s a lot. Today on the road we passed someone on the phone. It’s dangerous people! A bit further up in the country it wasn’t just about other people in cars or motorbikes or bicycles, but we also passed some hungry monkeys. And heavy rain on the way gives you endless green fields to be amazed about, but also limits the view considerably as it poors down on the windshield.

Be attentive.

I doze off in the car. When I wake up again, we drive past a hospital. I see lots of mothers walking past the side of the road. Children on the back. The typical African women style. Yet what I think about today though is why I see these mothers here. Around the hospital. Maybe they are not well or their babies are not well. But love and being attentive made them walk to the hospital to get care. 

Being attentive has a lot to do with kindness. That’s one of my favourite qualities in fellow human beings (and maybe in animals too). If I see someone being attentive to someone else, without them knowing that I am observing. A warm heart, being loving is so meaningful. I’ve also learned that is the way into the heart of a Ugandan. And probably of a Dutchie too and any other citizen of the world. 

Be attentive. 

The rain is pouring down. The power goes on and off. I am watching an episode of Planet Earth II, since it’s too dark to read a book and I am too lazy to dig my flashlight from somewhere in my bag. But it is in this episode on grasslands that I notice how being attentive is also crucial in the world of animals. While I have probably more emails to write and trainings to prepare, I know the next couple days of work will be good yet intense. So nothing wrong with putting my feet up for a while and simply being attentive to my own body and soul after a long day of travelling.

I remind myself of the first week in Uganda. I took a picture of my dusty feet in this town. Now it’s raining, cold and I am reminiscing about how different the girl back then was. How much I have learned and grown in such a sort period of time. And it’s really good to take a moment to simply pay attention to that. 

I am glad I packed my yoga mat for this trip. And my rain jacket. 

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