Monday, August 20, 2012

In the Eye of the Beholder

Grab this related post Widget!
I've gotten a lot of email feedback to the series of posts about our week in Quito, primarily in response to our quest for cedulas. Almost everyone expressed condolences for the "trouble" and "difficulty" we went through.

While people taking time out of their busy lives to write is always appreciated, this sentiment frankly caught me off guard. Because as that wacky day unfolded we never once thought of anything that happened as a "problem."

This caused me to reflect on the Edd and Cynthia who arrived in Ecuador over two years ago and the people we are today. Part of what we brought with us was the Type A, go-go, make-it-happen personalities that contributed to our success in the States.

We quickly learned that approach is not a winning strategy here.

You know how you can be stuck in slow-moving traffic when you really need to get somewhere? And how frustrated that can make you feel?

This pretty much describes our 24/7/365 life. So you are faced with a choice: stay constantly upset or take a breath and let it go.

A lot is written about life in Ecuador and specifically our hometown of Cuenca. The low cost--the fresh produce--the great weather--the top notch medical care. Perhaps because it's so hard to put into words, you don't read very much about how being in a place like this can completely alter your perspective and approach to life.

I often say that a fish spends its whole life in water and never knows there is air right above. Similarly most people are so caught up in their busyness and future orientation that they are totally unaware there are other options.

Separating ourselves from the hustle/bustle of US culture, the multitasking, the constant mental chatter about what's next and will there be enough time, has transformed us in ways we could have never imagined or anticipated.

There's an old Chinese story about a wise man who lives in a village. Each time something happens the townspeople cry, "That's good," or "That's bad." The wise man always replies, "We'll see."

As an example, at one point the wise man's son falls from a horse and breaks his leg. The townspeople say, "That's bad." Shortly afterwards all the eligible young men are drafted to become soldiers in an unpopular war. The son is left behind and not forced to fight.

This is how we have learned to approach whatever presents itself to us. No judgment, no labeling--just accepting and dealing with it as best we can.

I now completely understand the kind comments from those of you who graciously took the time to write. I once thought the same way you do.

And I'm thankful that is no longer the case.


Divinely Designed said...

I read your posts with great interest. I'm not certain when the cedula scenario played out, but I figure it might have been when Mercury was retrograde. You can google those timeframes. Whether you believe in that or not, when Mercury goes retro, all communicatin and things related to that (machines, phones, people, whatever) can get skewed. Interesting that your cedula had all the issues and Cynthia's went very well. I figure that somehow we attract to us whatever occurs. I guess when we need to learn something from an experience we draw the experience and hope we get the lesson. Of course, everyone's lessons are different. Patience is something everyone needs to learn, not just Northerners. I see the locals in Salinas as seemingly endlessly patient in their daily activities, but get them behind the wheel of a car and it's altogether different. Patience and letting it all go is one thing, but I doubt I would have responded with "it's not a problem" when my backpack was swiped out of the gym, just say'in. Good for you guys that you're mellowing on it all. I have not found that path yet. ;-)


I still don't get why you live here leaving all the GREAT stuff in the USA!! Go figure...

Edd Staton said...

Divinely Designed: Of course you've found the path. It's the one you're on. You just don't recognize it yet.

Roger The Wine Guy said...

Edd: Very well said and one of the key points about Life in Ecuador. Been following Edd Said for well over a year and I would rank this as one of your best ever posts! thanks for writing.

Edd Staton said...

Gracias, amigo. Your kind words are much appreciated.