Adventures in Peace (Corps)

Attitudinal Disposition

I had a dream the other night. I was standing on the precipice of a cliff and a spirit told me that if I jump from the edge I would fly. I looked up into the heavens, out across the valley and down hundreds of feet into a deep ravine. Without question I spread my arms wide, put one foot over the edge, leaped forward with great momentum, and began to fly.  Oh, what a great feeling of freedom I experienced. Weightless, fearless flight.

A couple of weeks ago I participated in an ancient South American ceremony called a despacho. The despacho ceremony is a very special ceremony because it gives one an opportunity to make an offering of gratitude and prayer for the abundance one has or would like to have in her/his life. This ceremony could not have been at a more opportune time. I have so much to be thankful for, and as I take this leap of faith into my future I find that grounding myself in the abundance of support I have in my life is crucial to my sanity. Seriously…I do not think I could make this adventure without being absolutely sure in my heart that what I am doing is right for me and knowing that I have all of you lifting me up and wishing me well makes it all the more possible. I am very thankful for that. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

What I’ve been thinking about the last few days aside from everything that I have to do to get ready to leave the country for 27 months is my attitude. I’ve been thinking about what kind of attitude I want to bring with me to Azerbaijan and what I’ve come up with is the following:

I want to align with the people in the communities that I will be serving. This does not mean that I have to lose my identity as an American, a liberal, a Yogi-Hindu-Jew-Bu who enjoys full moon parties in the desert with her friends and a bottle of Maker’s Mark, but it does mean that I will have to check some of these behaviors at the border in order to respectfully engage in meaningful relationships. I don’t want to represent Americans as loud, obnoxious people who are unwilling to take a back seat in order to see the perspective of another culture. What would be the point of me going abroad if I do there what I already do here? No, I want to grow, explore sides of myself that I have yet to meet. The attitude that I wish to have is one of complete open mindedness. Even when I am being challenged to my very core, and I know I will be, I hope to be able to take a moment to consider the view from the other side.  This culture and its people will be my teachers and I am looking forward to that.

It was not so long ago that the United States was a developing country. It was through perseverance and ingenuity of the people who colonized our country that it has grown into what it is today. Many people in our country have had to struggle to obtain what many of us today think is a natural state of affairs, that being civil and equal rights. It is through the struggles of the people in the past (and those that still struggle in our country today) that people like me are lucky enough to have these rights most of the time. I don’t have grandiose ideas that I will go to Azerbaijan and make huge changes, but I do believe that change is possible, and it is the belief in this possibility that I wish to pass onto the people that I will meet in this newly developing economic landscape.

11 responses

  1. You are going with a kind and loving sprit!! A true explorer. You will make us all proud to be Americans!!

    Peace and Light,

    August 20, 2010 at 11:11 pm

  2. Josh

    Hi Glendene,
    Congratulations! So much time and not knowing if you would be accepted or not to the Peace Corp. You’re about to have what I imagine to be an amazing adventure. Hoping you will be blogging from there and I look forward to following it.
    This is awesome.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    • Thanks Josh. I am so excited. It is going to be a real adventure for sure, and yes, my intention is to blog from abroad when i have access to the internet.

      August 20, 2010 at 11:36 pm

  3. Julie Sanders

    I am so inspired by you! Open mindedness is a beautiful and scary thing, but I know that you are going to soar at this exciting new adventure!! Some days are going to be tough, but those days will make you stronger. You can do anything, including locking your door at night, putting on your itunes, sipping on some booze and shaking your booty….one must remember ones roots;)

    August 20, 2010 at 11:30 pm

  4. Julie Dean Hunter

    The people of Azerbaijan will love you!! I am so happy for you! Make sure you sit on the baks of the Caspian Sea one night under the full moon (With your Maker’s Mark) & think of me! love you!!

    August 20, 2010 at 10:24 pm

  5. Change like that which you spoke of happens one person at a time. Knowing that the only thing you have power over is your attitude and your actions will go a long way toward bringing about some of the change you desire.

    August 21, 2010 at 1:13 am

  6. That sounds lovely.

    “When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen: There will be something solid for you to stand upon, or, you will be taught how to fly. Patrick Overton

    You already know how to fly.

    August 21, 2010 at 10:03 am

  7. P o E

    you’re gonna make a difference in someone’s life over there, glendene (i know you already have made a difference in many pple’s lives right here in LA).
    xo, P o E

    August 22, 2010 at 9:50 pm

  8. Rosalie

    Ah love. You do inspire and I am sending you lots of love and my prayers that your experience be one of peace, tolerance, creation, love, joy…and a whole lotta hard (heart) work! I am going to take on your mantra of opening and listening even as I stay here in LA. Everyday we meet people who have new and unique perspectives and I hope to open to them as you choose to open to all the crazy-cool Azerbaijanis you will meet!

    August 25, 2010 at 1:42 pm

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