Thoughts and Meditations from My Recent Trip to Africa

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Dear Friends,

I hope you are well and are having a lovely holiday season so far.

I just returned from Africa, and my mind is still processing the remarkable amount of experiences that were packed into less than a month. The bustle of being around dozens of children and members of Gardens for Health International on the farm in Rwanda was the opposite extreme of the many hours of solitude in the Serengeti and other national parks in Tanzania. I am very much bubbling over with inspiration and new knowledge I gained from the trip, and I can’t wait to continue sharing it with you, in various ways.

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I would perch all day, shoeless, atop the seats of the jeep with my arms resting on the open rooftop to steady me over the unpaved and often very bumpy roads (lots of “African massage”, which refers to the intense jostling driving around Africa!). By the grace of God- certainly not the doing of the safari company- John and I had the whole 8-seat jeep to ourselves. No one else happened to sign up that week, so we could run back and forth if there was a leopard on one side and some buffalo on the other side, straddle the seats for balance while standing up, and completely stretch out.

So there we were all day, la dee dah, just John and I and our safari guide, scanning the horizon for any signs of movement or life for hours. It was low season over there, and the only sign of human life would be an occasional other jeep we would pass, or a few jeeps when a big cat was spotted and the drivers would radio it in to others.

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But the times that we did pass some jeeps I noticed something very interesting. Say it was a pride of lions prowling in the long grass or a leopard balanced in a tree. John and I were fascinated to be with the animal(s) for long stretches of time, studying their every moment, and looking through binoculars at their eyes, their paws, everything. I would never tire of watching an elephant pull food towards itself with its giant worm-like trunk, or a giraffe’s slow, graceful gait between acai trees and the way its knees would bend in sections to control those mile-long legs.

However, other safari-goers would often pull up to witness the lion or cheetah to snap a few pictures, then I would hear them tell their driver after a few seconds, “Ok, let’s go.” Where are they going? I would always wonder. They are here to see animals, that is what a safari is all about. There’s nowhere else to be. Yet as they see some of the most amazing animals right in front of them, they want to keep on going to see “more.” Even our driver, Tumaini, told me that many times his passengers only wanted to see the animals for a moment, then keep driving, keep going…keep ever-seeking. It was baffling to me because all I wanted to do was be with the animals. Everything else in the world, including the urge to just “do” disappeared for me.

“Silence is the language of God, 
all else is poor translation.” 
― Rumi 

It made me wonder how present those people really were with where they were, and what they were seeing. Maybe they just wanted pictures to show their family and friends, as emblems of where they were, without the presence of really enjoying the safari or experiencing it to the core.

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And if they weren’t present on safari, with beautiful, rare animals roaming free before them, were they present in the rest of their life? How alive were they to each passing moment, each day, each meal, each morning, meeting, interaction with a child, decision on what their body needed to eat, etc. Or do they just live for the future, thinking of how each moment affects the future and what the outcome will be, instead of just enjoying this one. I think not being truly present is a widespread phenomenon, especially in the rushed and busy Western world, but it does not have to be that way for you. Oh no, dear one, you can choose to be awake and alive in every actual moment, to savor your life!

OLI_1041With this year coming to a close and the new one upon us, many of us will undoubtedly be making resolutions and goals for the year to come. But before all that exciting future stuff, let us take some time to acknowledge the past year, to be present with how we feel now with all that’s happened over the past year. How have you grown, what wisdom have you gained, especially when it came in the form of having to surpass hardships, bad dates, annoying work politics, friendship and professional conflicts and feeling lonely/anxious/irritated?

This is not to go in the opposite direction of dwelling in the past. But I do believe pauses are key. They help us to assess, take inventory of what has worked and what directions we may want to focus on, to help make authentic resolutions that will serve us the most. If all we do is look to the next year without acknowledging this one, where is our presence of mind? We’re like the safari people who barely look at the lion in front of them, and just want to keep going to some imaginary spot that is somehow, in their mind, better than the one they are in.

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This is a juncture of time before the collective renewal of the New Year. Take some time in this space, as the light draws to a close earlier, to reflect, acknowledge and be still. Using a journal to write out your thoughts is wonderful for this. My notebook is a blank, unlined sketching journal. Spend at least an hour or two writing, being alone, thinking of how you authentically feel now, to be able to really assess your goals for the future.

This is a great exercise in staying present as we move into the next year, which will help to make 2014 an even more incredible year for you, and keeping you focused on only that which serves the true essence of who you are, to the absolute highest level.

This is the moment to savor.

With love and gratitude,

Kimberly

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26 Responses to “Thoughts and Meditations from My Recent Trip to Africa

  1. Thank you for your thoughts. I have changed the things I eat because of your excellent advice. I count my blessings every day. My husband & I retired very early. We enjoy every day, treasuring our family, pets & we love to watch the birds in our garden. I enjoy quiet time. Happy New year. Ps last year was horrible. We intend 2014 to be better. Always glass half full. ;-)

  2. Kimberly, I love reading your thoughts– you really ground me! Every day by the end of the day I feel a certain level of stress, and reading your blog just helps me to focus and to breathe… Thank you and please keep it up, you’re pretty awesome! ;) xo

  3. Thank you, Kim! I had a really tough year and am looking forward to 2014! I agree that a pause to reflect is necessary in order to move us forward. I love your posts! You are so inspiring. God bless and happy holidays!

  4. thank you for sharing those beautiful photos…what an exciting trip..The animals are quite beautiful….That is truly Gods country.Experiencing
    nature at the utmost most have been amazing…

  5. Thank you Kimberly I love this post. I’m half way reading a book titled “The Now Effect” by Elisha Goldstein, (a very good read) and it’s all about being in the presence. I was a bit overwhelmed reading your story cuz I could relate everything you said to the book;) Other than that, I’m glad you had fun in Africa!
    Wish you a happy new year, all the best. keep up the good deeds, you had inspired us tremendously! xx

  6. KImberly….I do not know how we “hooked up” yet I am so glad we did.
    I loved your post on Africa and look forward to tuning in on the 16th of January. With thanks, Judie

  7. It takes a special place and situation for me to lose the “urge to just “do”. It certainly doesn’t happen often enough. Thanks for the reminder – I hope to lose the “do something” urge more often next year.

  8. I LOVE what you wrote about being in Africa on safari & being present in the moment. Life to the fullest. A satisfied heart. Appreciative of the now & God’s creation around me. Many people I’ve talked to are looking to 2014 as a year to REGROUP. Step back & examine if we actually like the life we lead. Your blog resonated with me so much as I stop, evaluate, & regroup. Thank you SO much for all you do!

  9. This is such an amazingly inspirational post. So often, we can become entrapped in the cycle of productivity that it’s hard to simply be.

    Thank you for sharing this. And have a wonderful New Year!

  10. Thank you for the inspiring post, sometimes we lose our purpose in the modern world as we go about the grind of daily life, we are creatures of habit which makes our lives so dull!
    I have spent 2013 to up-skill to move toward a new career, it has been a massive challenge that has pushed me to my limits and i have discovered so much about myself, and others.
    As i look back on how much I have grown, my body is exhausted and so is my bank account. It is time for rest, relaxation, reflection and the opportunity to set goals.
    I have back aches, migraines and bags under my eyes, and I am so excited for next year. The hard work is paying off and I will be self-employed for the first time ever!
    Make 2014 the best year, stay grounded.
    The best thing I learnt in 2013: Leave a profit wherever you go

    “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills” -Jim Rohn
    x

  11. Maybe the people wanting to move on was not about’ being present’ but rather ‘being in fear’. They may have thought that by sitting still they could be attacked/ambushed by the wild animals or even thieves. That was the first thing that came to my mind but either way, being in fear or not being present is to not fully appreciate the beauty of their experience. Lucky you to go on a safari. Glad you fully enjoyed it. You are an inspiration that dreams can and do come true. Thanks for all you do for humanity. We need more like you :)

  12. Hello Kimberly!
    I just want to say thank you for sharing a few of those special moments with us. It brought me back to a safari I’ve had the opportunity to experience in Kenya and Tanzania many years ago. You’re right, we really do have to stop and just admire nature. Xx

  13. Yes! I was just expressing to a girlfriend of mine who is a new Mommy to video every moment no matter how small it may seem; but also take in these moments and “marinate” in them. I watch old videos now there are times I feel I did not marinate in the moments long enough and missed the true experience. Hard to do sometimes and definitely one of my goals for this year! Thanks for sharing your experience. African safari is a dream of mine!

  14. Thank you GOD for working through Kimberly, and thank you Kimberly for allowing yourself to become a vessel of GOD’s Light, what you share with us is truly empowering, may your 2014 be even more enlightening, and may you share more of your insperiences and experiences with the rest of us! Bless

  15. Beautiful post! It reminded me of a quote from the Dalai Lama that I myself need to reflect upon. He said, “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.”

  16. Great message! Thank you for sharing. It’s so true, we can get caught up with the next thing on our lists. I find that when I’m out in nature that I’m feel so connected and desire nothing but to just slow down, sit, and soak up the beauty around me. And I always wonder so what’s so important on my list that I’m not out here more. Nature seems to put things back into perspective. Love this message :)

  17. Thanks for this blog. It’s so important for me to get reminders to just stop and realize where I’m at in this moment. When my day gets packed with appointments and meetings I often forget to notice the moment and sometimes I miss something wonderful if I’m not looking. Happy holidays!

  18. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and posting these beautiful photos! It is so crucial to savor the now and be ever so thankful! After all, tomorrow is not promised to anyone. When we stop and behold the fascinating, amazing wonders of creation and how wondrous and beautiful it all really is, we have to acknowledge the Divine Creator. Perhaps that’s the reason why people don’t take the time to be amazed at His amazing handiwork. It shows that He is God and we aren’t. However, because of His great love for us, we can partake of His beauty, mercy and grace! Thanks for sharing!

  19. I agree with your observation Kimberley, a lot of us are rushing around, onto the next thing without fully appreciating the present. Your photos of Africa are beautiful. In 2014 I am planning to make lots of changes including trying out some of your nutrition ideas in your beauty bible. Happy new year!

  20. “It was baffling to me because all I wanted to do was be with the animals. Everything else in the world, including the urge to just “do” disappeared for me.”

    I have never been on a safari, but I can completely understand this. I would too be the one sitting for hours watching an elephant. I would certainly have no concept of time, and therefore no concept of rushing! There seems to be something so peaceful about sitting in open plain just watching nature “be”.

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