The afternoon breeze hits me in the face as I sit eye level with the half dozen coconuts that hang on the swaying tree. From the second floor of our latest educational building here in Siem Reap Cambodia, I have the perfect spot to take in the full spectrum of the school - a fully realized dream come true. The afternoon bell rings and the children have charged out of the various classrooms preparing for their return home. There are squeals of adventurous laughter, the gathering of shoes and a final line up where announcements are given before they walk or peddle their bikes towards their respective villages.
Today, before their departure, they serenade me with a rendition of a song I taught them more than 4 years ago. They have titled it Mr. David’s song and their thick Cambodian accents attempt to pronounce these words.
I can’t help but blossom
I can’t help but grow
For knowing deep in my heart is planted
A love this world must know
I can’t help but prosper
I can’t help but shine, shine, shine
With every beat of my heart I’m sharing
This life with all divine.
It feels surreal. So much has happened during the eleven years of continuously traveling here that I sometimes find it overwhelming to imagine this journey of determination was actually mine. Had I known the years of frustration in the beginning, I doubt that I, or anyone for that matter, would have signed on for such a thing. But now, walking around our quaint and highly functioning campus, I’m glad I didn't know. I’m glad for the beauty of naivete that helps each of us uncover that ‘anything is possible’ mentality. It truly is. You just have to constantly cooperate with the side of what is possible rather than what isn’t.
In my latest book, The Grass Is Greener Right Here, I devote the first chapter to a synopsis of this decade plus adventure. From the physiological and spiritual heart opening of feeding a hundred or more starving children on the banks of the local river to the documented success that only undiluted devotion can deliver.
It was here on Cambodian soil that I learned the power of perception – a theme that has helped elevate my world view and offer me a quantum leap in mental and emotional healing.
Years ago, observing a beggar woman near the causeway of the famous temple Angkor Wat, I crafted these words –
In someone else’s belief you are rich and free.
In someone else’s eyes you are smart, capable and daring.
In someone else’s world of existence you have it all
In someone else’s level of experience you have already reached their understanding of nirvana.
Whatever your story is, you are as blessed as you are willing to recognize you are.
The breeze continues as I wave good-bye to the students. Watching them wave back, I realize that indeed, I am in nirvana.