“To know our capacity of nonviolence, we must know our capacity of violence.” – Mahatma Gandhi

And then… The world got very different. I joined the other women on the plane raising my scarf and positioning it cover all but my face before descending the stairs to the tarmac. The police requested that Jesse put the camera away so we did not film our entry into Afghanistan. Customs was quite easeful and soon we were in the parking lot being greeted by a tall smile named Said Agha. Said will be our driver while we are here. He is the brother of Khan who is the organizer of the NVC trainings. The drive from the airport to The Naween Guesthouse actualized our journey. Was it the sand and dirt that define the landscape of Kabul? Or was it the military presence? Or was it the family of three: a father with no eyes and a mother in a Burqa holding a solem toddler tapping on the glass of our vehicle? Or maybe it was the ease with which Said navigated through the chaotic traffic of cars, bicycles and people? Or the little girl running along side our van asking for something so she could eat? My small epiphany on this ride was that there is no way to judge this country. I found myself asking how could anyone comment about what Afghanistan is like or what the people here could possibly need without seeing it first hand. I am curious how anyone could comment with any certainty about the situation here by only having his or her information siphoned through CNN or NPR. Beginner’s Mind is the only thing that came immediately to me as a response to all I was taking in on our ride.

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.” - Shunryu Suzuki


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From the air: vast deserts, as far as the eye can see, dusty hard-edged mountains, and dry, dry, dry.  On the flight over, I was reading the biography of Badshah Khan, the “Frontier Gandhi”, a Pashtan (I believe I read that 40% of Afghan people are Pashtan) who raised up...

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False start

Al Hijaz Motel
(photo: Al Hijaz Motel - a homey place far from home)

And then... Tuesday, October 30

A huge heartfelt thanks to Louise Deerfield and Marrriot Hotels for the generous donation of a room as we got an amazing night’s rest in Dubai last night. Gratitude for sleep really hit us once we realized we had set our clock 30 minutes off and the piece of paper we had with our flight information to Kabul was 30 minutes off as well. With rested minds it only took 10 minutes staring dumbfounded at each other to integrate the fact we had missed our flight to Kabul. Now really begins the practice of walking our talk about walking in the dark. After Jesse spoke with the Pamir agent we finalized that we would try again tomorrow at 5:30 AM to fly out (6 hours from now as I write this!).

The extra day in Dubai turned out to be more needed than we could have anticipated.

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New Mindfulness & NVC guidebook

Catherine’s TEDx Talk

Stories of Nonviolence in Education