A few weeks ago I returned from traveling through Morocco.
Itinerary: Marrakech – Fes – Chefchaouen.
From the moment I set foot in Marrakech – the experience was full on.
People started talking to me, offering to help me, wanting to sell me something, wanting to hear about USA.
This was my first adventure in a Muslim country. And I faced a prejudice in myself that I did not know I had.
Many of the men looked like Osama Bin Laden. They wore long white robes and had beards. Many of them yelled at one another with a feverish passion.
I’m not proud to admit this – but my first day in Marrakech I couldn’t see the people of Morocco for who they are. I saw them as scary angry people that could do something evil to me.
For over a decade I’d been bombarded with images of Muslim people as portrayed by the news media.
Typically Muslim people were screaming and the news story was about terrorism.
And, yes, to be politically correct the story would conclude with something like “All Muslims are not bad people.”
Nonetheless the repetition of those images ingrained in me fear and prejudice towards a people that I previously had no contact with.
As I began to interact in Morocco, however, time and time again I discovered people with a tremendous sense of humor and big hearts. And I never felt unsafe.
In one of my most cherished afternoons I sat with a man, Mustafa, in his rug shop for a few hours as we drank mint tea, told stories, and negotiated a rug deal. Negotiation in Morocco is like a national sport – I’m a pretty good negotiator – so this man appreciated me.
We laughed, played, and goofed around as his nephew showed me rug after rug.
At one point Mustafa started yelling at his nephew. I felt safe enough to say to him, “Hey, why ya yelling at him? He’s doing a great job and working hard.”
Mustafa stopped, looked at me and started laughing. “That is how we speak. We speak loud and fast. It’s just the language.”
We concluded our afternoon with hugs and mutual praise for one another – as we both were proud that we had made the other one have so many laughs. I gave Mustafa my phone number and told him if he ever comes to New York, we’ll hang out.
Later in the trip, in Fes, I had an amazing dinner cooked and shared with a beautiful Iraqi family. The man, who did the majority of the cooking said that if we can all sit at this table together and share a meal cooked with love – then there is hope for mankind.
How does all this relate to Committed Impulse and the skill of being present?
I saw how blind I became to what was really in front of me because of ideas in my head. I now see how I do this in relationships and in business – and how it doesn’t serve me.
As we increase our ability to be present we naturally increase our ability to see what is really in front of us. And once we are present – we’re able to be in the dance of life that surrounds us.
Needless to say this is key for creation.
But, it is also the key to peace on our planet. If we can really see each other for who we really are, it becomes very difficult to respond on auto-pilot.
And, it looks to me that so many of the wars that are happening are based on stories we carry about one another – and some of these stories are thousands of years old.
Why don’t we go through this day breathing deep, feeling our truth, and seeing what is around us as it actually is – not how we may have made it up to be.