Foreign consultants, props, outfits, and cliques are bypassing tools to avoid the inevitable

By March 14, 2018 No Comments

It was sometime in late 2011. We sat in the office of a government official in Jordan discussing plans to support small enterprises in a town in the South. I still remember my elevated heart rate when I was told that said government body had commissioned a study to a foreign expert entity to turn the only local high street in said southern town into an artisan market. The study cost tens of thousands of Jordanian dinars. By that time, it had been sitting on those government shelves for a few years, gathering dust, most likely occasionally paraded to a naive ignoramus like myself who should have known better. Having absolutely no filtration mechanism between my head and my mouth, I blurted out with expletives that I could have single-handedly ended poverty in all southern towns with that money. I have obviously not gotten over this, because this sunny March morning in 2018, it is all I can think about. The artisan market has not seen the light. From what I know, living conditions and economic opportunities have not improved. And I am almost sure the study is still where I left it. The following has nothing to do with development work.

Foreign consultants are very much like props and accessories when it comes to wellness practices. They are the excuse a bypassing endeavour to fool ourselves into believing we are working on it. My children are professional props-and-accessories bypassers. We are proud owners of everything you can think of for every sport and hobby they have undertaken. As we speak, there are three guitars gathering dust at home in said childrens rooms. I also have a baby-sized one in the car looking for a home. Complete gymnastics, horse-riding, and ballet collections start at age 2 and go up to 8, when said activities were abandoned for new interests.

Yoga is supposed to make us one: within ourselves and each other. Yet, it has never been more divisive. We spend a lot of money on yoga outfits and gear. Our yoga mat brand has become part of our identity and sweat propensity. We take yoga class with one teacher only and consider it treason to mix up our practice. We carefully study every detail for the obligatory social media post to announce our enlightenment. We busy ourselves with how we look, where we practice, who we mix with, and what we post to delay the inevitable eventuality of facing ourselves. And unknowingly in the process, we alienate so many from the practice that is meant to be inclusive of humanity. In other words, we dive into the study and ignore the town.

In his Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar sets the requirements to begin the practice of yoga asana (postures): a clean airy space free from insects and noise, a blanket (as a yoga mat), and determination. That pretty much includes most places except my home studio on occasion when it has seen a number of ants! He goes on to explain that asanas can be done alone, as the limbs of the body provide the necessary weights and counter-weights. No props needed, even though he is known to be the king of the prop.

You dont need an international consultant to tell you what you know deep in your heart. It is very simple. If you are not feeling at the top of your game and by that I mean feeling well and healthy then you need to ask yourself some tough questions. In those questions are the universal answers: a clean, airy room free from insects. A blanket. And determination to commit, especially when you feel you want to quit. And those you need for every wellness practice under the sun, yoga included.

The prize never goes to the fastest guy. It goes to the guy who slows down the least. Rich Roll

The shoes will not make us faster, the attire will not enlighten us, and the fancy creams will not stop the blisters nor give us the glow. What will take us forward is moving. Now. In pyjama bottoms if need be. There is no guarantee that tomorrow will ever come.

I am guilty of all of the above. Some of the time, I am no better than the person who signed off that study for tens of thousands so that it can adorn a shelf, depriving a town of compassion and determination. When there is a will, there is a way.

If you are waiting for a miracle or a foreign consultant you are going to have to dig in. The miracle has always been within. No money in the world is going to make it happen for you. You need to trust that all you have to do is move. The entire universe will move with you to support you. If you bury your head in the sand and keep praying for a miracle, you are going to be where you are, gathering dust. You have control over you, only. You can move you, only. So get moving.

I have absolutely no doubt that we all have the best of intentions, including those who chose to spend thousands on a study. (For the record, I am not against foreigners nor consultants. My husband happens to be both outside Jordan, and this is how I am able to continue to do what I love without worrying about putting food on the table.) I think the problem lies in the determination the will to get to work. Are we willing to sweat?


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