ONE World: America to Serbia, with Love

About this journey

 

..What I want to share with you is the journey I took to Serbia. To a place filled with the beauty of nature and kind, educated, compassionate people who still have what we’ve lost. What they don’t have is the opportunity to share their gifts and talents. The one thing we may be able to offer them.

I stayed with his family. His warm and wonderful Gram, his sweet aunt, his smart, strong, funny mom. I talked to his friends: a musician, a graphic artist, a yoga teacher, a theologian, a journalist, an astrologer. “Young men in service to their family,” as one of his friends described them. Knights, all… read how it all happened

What makes you feel safe?

There were times I dreamed of Magic Lands, with Castles,
Young Knights and Strong Maidens

 

Every night before I fell asleep my father tucked me in and read me fairy tales. My father was an immigrant from Sardinia, and the fairy tales were Grimm’s. Those were the happiest times of my life. He also read me the complete set of Harvard classics so I knew Socrates and Plato and Aristotle. I grew up eating spaghetti while chewing on the words of the great philosophers, trying hard to digest both.

One part of my early learning played to my logical brain, the other to the heart of all matter. I believed in a personal God and in Heaven. My world was rich, peopled by both angels and devils, heroes and villains. I, myself, was bathed in myth.

I never doubted there were magic lands, there was no question about Castles. I knew I would visit them one day, the kind of castles of my dreams. And Princes, Knights and all the trappings.

It was a very idealistic time in America then, the ‘60’s, a time of The Beatles and Hippies and all kinds of dreams and hopes to make the world a better place. I took all the virtues and values I thought of as worthy, and crammed them into a passion. That passion led me to healing. Healing led me to suffering, suffering showed me the deep woundings, the heroes, and the miracles that an ordinary life could offer. I felt called to service, and truth.

I’d incorporated everything I learned, and so I marched for equality, for humanity, for evolution.   I wanted everyone to love each other and fought like a maniac for others to want the same.

Then something happened to my America. It happened without my notice, the things I loved about it began somehow to slip away.   As I was living my life, my father’s country, the country he told me was the “American Dream” was being swept away by a tsunami of greed and corruption. The values I held were buried somewhere under all that debris, and it was so much harder to find what we’d lost.

Still, I never stopped believing. I never stopped believing in One Last Magic Land. I just kept following the iridescent arrows of Fate, like the yellow brick road in the hopes that that it would lead me home.

And as often happens, on any journey, I tripped right into my purpose, and right into what I had been looking for. Simple enough. Outsourcing a dream. I ran a contest for a book I’d written, and the decision was so simple because the writer sounded just like me. Maybe a little more idealistic. Younger. Still with hope and heart. He won. I won.   I found the Magic Land, with knights and all the codes of virtue. His name was Dusan Leon Citic. We began to work together and he began to talk about his town.

“Where?” I asked. “Where do you live?”

“Uzice, Serbia,” he said.

“Is that the Mideast?” I asked, not knowing the difference between Serbia, Syria and Siberia.

Outside of America, like so many other Americans, I knew almost nothing about those who lived outside our borders.

“Eastern Europe,” he said.

We emailed each other. I found out that Serbia had Universal Health Care, Serbia had free education, there was no income inequality…men and women were paid the same. And in their schools, each religion was taught to the students by teachers of their own persuasion. What? I believed that only “other countries” had propaganda, that only other countries had corrupt governments, that America was somehow better, kinder, smarter. WRONG!!

What I want to share with you is the journey I took to Serbia, to a place filled with the beauty of nature, with kind, educated, compassionate people who still have what we’ve lost. What they don’t have is the opportunity to share their gifts and talents. The one thing we may be able to offer them.

I stayed with his family. His warm and wonderful Gram, his sweet aunt, his smart, strong, funny mom. I talked to his friends: a musician, a graphic artist, a yoga teacher, a theologian, a journalist, an astrologer. “Young men in service to their family,” as one of his friends described them. Knights, all.

What I saw in these “others” was so much of myself: the best of my young, innocent, idealistic, self. For me, in this magic land. There was no ‘other,’ and I felt no fear.

What I realized then, was that while America has a progressive economy, Serbia has a progressive humanity. If we could share with each other, we could make the world a better place. We could build a better tomorrow together and keep the best of all of us.

Dusan and I began to work on a book called “How to feel Safe in an Unsafe World.” This is how we hope to make the world a better place. Come play with us. We’ll all have fun together.

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