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PS 22 Choir

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Waking from the matrix
Added: Wednesday, 28 February 2007

watch original V-Blog in Persian

Growing up in the cushy lap of comfort in Austria, I never thought I'd ever land in Africa - the continent of "problems!" My life eventually took me to Los Angeles, where my husband and I joined the ranks of budding young talent. Ever seen the TV series "Entourage"? That's the sort of life we were engrossed in. Stooped in hype, sweet-talk, and most of all ego. Life was one big conspiracy to uplift us and we were so "it". Sure, we were going to "give back" once we were there at the top. After all, there's so much you can do for the world with money and fame! Just look at all our role models in Hollywood.

I'm not sure what happened next, but it was a lot like Keanu Reeves's experience in The Matrix. We were in the middle of living it up, defining ourselves by the life we led, when someone intervened and woke us up. It was a dear friend, who bought us tickets to come and visit him and his family in South Africa. When we got there, intending to enjoy a holiday of fun and luxury, things started disintegrating. The program that had kept us enslaved began showing its cracks and we embarked on a spiritual detox.

In the three weeks that we spent in South Africa, going on tours of the townships, meeting real people with real concerns and spending time to meditate and pray, we realized that our life thus far had been one big illusion - a matrix. It was a scary recognition, because it meant we had a choice and choices are frightening. Red pill we'd go back to sleep and continue with our self-centered lives in LA or blue, we'd make a change and shift the focus onto serving mankind.

But even if we decided to change our lives, even if we decided to move to Africa - how would we go about it? Where would we get visas? Jobs? A home? We were already burdened with our American credit-card life-style which enables you live on more than you have. How could we take such an irrational step? And what would all the Ari Goldbergs of Tinseltown say?

Our friend spoke of "confirmation". In his compassionate wisdom he asked us to take steps of faith, much like Keanu did when he jumped from building to building. Believe it and you can achieve it. We did. And little by little, the path opened up and we walked along it, never seeing far ahead, but trusting that we would get there.

Life can be so scary and insecure at times. But this experience has taught us to trust in God. In the Baha'i writings Africa is referred to as "the pupil of the eye of humanity" - it is that focal point, through which we can form a perspective. And that is what it has done for us. The Ari Goldbergs of this world wrote us off as nut cases for a while, but that's alright. For in the little things we've been able to do here, lie all the treasures of joy we could have ever imagined. And we've been able to grow and do bigger and better things than we'd ever have imagined for ourselves.

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