Contemplations about Life, Love, & the Pursuit of Meaningful Existence…

A Part of My Soul Remains…


You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” ~Miriam Adeney


I sincerely apologize for my lengthy absence. Although I’m home from my recent journey throughout Turkey, Israel, Egypt, and Greece, a part of my soul remains. Each faltering attempt to convey my experience has left my heart further fragmented. How do I adequately describe human suffrage at depths I’ve never known — and never will? I gravitate toward positivity, but doing so temps me to replace reality with photo-ops like the one featured. Expertly orchestrated. Perfectly contrived. We so wanted to aid our Egyptian guide’s cause. A man who sat knee-to-knee with us atop well-worn, ornate prayer rugs inside Cairo’s Alabaster Mosque and elicited tears by sharing ardent family traditions, religious misconceptions, political frustrations, and dreams he’d likely never achieve (but maybe his son would one day). This 14-hour excursion with our charismatic Egyptian friend touched us on so many levels, compelling us to paint Cairo as a grand destination — and yet…

Just six days before our guide snapped this photo, he’d lost his close friend — a fellow guide who was inadvertently killed by his country’s own military when they mistook him and the Mexican tour group he was leading for ISIS while they picnicked in the Bahariya Oasis. Hence the reason the pyramids were virtually empty. Tourism had already plummeted post-2011 revolution and was just beginning to make a teensy resurgence. Unfortunately, the Russian airliner bombing truncated an already meager recovery.

And that’s just one story…

How can I forget the haunting despair of staring into the eyes of malnourished, shoeless orphaned refugee children in Istanbul? Or strolling the sweltering, dusty, potholed, garbage-filled streets of Alexandria, strewn with butchered animal carcasses bleeding right next to pedestrian traffic? Or passing heavily armed police men and women along the impoverished, graffitied, sand-coated, apocalyptic-looking back roads of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv?

I promised myself then and there that I would never complain about “first world problems” again. But, back in my comfortable surroundings, how swiftly I’ve rejoined the choir, eagerly adding my own petty verses. Why?? I’ve never been oppressed, persecuted, or brainwashed by my government. I’ve never stressed over where my next morsel of food or sip of clean water might come from. I’ve never had to speculate where I might sleep, much less wonder if I’d live to see another day in the manner countless big-hearted, hard-working, beautiful souls around our globe do every single day.

Bidding an emotional farewell to our Egyptian friend, we confessed how inconsequential we felt. How we wished we could do more to help. “Your presence here means everything,” he said, embracing us like lifelong friends.

Sadly, since our September trip, ISIS and its evil predecessors appear to be growing more emboldened daily, stealing innocent lives, destroying families, raping, pillaging and ravishing livelihoods in the region we visited and beyond. With each bloody news alert, I think of the hospitable, gregarious, respectful people we encountered, from Cairo schoolboys flocking around me to take selfies, to the young women smiling curiously from behind colorful hijabs, to the gentleman rescuing us in Alexandria when our animated map-pointing failed to secure three taxi drivers in a row — and a plethora of generous souls in between.

An open heart is humanity’s greatest resource, mutual compassion bridging two very different worlds.

Suffice to say, a part of my soul remains….




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29 thoughts on “A Part of My Soul Remains…

  1. Wow Shauna. Now I better understand why you’ve been so long in writing about what looked like a fabulous trip from your photos and videos. You have such a compassionate heart. Maybe your presence added to the lives of those you met beyond tourism. I’ve never really experienced the kinds of problems that you witnessed (other than inner city and native American reservations). Thanks for opening your heart to the challenges and joys of life. I believe that makes you much more alive and able to connect with people and life deeply and compassionately.
    blessings, Brad

    • Your blessings are so appreciated Dear Brad! Have you ever seen the movie Life is Beautiful? On numerous occasions we felt like the father in this film, wanting so desperately to share the good in the world and edit out the gut-wrenching devastation. But in the end this feels disingenuous — hence the conflicted emotions and writer’s block…

      Sending love and blessings back to you and hoping your life is coming together in a way that brings magical new beginnings and well-deserved peace.

      • Yes, I vaguely remember that movie. I believe we grow by embracing it all and working to be a blessing to others. Thanks for your friendship and support. I’m actually moving today. 🙂

  2. So very touching and tearful. Man’s inhumanity to man is so incredibly disheartening! And yet somehow I do my best to make sense of it all in some small way and to hang onto the goodness I believe to be inherent in the human heart. You are such a brave soul to travel to these places and such a loving one to report what you’ve encountered in such a compassionate way. Thank you for allowing me to see the world through your eyes and to be more empassioned in my going foreward regardless of what the future may hold. Part of your soul remains there but much of it is here in your words as well. Love and hugs, Natalie 🙂 ❤

    • Thank you for your love Natalie. I definitely believe inherent goodness will prevail, but this evil force has been allowed too much time to organize and accumulate young, uneducated, hopeless followers with nothing else to live for except the destructive missions of their pathetically misguided ringleaders. I pray for peace but brace myself for more tragedy…Love, hugs, and wishes for a beautiful Thanksgiving week to you and your family!

  3. The Adeney quote is one of my favorite quotes. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I wish everyone could travel and see the reality of the world instead of what we see through the lens of movies or the media. Your heart will never be the same. Hugs ~ Terri

    • Dear Terri — You wrote a poignant line on my fb page while I was over there that I’ll never forget: “I have always felt travel is the best thing we can do to bring peace to our world. Very hard to hate others once you have met them.” Your words sum up my sentiments perfectly. Thank you for the honor of calling you friend!!!

  4. cultivatingtime on said:

    I love the way you end this post – I agree an open heart is humanity’s greatest resource.

  5. Compelling and heartwrenching, your story seems so surreal to me, yet is a stark reminder the atrocities of the world are only a few steps away from the comfort of our own homes. Thank-you for sharing.

    • Always a pleasure seeing you here, JW! Your recent writing seems to be mirroring my sentiments in so many ways. Thanks for sharing your profound observations so creatively.

      • My pleasure, Shauna. I’m so glad you found the time to visit my little world upon your return, but especially happy to see you made it home safely from your faraway adventures. It sounds as though your travels were truly once in a lifetime experiences.

  6. Thank you for sharing such wonderful love through your words. You do great to tell the world what is happening in the world. There is suffering in the world. People are crying; people are suffering; people are dying under the tyranny of others. There is a world of good moving alongside a world of evil. Some people do not have hearts. They have little devils in them. May your sharing contribute to get he world more awake to the fact that the good people of the world need to be more forceful in fighting evil on the surface of the earth. Parliaments must put in place stronger laws to stop evil and suffering. Once again thanks for your sweet heart. Continue to create awareness. It’s a great contribution. Happy to have you back. Many of us really missed you.

    • I’m elated to be back in the grand company of inspiring minds and bighearted souls like yours, Dearest Ngobesing! You are such a wonderful representative of goodness. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and inconsequential in these chaotic times. If my shared experience can make any positive impact whatsoever, I’m over the moon. Thank you for your eloquence and kindness!!

  7. I am so glad you wrote this post and shared your experiences. I think you express so well what so many of us feel and experience. I love your last lines on this.

  8. “..a part of my soul remains.” How perfect–so that you can continue to be the eloquent bridge between the peoples and places that live in your capacious heart, LL! I agree with Ngobesing Romanus above, that your spreading the word of unforgettable travels and people is a political act of enlightenment, of positivity. You are a free agent ambassador of goodwill. Yahoo for that!

    As much as I have missed your work here on your blog, I often imagine you traveling the wonderful world, spreading your magic…and that inimitable image ALWAYS warms my heart and makes me smile.

    Sending you big hugs and enormous gratitude for all the inspiration you provide the world over, along with hearty wishes for a lovely Thanksgiving. LOVE….

    • My Treasured Word Sorceress/Dancing Angel/Divinely-Souled Friend… I’m in awe of your continuous grace and the ease with which you generously hoist me and countless others skyward time and again. What a refreshing gift you are in this chaotic, oft-times fickle world. Thank you for the blessing of your friendship!!

      Wishing you and your gorgeous family a peaceful, love-filled Thanksgiving. Love, love — LOVE YOU so………

  9. A beautiful post, Shauna! I so understand why a part of you remains. An open heart can unite many different worlds. I have been quite a lot in Egypt, latest several times in 2013. It is a fascinating country and it is so sad to see what is going on in and around it. I pray humanity will learn to live in peace.

    • Thank you, Tiny! How wonderful that you’ve been there too. That was definitely the hardest part, speaking with so many in every country we visited who want the exact same things from life: first and foremost — PEACE! And, yet, this growing heinous sector has no other mission in life besides terror. With no endgame beyond continued brutality, I haven’t a clue how this will ever change…

      I hope all is well in your magical world and wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!!!

      • Happy Thanksgiving to you too! I’ll be seeing first hand how these things have affected Europe…going there tomorrow evening.

  10. Oh my Shauna. What amazing experiences and times you have had. So very powerful. It’s really great to hear from you, and I wish you all the best as you seek to balance your soul both here, there, and everywhere. Sending love and light to you. xoxo

    • Always lovely to hear from you, Liz. I’ve just read your beautiful Paris post, and it spoke straight to my heart. I’m posting my favorite line here: “And I promise you that, when we live from a place of openness and tolerance, a place of love and peace, then even the darkness will not seem so dark. we will remember the stars. and we will grab on to even the tiniest sliver of light that they give us… until the sun rises again.”

      May we always remember this! Sending you love, peace, gratitude, and blessings for a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!! XO

  11. I love and I often miss Egypt… you did touch my heart, pretty lady… ❤ if you have some spare seconds:
    * * *
    my very best and

    • Wow — how interesting to have Egyptian love letters translated. So much amazing history there…Thanks for sharing! We actually purchased a small papyrus art piece, featuring a couple and they added our names in Hieroglyphics. Loved reading the symbolism behind our names. My thoughts are with you in your beautiful France, Dear Mélanie.

  12. Shauna, how I’ve missed you. And as I read your words, my Heart was in my throat for to just imagine a sensitive soul such as you in surroundings as you describe, just wrings me inside. The suffering in this world if I were to stay focused upon, would kill me. And that is not an exaggeration. So many times I have been resolved to gasping sobs feeling so inadequate in my small efforts to keep pushing back the dark in order for Light, Truth and Love to shine forth. Your words moved me to tears which are still in my eyes as I write these words. When will the evil be eradicated from this world? When will more brethern remove their eyes from their cellphones to realize that real people are living in such depths of suffering that would by all means send their soul to hell in seconds. Hear my Heart and how She cries for this world. And hear my words as I tirelessly speak in gentleness and in Love promoting a World of Love. God Bless you for your honesty and bringing to us reality which we all must be aware of. What to do, so many of us cry out? So many feel helpless at this time and find their own spirits sinking in despair. WE must stand strong and be Light, not giving into the despair that would swallow us up whole. I only know how to focus on Love and all that encompasses, and to Live my Life in Peace, and to share the Beauty Mother gives to me. Is it enough though to help change the world? My Hope is it is. I must think this way or else the heaviness that is always present would just bring me to my knees and destroy me. Sending Much Love to you, Angel of the Air. Know I really have missed you. You are so beautiful and so brave. BIG (((HUGS))) Amy ❤

    • My Dearest Amy — WOW! The depth of your emotion and beautiful heart fill me with much joy. It is indeed easy to feel utterly helpless…and then a glorious spirit like yours comes along and paints a divine picture of hope and love and connectivity that inspires me to continue trying to make some sort of a difference — no matter how small. Thank YOU and bless you for sharing your thoughts so graciously. Sending appreciation & much love straight back to you!!

      • Shauna, when I cross paths with someone like you, the “event” infuses me with so much Love and encouragement. We are on the same page as to doing our best to make a difference. What a lot of people do not know I am put in circumstances where I find myself standing up to the “dark” and keeping firm … NO this ground is LOVE. I know only too well the horrors of this world, and because of those horrors, it is vital for me to stay connected to Mother Nature and to create in JOY and playfulness. Some of my posts have had a more serious tone to them looking at serious matters. People need to WAKE UP, my friend, and beginning with their own lives, promote Peace, Love, and JOY.
        Please take good care of you. I carry you in my Heart for you are a part of me, and I you. Keep strong, my friend. When discouragement and despair come crashing in, make sure you immerse yourself around those things that lighten your spirit. This is the only way any of us will survive the carnage that is so in our faces today. Bless you, and please stay safe! (((HUGS))) Amy ❤

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