Monday, September 7, 2009

Three Cups of Tea

Some stories can truly inspire us to realize that we can make a positive impact in our lives and in the lives of others. Greg Mortenson's story of building schools for the children in rural Pakistan touches the heart of all who learn of his dedication to this cause.

After spending 2 months weathering terrible storms at high altitude and a failed attempt to reach the summit of K2 in northern Pakistan, Greg was descending back to civilization when he became disorientated and separated from his friends. Suffering from dehydration, altitude sickness and overall weakness, he stumbled into an impoverished remote village where he was taken in by a local family and slowly nursed back to health.

While living in the village he was shown the local "school" which consisted of the children sitting on an patch of land scratching their lessons in the dirt with sticks. The people were too poor to afford anything better and Greg was determined to help build a real school for the children.

Returning to the United States Greg sent out hundreds of letters to celebrities and other potential donors but received only a one-hundred dollar donation. Greg persevered by giving talks with slide shows until he finally found one donor who gave him enough money to build one school.

When he went back with the money to build the school, the villagers told Greg they needed a bridge first because the only access to the village was across a rickety, unsafe bridge high above a swift river. So Greg had to restructure his plans and work on the bridge first.

After many setbacks Greg was able to complete the bridge and eventually the school. He has documented his journey in his book "Three Cups of Tea". The villagers had a saying, "The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family, and for our family we are prepared to do anything, even die."

If you practice yoga with dedication, your practice will nourish your mind, body and spirit in ways that will keep growing and expanding beyond what you would first imagine. Greg's one school has grown to 80 schools over the past 15 years as Greg remained dedicated to his cause. As you become more centered and focused in your yoga practice, you become stronger and your body becomes wiser. Greg's goal was to give the children of Pakistan more options than just being recruited by the local militia. Education gave them more opportunities. Greg's mission was to promote peace with books.

Yoga helps to educate our bodies and minds to breathe more fully, to feel and develop proper alignment and to build and tone our muscles evenly. It brings us more into balance. With balance we are able to move more efficiently and conserve energy for the things that are important and meaningful in our lives. Yoga gives us the opportunity to connect more fully with our inner wisdom. Connecting with our inner wisdom leads to inner peace. Inner peace communicated through our words and actions contributes to a peaceful energy that takes on a life of its own. Each of us in this way can have a positive impact, big or small, that will grow and touch the lives of others.

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