I lost count of how many times I started writing these lines, and then I deleted them just to try to start again. How painful is it to write your way out of a cocktail of emotions? Very painful.
On the night of 24th February, my wife and I could not fall asleep. We knew that the situation in Ukraine was deteriorating. For more than a week, we were trying to convince my parents in law to move, even if just temporarily from Kyiv to Lviv, that they could be closer to the Polish border (just in case); fortunately, they departed the day before. Then at 5 am local time, the world changed.
Since Thursday last week, I have been under the impression of being continuously inside a long night that never ends. Shocked at first, then incredulous. My fear mixed with anger and tears.
As I was writing these words, I interrupted to talk on the phone a few times. Friends driving under heavy snow trying to cross borders, friends hiding in the basement to avoid shelling, friends who departed during the night afraid of being thrown in jail for expressing an opinion. Words fall short while this long night continues. I feel empty, desolated.
And I wonder what I can do?
One week passed, and one question kept coming back to my mind, just like an art form written by the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi.
What you seek is seeking you.
I find it very difficult to capture the full implication of such powerful words, but I guess that the things that call to you are calling you for a reason. They are part of our purposeful path in this lifetime.
If there was a moment we needed to be clear about our purpose in life, that moment is upon us. If you need to help, help. If you need to talk, talk. If you need to pray, pray. If you need to be quiet, be quiet. Make sure you understand your call and follow it.
In the summer of 2012, during the Euro Cup, I drove hundreds of kilometres in Ukraine following the Portuguese National Football Team (we almost made it to the final). We visit family and friends in Lviv, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhia and Donetsk. Somewhere along the road, we stopped the car, and one of our kids took a picture of my wife and me inside a field of sunflowers.
I have no doubts about what I seek, and hopefully, this article will help you do the same exercise.
As the war in Ukraine continues, our hearts and minds are with all our family and friends, so we made a couple of decisions:
– We will be quieter than usual with our regular communication through social media.
– We will cancel our program planned for the end of March and prioritize pro-bono mentoring for those directly or indirectly impacted by the war, individuals and organizations.
– Please get in touch with us through our website if you value having a walking mentoring session, and we will do our best to create conditions to help.
– We will resume our immersive programs at the end of April in the Camino de Santiago.
Until then, keep walking with us.
João Perre Viana
Partner of Walking Mentorship