Requiem for the United States

FRANÇAIS PAGE 2 : Requiem pour les États-Unis

6 min read

We can all agree that 2020 is a crazy year. No matter where you look at or where you look from. Many lives have been changed this year.

It is one of the reasons I decided to open this website. I did it right before the pandemic and I already wanted to uplift you by showing you what the world has to offer.

In my last article, I said this week’s article would be about our series on the mind-body connection and specifically about our scientifically proven bodies’ healing powers.

Considering some recent events, I decided to change my plans and to write an article I had on my heart to write for many months now. 

Today, we will take an imaginary plane together to one of the best trips I had in my life. This trip happened on July 2019 where life led me to the state of Oregon, United States of America.

This will be our way of sending love, hope and rainy vibrations to this country, that is suffering from severe wildfires as you read this. As a matter of fact, 3 states in the country are currently burning

A requiem is originally a religious tradition, we’re taking it today to remember all the lives and lands that have been destroyed. All the pictures you’ll see in this article come from my trip to the States. Some of you might even recognise some of them from previous article of mine.

4 million acres have been burnt according to the New York Times that entitled their article « ‘It Is Apocalyptic’: Fear and Destruction Grip the West Coast ». For further informations, I invite you to look at their article or find the information available online as this article will only be centered on positive facts.

Deschutes National Forest, Oregon, United States

Let’s remember today what makes Oregon a magical state

Wishes

The story begins 25 years ago when I first dreamt about travelling to the states. I always had this idea that it would be an amazing country to visit and that is welcoming anyone who step foot in their home.

Since then, I grasped every opportunities I could find for knowing more about the states, seeing if this country would be a good fit for me and asking all the questions I could think of.

Every time someone told me about the States, believe me when I say that my eyes were glowing in hope for a trip that would send me to this dream world. 

« You won’t believe what I just heard about the States » would I say to a friend on the phone after having one of those amazing conversations. They were enough for me to believe that a trip to the states would change my entire view of the world.

I had to wait but I didn’t know how much I was right by then.

Of course, some people would say to me that it is a great country but that it is not original to go there and certainly not safe since « everyone has gun there ».

I don’t like prejudices. I didn’t then and I don’t like them now.

I actually believe that those people are the ones that would benefit the most from travelling. Especially since they don’t like opening their eyes and mind.

The Cove Palisades State Park, Oregon, United States

The chance of a lifetime

For 25 years I wanted to visit the United States of America. I never stopped dreaming about it. I never stopped hoping that one day I would have the perfect opportunity to go there, especially since I never found the money to go visit the country properly.

One day, as I was working in a middle school, I received a call from a friend of mine. I remember that day perfectly. She called me thrice in a row and even if I was at work I took time to understand why.

« Oh good, you called me back Ben! You won’t believe what I just found for you!! You can have the opportunity to travel to the States, all expenses paid ; your only job will be to take care of 16 teenagers during their flight! During your stay, you will be hosted by a host family and the children will too, you’ll just have to call them twice a week to be sure everyone is doing well, otherwise you’ll be free to enjoy your stay! »

1 week later, I was flying to Portland, Oregon for the first time in my life.

Greenland seen from the plane

Entering the dream

When I say that I have been wanting to go to the States for a long time, I mean it. So much that I decided to learn English by myself – I explain how in my article Tips for Learning a Language – to know more about the American culture, I even organised many Thanksgiving dinner at home and another one at church with 110 people!

When I stepped foot in the States, even when I entered the plane, I couldn’t realise that I was actually flying there.

Indeed I was, and that is when I understood fully what “all things come to the ones who wait” mean.

Because I believed it for so many years and because I never stopped believing in it, I was finally able to enter my dream. Furthermore, I didn’t have the money to go but life just decided to answer my prayer.

Here I was, landing in Portland and spending one night in a hotel with 16 teenagers that were looking up to me for guidance.

On our way to our host families, we were all amazed by the landscapes we had in front of us. The 3 hour bus ride felt like minutes. That time allowed us all to realise exactly where we were.

Somewhere on the way from Portland to Bend, Oregon

I realised the chance I had to be there. And I wasn’t finished to be grateful.

Living life as an American

What they say is true. Americans aren’t that easy to be close to. But trust me, once they open their door to you, they also open their heart.

Waiting for us with balloons and welcoming signs with our name on it, it was heartwarming to see them welcoming us like this and jumping on the arms of some students of mine made me realised that some must have been coming for several years in the same family.

Imagining all those people having to stay indoor right now because of all the smoke due to the fires just breaks my heart.

My dream didn’t stop there! It was only the beginning. I couldn’t have wished for a better family than the one I had. I will never be able to thank them enough for the way they welcomed me and how they cared for me. They were a perfect fit, vegan, loving yoga and meditation, out of the box and open to new adventures. They opened their home, their heart and family to me. I can now say without a doubt that I am part of their family and that they are part of mine.

They knew I loved going to festivals and organised a visit to a near festival the day after my arrival. That’s when I realised once more that what they say is true. Americans are “full of themselves” (in a good way), you come as you are and you’re free to enjoy your time wherever you are.

Festival in Bend, Oregon

And since the life there is quite similar from the life in the movies. (in some extent), it’s not that much difficult to  acclimate yourself to the country. 

Visiting Central Oregon

When I was living in Paris, I loved talking to every American I could meet. My favourite question to ask them was “What do you think about Paris?” They often answer “We loved it! But everything is tiny here, the streets, the roads, the hotel rooms!…”

Now I understand why they said that. Everything in the States is big. The way they fully embrace who they are, their view of the world, their trust in you when they adopted you, their shops, their roads, their landscapes, the dangers they can face (we won’t be face to face with a puma or a bear if we walk by ourselves in the countryside in France but they will if they do it in Oregon or California).

Smith Rock State Park

When you’re an European, you’re not really aware of all that the United States can offer you. You mostly know of New York City, California, Las Vegas, Miami and let’s say, Texas. Oregon wasn’t on my list because I didn’t really know about it. I’m grateful that life led me there.

Central Oregon is the perfect place for discovering the countryside. Be sure to have about a month to visit everything.

You can be driving from a warm place in Bend where you can Kayak to a cold place next the 3 sisters and maybe hike on them since they are volcanos.

When you take the road, you’re able to visit many things and encounter many different beautiful places.

Such as water falls.

McKenzie Bridge, Central Oregon, United States

Beautiful people.

Drake Park, Bend, Oregon, United States

And amazing events.

Outdoor event in Smith Rocks, Oregon

This one was actually a classical music concert, Hunter Noack had this amazing idea to bring people outdoor and play them music. I like classical music since this day and thanks to him. It was a precious moment. And I thank you again my family from another country for giving me the opportunity to attend.

I advise anyone who’d love to visit the courntyside, anyone who wants to get off the beaten track or want to be breathless by what they see to try and visit Oregon. If you like hiking and wandering in nature as well as visiting some beautiful cities, this is the place to be.

And again, people will be warmly welcoming you.

Somewhere in Central Oregon

Of course not everyone will be welcoming. I remember taking this picture telling myself « even this dog can see I’m French » because you can see some old republicans (mostly) not being really happy you’re stepping foot in their little town. But apart from that, you have so much to discover, share and receive that it is truly a part of this country I’m going to visit again soon.

And you can be sure of that, United States of America, once this crazy pandemic is over, once you have recovered from the worst fire season you have faced and once you have reopened your frontiers ; I’ll be ready to come back and live as an American once again.

I’d like to thank everyone who welcomed me there again. All those memories – be sure that I didn’t have enough space to share them all with you here – will stay in my heart forever, you changed my view of the world.

Thanks to everyone of you, I finally decided to step into my power and to be an example for everyone around me and for myself as well. They will recognize themselves when they read this. Thank you for your trust, love and kindness.

I hope this article gave you a clear idea of what Oregon has to offer. Let me know in the comments if you already have visited or what you would do there if you go.

Next week we will continue our series on the mind-body connection so be sure to stay tune and if you haven’t alreay, register to the newsletter at the end of the article to receive all the news from the website on your mailbox.

Until then,

« Once a year, go some place you’ve never been before »

Dalaï – Lama

Want to keep reading?

Here’s my article about my visit to Amsterdam, Netherlands : I AMsterdam

You also have my articles about a travel documentary project of mine, the last one is On Being Childlike

And if you want to receive all the latest news about the website, don’t hesitate to fill in your email address below :

Traitement en cours…
Terminé ! Vous figurez dans la liste.

You can follow me below @ Ben Gananda

Tips For Learning a Language

FRANÇAIS PAGE 2 : Conseils Pour Apprendre une Langue

3 min read

Learning a language takes time, you have to learn everything by heart so you don’t forget anything, it’s not fun …

FALSE

Learning a language might be a great journey you can enjoy. It can be fun and you don’t necessarily have to spend all your time learning everything by heart.

In fact, if you know how to do it, you can learn without even feeling like you are.

I actually learnt English by myself. Well, I had all the teachings from school obviously but that wasn’t enough for me to really speak the language. Today, I have the CAE -Cambridge Advanced English – which says that I have a C1 English level. 

I didn’t live in an English country, I didn’t take spare classes to learn it, my accent is not the best one and I can sometimes do some mistakes I know. But still, I’ve been writing articles in English AND French since January now and I think you guys can get what I write. 

I really appreciate all who’ve been liking and commenting on my articles. Thank you, really much.

I learnt English simply because I chose to. I come from a Spanish family and I used to speak English with my grandmother – may she rests in peace – so maybe I was used to being comfortable with languages.

When I was living in Paris, I decided that I needed to learn English in order that I would be able to travel easily. And since I didn’t have enough money to go live in an English country, I decided to bring English to me. I started to watch movies in English, turn the language of my phone and computer into English, tried to read English books and so on… I even tried to think in English.

Imagine when I had my first dream in English, it was an apotheosis for me!

And today I try to give that taste of freedom to anyone I can. Because learning English opened many doors for me. Truly. Now I can learn about a subject in two – sometimes three with Spanish – different languages and this is really helping me to go deeper into my researches and I can write even better articles.

You might not understand the necessity you have to learn a new language, but it can absolutely help you grow stronger in your business as well as in your personal life.

Knowing different languages is like having multiple souls. Teaching languages is actually one of my specialities.

I also had the chance to spend time with English speaking people in Paris, which helped so much in my learning. For them, for my grandmother, for the time I spent learning … thank you.

Today I’d like to give you a little tip if you want to learn a language. If you really want to, it is something you won’t be spending a lot of time on. You just need to have a directory with you at all times.

It’s an easy tip, that everyone can do and that can teach you a lot of words, that you will remember just by yourself, for the price of a directory – 2$.

Throughout your day, make the effort to listen to podcasts, radio shows, news, read articles or books or even watch movies or tv programs in the language you want to learn. You might start with adding the subtitles of your language, then you will want to replace them by the language you’re learning – which will help you see the words you hear – and then you won’t even need to have subtitles.

By doing that, you will learn new words everyday and as soon as you learn a new word, write it in your directory, choose a colour for your language and another one for the new one. This might be blue for English and red for French for example if you want to learn French.

You will see that the more you do that, the more you will learn words and the more you will want to learn. It’s fun and you will want to continue working on that. Many times, our brain doesn’t have to be forced to do something, if we do it just out of fun, we remember it and that makes us want to learn even more.

For those who follow me, please excuse me for not being here for the past week, I had some issues to work on. Fortunately they are solved now and I can write again. 

As a matter of fact, I will be coming with new ideas and the website will soon be updated to offer you a lot more tools!

To be continued …

In the meantime, be well and enjoy being alive.

Love,

Ben

Want to keep reading ?

Are you interested by meditation ? Then my article Meditation Series : Mantras with Carrie Grossman might be a good fit for you.

Or you might be wanting to travel and not be able to. Try my article about my visit to the Netherlands, I AMSTERDAM.

If you want to receive all the latest news in your mailbox it’s down here :

Traitement en cours…
Terminé ! Vous figurez dans la liste.

You can follow me below @ Ben Gananda

Docu-project : The Internal Change Happening Within and Outside of Us

FRANÇAIS PAGE 2

4 minutes reading

Today’s article is about a project I’ve had for some time now and that holds ideas coming from this website. Actually, beginning to write here gave me the tools to articulate this film project I’m going to talk to you about.

I’ve been saying that we all have to be an example for the people we love and that are able to learn from us. So what better way to try to be one myself and work upon what I can offer to this world.

We will have people looking upon us, wether we want it or not. It’s like the desire you had to look upon that someone who gave (is giving) you strength, someone else is going to have that desire about you. Even if you don’t believe it yet, there will be some time where a childlike/curious person will want to learn what you can teach.

I believe that we can do anything, just by having faith in it.

We might have not all the tools to get to where we want to go. But we can work our own way into making it happen.

Sometimes you just have to offer your skills in order to help others and see your dreams come true. And that is exactly what I’m doing with this project.

The film I’m about to tell you about is supported by globedreamers.com . GlobeDreamers is a communication and crowdfunding platform for committed, humanitarian, environmental, professional, athletic or even artistic travel projects.

The work I’ve been doing here is supported by one main idea : report every positive thing happening in our world, show what lies beneath the everyday routine.

No wonder why I subtitled my website : « discovering everyday what life has to offer ».

So I created this film-doc project from Australia to India designed to criticize our consumer society. And more widely, to open our horizons.

Title of the project

The Internal Change Happening Within and Outside of Us

Countries crossed

Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodge, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka.

Goals of the trip

The goal of this project is to make a movie which will criticize our consumer society by comparing it to different cultures, more conscious and sustainable for our planet and others.

Gradually and during the filming of the movie, I will enter other people’s everyday routine. Consider their habits and concentrate on things that destroy our planet as we know it but also our bodies.

Thanks to this movie we will show how, simply by deciding to stop being guided by society and by changing gradually our habits, one can be affected by the problems of the world less and less. One person at a time, it I possible to go toward a sustainable future.

Everything we can note today comes from an inward imbalance of everyone of us composing the planet.

My wish is that I would open the eyes of a large number of individuals, show them that it is possible to go towards a healthier and simpler life philosophy, one which goes back to the basics for us as individuals and as a collectivity.

A way of living available for everyone who is curious enough to see it.

Reasons and motivations

By dint of travel, I came across many people who taught me so much. Especially about new ways of seeing life, of taking care of us, accept ourselves and apprehend the world around us.

I start from a simple observation : we are in an over-consumer society. Everybody knows this already but we don’t realise all the impacts our everyday choices can have yet. It’s one thing to know it, the next step is taking action upon it. If one is curious enough, one finds an alternative solution to every bad habit one can have. Plastic can be replaced, meat as well (see my article Why I Stopped Eating Corpses), we can lessen waste, our objects and everyday clothes can be used more than once and so on … In short, it is possible to live more serenely and more simply, by being content with what we have.

The movie hopes to impact its audience, just by showing them that it is possible, because other people are doing it. It is possible for every one of us to be that example that will encourage the people we care for to take a step forward to a healthier life.

The countries that have been chosen are expanding and swing from « modern living » to their existing culture. In some ways, their megalopolis take us as an example and their poorer towns keep the veracity of previous generations.

Asia is the cradle of the oldest religions. But beyond those religions, we can find a life philosophy, a serenity brought by habits we don’t own yet. Some of our populations slowly awaken. But if we want a real change, that same part of the population should share its discoveries, show how this new habits are beneficial. Thanks to meditation and yoga for instance, it is possible to do good to oneself and therefore to do good to one body and spirit. And consequently, to do good to the world around us.

How to realise this project

If the movie is to show new ways of living consciously, travel choices will also have to be considered. We will start in Australia through India by taking the plane only to leave Europe, to have a limited carbon footprint. We will go through 2 continents and 13 countries during 1 year. At the rate of one month per country, we will develop a different project in each country to collect as many images as possible.

In each country visited we will engage in an associative and volunteer way. We will visit big cities to witness this consumer society and poorer towns for their wisdom. We will focus on those smaller towns, which at first glance might not be so attractive but that can teach a lot more than touristic places. We will visit monasteries and learn about customs and traditions so that we would open our horizons and always go forward into more understanding of our world and ourselves.

We will meet people to be as precise as possible in the restitution. Thanks to a team of experts, the help of a camera, a microphone and a computer and in a documentary format, we will explore the customs of this world to accompany our personal and collective evolution.

Problem is, the miracle solution doesn’t exist, everything takes time. I would therefore like, with this project, to show to the public how much it is so necessary to start to take care of ourselves, bit by bit.

In the world, we’ll see that in the documentary, we’re all inter-connected. More and more scientists say this now, we live in a magnetic field that connects us all. So if I’m well, my neighbor will be well. And in psychology also but no need to study to know it. If I smile, my neighbor will want to smile as well. I can make a baby cry if I show him a mad face. We have to be our own example, and by being this example to show the way to the people in need.

By trusting this project, you’ll be a part of an active change operating in the world. An awakening necessary to the growth of all.

Together, we’ll go through the richest cities of the world, Paris, Sydney, Melbourne, Bali, Jakarta, Singapore, Phnom Penh, Bangkok, Chitagong, Dhaka, New Delhi, soaking up humbler towns on our way. We’ll see that simplicity does help happiness to come through.

No one is supposed to go through life alone. So let’s walk together to an even brighter future.

If you’re interested in my project and you want to support it, I invite you to click on the picture below to be redirected to GlobeDreamers website. You will be able to choose between different counterparts depending on how much you can offer. For instance, you can choose to receive a calendar with photos of my trip, I will film myself yelling your name on top of a mountain or even have your name on the film credits and many more.

Of course I know that not everyone will be able to help and take part of this project but I call upon your help for sharing it, whether by sharing this article on your favourite social media or by sharing the page of my project. Click on the the picture below to be redirected to my project on Globedreamers website :

undefined

Here’s the direct link : https://globedreamers.com/crowdfunding/voyage/6717-le-changement-interieur-qui-sopere-en-nous-et-tout-autour-de-nous

The English version of the project is available on globedreamers website.

Thank you for taking time to read about my project.

Be sure to stay tuned, as my next article about yoga is coming out soon !

I wish you all well in these weird times. Remember that you can choose to be positive, in any case, giving into fear will only make the problem grow stronger. What about using that time home to work on your last project you had on your mind ?

Love

Ben

Want to read more ?

Here’s my article about meditation : Stop running and listen to yourself

Or another one about Coronavirus : New vision of the famous Covid-19

And if you want to receive all the latest news about the website, don’t hesitate to fill in your email address below.

Traitement en cours…
Terminé ! Vous figurez dans la liste.

You can follow me @ Ben Gananda

I AMSTERDAM

FRANÇAIS PAGE 2

4 minutes reading

Today I’m writing from Amsterdam, Netherlands. The end of another lucky travel for me. Quick but so much fun. Days felt like minutes here! There’s always something going on at any hour of the day. It’s a city like no other where you feel transported in the past at the same time as pushed forward into the future.

For me, travels forge intelligence. By seeing what others do, one is more able to make your choices and therefore to see if your country does things according to your own value. In short, to see who’s right. But not right according to something the society might be saying but right according to your own view of the system you’re in. We’re all in a system, we live in our little worlds connected to one another.

We have to be thankful for the place we live in but then again, as we say : “Grass is always greener next door”. We will always want to see what others do and that curiosity is actually what makes us grow. Always wanting to learn new things, never do the same thing in a row. Curiosity can be a good thing if you try to play with it.

We usually hear that we should all go to a new place, meet new people, do something new and so on every months. And by being always curious, you certainly can be thankful for what you have, it’s more easier. Sometimes you have to make it your own way to make it work and that’s exactly how it’s going to work. If one is curious enough, one dare listen to its heart and let it drive.

It’s crazy to see how things are different here. I’m vegetarian and being vegetarian in France can be quite difficult, sometimes I even have to take the food I can’t eat off my meals. In the last countries I went to, things were so easy for a vegan, just like in Amsterdam, there’s a vegan option in almost every place you go. More convenient when you’re not necessarily eating with vegan people.

Furthermore, I always wondered why we hear that there is too much plastic in our oceans and then see a single cookie packed in another box full of other single packed cookies. That’s just an example but it’s crazy sometimes. Even in our organic main shops in France we see those things. They tell you to eat well for the planet and then make you buy a little more plastic to let spread into the oceans. In other countries, here in the Netherlands for instance, you can find the first plastic free shop! Which is saying a lot. You’re advised not to buy plastic and always have another option, wood, cardboard, reusable plastic etc… Even on our way here, we had coffees served with compostable cups in the flight! I wonder why we don’t choose the right solution when there is one, we know there’s plenty of things available if we really want to change things quickly. That is actually an idea I’m going to develop in a few articles, how we should always be aware of what comes into our bodies.

You can find a lot of structures built for people working on their own, where they can come and work in an open space with other workers. A good way to share idea and connect, therefore, expand. It feels like everything is thought differently here.

The mood isn’t the same, as many of you know, you can smell weed anywhere so it might explain what I’m saying…

Joke aside, the city is really quiet, everyone drives a bike or take the public transports so you can’t hear a multitude of cars. But I have to say it, there’s A LOT of bikes! Too many, I heard there’s more bikes than there is Amsterdamers. I sure know there’s too many, I almost got hit by a bike and a tram ! But I think part of this respectful mood comes from the fact that you can have a €90 fine if you drink alcohol outside and a €140 one in case of littering, another good I idea if you ask me.

Everyone is welcomed, everyone cohabit. Even though we hear about all the crazy things that happen here, they also have a lot religious people from very different background. In front of Centraal Station, one of the buildings that welcomes you has « JESUS LOVES YOU » written on its wall. You might even find an Hindu temple near you.

And also guys, it might come has a shock for you but you can’t actually smoke weed in Amsterdam. Well at least it’s not legal to, it’s just tolerated. It’s crazy to see what happens when the people decide and not the government. Coffee shops have a right to sell coffee yes but for the rest, “it’s not declared”. The people are respectful and mature enough to decide on their own so that the government make it « tolerated ». It might actually be declared and everyone gets a little something. And that’s why this society works, at the beginning the city was built for its canals, anyone could pass by to sell things in the commercial port. So I’m here in a place where everyone gets its part on the deal ; as long as everyone is happy, things go well. 

Nevertheless, everything here is expensive. Coffee is €3, a metro ticket is €3,20 (in Paris it’s still €1,90 to compare). But if you’re curious enough to look online why so, you find that the Netherlands have one of Europe’s highest minimum wage. That should explain why so many people want to come live here.

I wouldn’t though.. cause this place is too cold for me. I stayed for 5 days and I didn’t see ANY sun – maybe a little bit of blue sky – and I am one of those who need to actually feel the sun. Maybe going there on the winter wasn’t helpful I know. What could make me live here though is that this city is cosmopolitan. I met wonderful Brazileros and Australian people for instance. 

And it’s also a romantic place where you can wonder on a cruise on the canals, loose yourself in the narrow streets, even loose yourself in the past by going in an old movie place or in the museums (Anne Frank’s home or Van Gogh museum to cite only two). Maybe you want to watch a play in the City Theatre or enjoy a nice pubcrawl … Almost too many choices don’t you think?

I’m happy that I was able to visit this wonderful city. Even though I wouldn’t go everywhere in the city with my children – no need to explain what is happening in Amsterdam Red Quarter – we can find many things to take as an example, a lot of them are working there and some of the ideas are worth considering.

If you’re looking for a quiet place where you can enjoy yourself, have a good time, discover the culture and come back home rested, then Amsterdam is definitely a place you should visit, you’ll be more than welcomed almost everywhere… But don’t forget to have some cash on you, in case you need to go to the toilets, you might have to spend €0,50 every time. And they won’t let you even if you show them you don’t have any cash left trust me! But it’s ok, you’ll find an ATM hidden in the next corner shop, you will spend that money.

Please share / like / comment. Your help in the launching of this website will be much appreciated.

Stay tuned.

More soon.

Love

Ben

My newsletter is all about new ways of seeing life

Be sure to subscribe below to receive each weeks all the latest news

Traitement en cours…
Terminé ! Vous figurez dans la liste.