Paradise lost

"Innocence, once lost, can never be regained. Darkness, once gazed upon, can never be lost." J.  Milton 

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It's a starry night. I can't stop staring at the sky, there are millions of stars!
I'm amazed and confused. When is the last time I've seen anything like that?
We can't see many stars in the city...we wouldn't have time to look at them anyway.
I'm sitting next to the fire, listening to stories about the village and sipping Lao whisky...
They have a strong sense of community: they rely on each other and they are happy to give to someone in need as they know that tomorrow they might need help, too.
They don't celebrate birthdays, as many women still die in childbirth so it's not always a happy event.
They worship their ancestors and the shaman helps to make them happy.
All of this is so far from the world we live, yet I feel so much nostalgia for this simple life.
Their life are hard but they look very happy and serene,  much more than most of us...

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And there I am, in the middle of a jungle in Northern Laos, wondering how much have been lost on the way.
We have technology, hospitals, comfort, but everything comes with a price...
And looking at these people, I suspect the price was too high.
They envy us for our wealth, we envy them for their purity...we lost it a long time ago and we'll never have it back.
The pleasure of playing with a wood stick, the sense of solidarity, the joy of doing nothing and just enjoy what you have, are these things still possible for us?
I see men who work in the ricefields all day and still find time to play with their children.
I see families who have nothing inviting you into their house and share their meal with you.
I see people doing very modest jobs with dignity and pride.
I'm grateful to be here because at least I can ask myself these questions, and change my priorities.
To all the people(including me) who complain because their life is too much or not enough, just want to say:
you can be happy with what you have, right now.

I've seen it happening. And if they can, surely we can too.

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