Monday, November 26, 2012

Wandering Mystic Meditation From Nepal Part I

In every life, I believe there comes a time when we realize that countless incidents, decisions, and factors beyond our control brought us to an exact place. My journey to Nepal and starting the Org4Peace International Helpers began years before I was old enough to know what I wanted in life or even where Nepal was on a map. Like any place I have traveled to, Nepal called out to me but only when I was ready and only when I shut out all the irrelevant dissenting voices that often obstruct a person’s path, like a giant log in front of your car on a narrow one-lane highway in the middle of the night.

This call is not meant in a religious sense, though some may see it that way. It's more of a knowing I always get before I need to be somewhere to complete some part of my journey in this crazy life. This is my story of how I got there and maybe how anyone really gets anywhere they know they want to be. More importantly, this story is about the amazing, hard-working, resilient, and dedicated people I met and will know for the rest of my life, who make the work we do worthwhile even when obstacles seem insurmountable and funds are forever short.

Let's start at one of the many beginnings. Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to live a life that meant something. I’m pretty sure everyone has this thought at least once in their life or at least I hope they do. My meaning is derived from helping people or working for worthwhile causes that help the world in some way. Now, that doesn’t mean I didn’t take my time getting to that point or that I don’t still fall into self-defeating patterns. Despite this inclination to do good, I had to get a few things out of the way first, like fear, laziness, fear and more fear. Plus, I had to procrastinate a whole lot as well, which I’ve found out I’m exceptionally dedicated to and can be very good at.

I spent four years in Anthropology and Sociology, studying about complex cultures and even more complex social problems. Despite degrees often enhancing future employment opportunities, the one I chose was not the best for actual career options. I fell into somewhat interesting but unrewarding office jobs at various degrees of self-imposed peonism. During university, I did manage to spend some time volunteering at orphanages in Mexico. With this trip, my desire to live this kind of life was refueled, at least for the time being.

The dream to really do something always remained in the back of my eternally busy head. I just wasn't quite sure how or where to start. It would be years before I was able to turn pain and frustration into something good, because I was too afraid of the "what ifs" and of jeopardizing my delusions of stability and comfort, which usually ended up only feeling like stagnation and being trapped in a life I didn't really want but sort of "ended up" in. At least, so it seemed at the time.

I often thought and read about the people suffering in this world and I wanted to be one of the many who were trying to help instead of just sitting here wasting time. With every newspaper or book I read, I contemplated the questions: Why is there so much injustice and suffering in this world? and Why am I still wasting my time? I knew that if we all just did small things and made small changes we could together help others.

I have always been an overly sensitive person, I guess you could say. I often have and still do take many of the problems I see and read about almost personally. Even as a very sensitive 4-year-old, I remember crying for days while clutching the dead body of our beloved family hamster, after it was inappropriately suggested that it should just be thrown into our building’s incinerator. Since I knew this gaping fiery hole was where we threw our trash to be consumed by hell-fire, this seemed an unspeakable horror to a child educated in the Catholic tradition. What a thing to suggest for our lovely animal, I thought.

After tense and delicate negotiations, a proper burial was finally arranged and we all moved on, though the incident was a blueprint for how I would deal with many tragedies and injustices in my life. Not very well, it seems. At first, I thought my hamster could be revived, coaxed back to his usual fluffy animated self and then return to being stuffed into plastic tubes by my little hands and exercised on metal wheels in his transparent home. It took some time for me to realize on a basic level what death was and that it was forever.

This was one of the many moments in my life that sent me on a specific path, before I had any idea it would lead to over three hundred beautiful children in rural Nepal. 

Keep reading Sacred Ground Magazine for the rest of the story, filled with a woman's most intimate longings, global financial intrigue, and frighteningly-photogenic brown kids. Don't miss a single installment in this gripping saga of how one woman started a bitchin' charity and lived to tell the tale.

Joanna Bryniarska is a traveler and writer from Canada. She is also the founder of Org4Peace that seeks to improve the future for children in Nepal. You can check out their website at


  1. is a very interesting article like :) ....adriana

  2. I believe I'll enjoy this series! Nice to make your acquaintance, Joanna!

    1. Thanks William! I hope you enjoyed all three parts.
      We love our work in Nepal and are thrilled to be helping the children we work with there. Check out our website We're also on Facebook and twitter.