Sara Costello is the Director of International Partnerships and a SkillCorps Trip Leader for the Global Autism Project. She is currently traveling with SkillCorps Indonesia.

“This isn’t just “another day, another dollar.” It’s more like “another day, another miracle.” – Victoria Moran

One of the responsibilities of a SkillCorps team member is to record their experiences. While we love to see blog posts and social media exploding with the power of SkillCorps, the most important aspect of this record-keeping is to remember. This quote from Anais Nin may summarize it best: “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.”

What we find through the SkillCorps experience is the importance of purposeful living. Purposeful living can mean different things to different people – it can mean “cleaning a teapot with the same kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath” (Thich Naht Hahn) or deciding each moment to live on the brink of discomfort to stretch yourself and grow. In either case, reflection, introspection, and meditation are key.

“Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.” – Thich Naht Hahn

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I began a new tradition on this SkillCorps trip of emailing my morning meditations to the team before we met for breakfast. It has helped me to read, write, and then rewrite the positive affirmations that I would carry throughout the day.  And at the end of the day, I record my experiences and am able to see how that foundation for the day has resulted in purposeful living – in caring for each moment, nurturing progress with the staff of Hi5 Centre and fostering new experiences for a team of volunteers who have traveled halfway around the world in order to give of themselves.

One of our team members, Amy, watched this TedTalk on the flight from New York to Hong Kong and shared it with the team. It includes practices for happiness – daily exercise, gratitude journaling, recording positive experiences, meditation, and random acts of kindness. Our team has worked hard to live by these tenants for the last 10 days and I could not be more proud… not only to be part of a team acting as a catalyst for change in Jakarta, but to be a part of a team that cherishes positive practices, introspection, and journaling.

We’ve all seen ourselves come alive with time spent purposefully, outside of our comfort zone, and suspending disbelief. It’s a miracle we’re alive – and a miracle we get to live this life.

(Seriously, a miracle: We flew halfway around the world, raced pigeons, climbed an active volcano, held orangutans, saw Borobudur at sunrise, and have had the honor of working alongside the staff of Hi5 Centre – all in 10 days.)

I cannot encourage you enough to take time everyday to start the day right. Wake up early and stretch. Have your coffee. Sit with yourself. And care for yourself and others, in thought and in action.

Wishing you the best, and sending you our love from Indonesia.

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