Last Friday evening my husband asked “do you want to watch an episode of Anthony Bourdin’s Parts Unknown about Iran?” Sure, I was curious, and besides it was a show he loved: great food ideas and exploring new places.

Here’s ” the episode ” (40 minutes). Whatever ideas you had about Iran, I suspect they may change after watching this. I’m very aware of how our media is slanted towards its own agenda, playing heavily on our fears, but I had no idea how much of a picture has been painted of a people I knew relatively NOTHING about.

What I couldn’t see was the total complexity here, extremes of joy, and beauty, mixed with sadness, and control. Their culture, traditions, and history they’ve had to face.

I look at what we deal with in our own country, and that old cliche hits home. We are so much more similar than different facing our own struggles, and craziness.

During the episode, Anthony spoke candidly with American Washington Post Correspondent, Jason Rezaian, and his wife about living in Iran the past 5 years. During filming of the episode, Jason was arrested, and by time it aired, he was still a prisoner after 10 weeks. My heart sank.

I was so compelled to find out what happened to him, I quickly googled him, desperate to know if he’d been released. I found myself staring at a photo of him in this article beside Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon.com & owner of Washington Post), whose private jet he’d just flown home in.

The article was published THE EXACT SAME DAY I’d watched the episode! Jason had been in prison for a year and a half. It felt like a miracle seeing his relieved grin.

I’m often asked ‘what is a synchronicity’? For me, when I’m tapped into something meaningful that captures my attention. I’ll often see 11:11 pop up somewhere or a version of “11” like 3:11, seeing exit 111 on the highway, or this week having snapshot of our Charity Gala appearing on page 11 in our local newspaper.

I started seeing 11:11 as a child; I suspect it was around the same time I had fallen at age 6 about 20 feet over a cliff on a bicycle, and lay unconscious beside a tree that happened to be growing from the side. It saved me dropping another 40 feet to rocks below.

Soon after watching this tv episode, I glanced over to see 11:11 on the clock. I have NEVER seen it if I’m ever trying to look for it. It’s a sign for me that ‘this is not your only reality’ – this physical world that you see. There’s something bigger going on.

A force that exists wanting me to pay attention because I’m noticing it at all. A synchronicity I can’t ignore. It’s asking me to slow down, and ask myself what’s real, and what’s an illusion?

Who is the real enemy? Ourselves – when we do not choose to open our eyes. Where we don’t know where we’re completely blinded. When we simply fail to see the bigger picture.

Having just written about being willing to see “both sides now” in my last post…I know I’m being shown just how true that is. How anything negative I’d heard or seen in the media about Iran or read about had given me a very limiting picture of how I assumed it must be living there.

I had noticed how friendly, and genuinely happy anyone I’d met from Iran seemed to be. I assumed it was because they left their country! Mostly recently, it was my new dentist. She was fun, kind, and laughed a lot.  I certainly have a deeper respect for their culture, traditions, and history that makes them who they are.

Yes, there are some completely insane things that go on, arrests without a fair trial, control over certain behaviours that don’t make sense, punishment that seems completely unreasonable (putting it mildly) – ways that I hope will eventually change for the better, which applies to our side of the world too.

I see the Iranian people in their own country with wider eyes now. I hope you will too.

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