It is with a great bow of thanksgiving that I am writing today, in the last throes of packing my clothes and all the different articles it takes to be here in Delhi. Preparing to leave India for a few months and get ready for works in USA, my bags are again heavy. My heart is so full, and I have so much to share—things and feelings both.
I am not sure that any photos and descriptions can display the amount of affection, warmth, and kind connections that are constantly and consistently occurring during what has become a kind of healing exchange.
Some people in India seem to be using the words “healing work” when they speak about the different systems I have developed to connect with people and to train others to continue. I have not ever used that word for myself. Yet I can say that after people use these exercises, be they for general self care or for palliative cancer care, people feel a sense of relief, if only for a little while. A sense of calm abiding often arises through our work together.
When you think of it, that sense of relief we all long to feel brings a kind of hope. It enables us to walk through the unseen tunnels into unknown landscapes as we carry on with our lives. We are all doing this every day. So when someone opens a door for us, or smiles, or gets us to relax and inadvertently take a gentle breath, we have a laugh and let down for a bit.
If we learn to practice this now and then, we learn we can cultivate a life where, in the midst of the chaos, we can nurture our loving nature. And this brings a kind of relief and a quality of goodness.
Garden Chrysanthemums Just Blooming
Down a Dusty Lane, Laughter and Shanti
So imagine, I am walking down a gulley lane, dusty, often dirty, wires hanging everywhere, and then we enter into someone’s house. A room with two separate beds and all the clothes hanging in order on the walls.
The woman of this house has ovarian cancer. She lives with palliative care. Her husband is away working, and her sister and sister’s husband are visiting to help out, there with their two little children. And this patient also has two elementary school children of her own.
Zuleikha and CanSupport Counselor with Patient
When we walk in—the Counselor and Nurse and myself—she lets us know she has been practicing the Shanti or “peaceful” exercise. That is what patients who don’t even know each other have named this one particular exercise.
We have a beautiful session, and then I quietly ask the Counselor, “In what arrangement do they sleep?” And, as a tag question, ”and all in this room?” Usually I don’t ask questions about patients’ personal lives, but I know this woman from a few previous visits.
She nods yes, and explains that each mother sleeps with their two children in a bed, and the sister’s husband sleeps on the floor space in between the beds.
As we leave, they are all laughing and doing the Shanti exercise.
The Love Exchange
This is a look through a crack in the worlds. You help this to happen. And this is one tale, among thousands. I don’t want to forget any of these people, or the stories, yet of course the wash of the wave of love comes, and cleans the beach, and we walk on. They are the rosary beads, and our duty: to remember the Love exchange.
Kids at CanSupport Daycare
I haven’t written here about any of the women and girls’ groups, and the joy of jumping with the young women in the vocational trainings, who live in the small rooms with their families in villages surrounded by garbage and the narrow lanes. And I haven’t written about any of the other programs. I am sharing a piece of it—a moment—with you.
Young Women in a Hope Project Vocational Training Group Learning about Self Care