April 9′ 2020
I just sprung back in from a daily walk in the neighborhood of FaceBook, where I live, with an ironic mix of those who make it “big” and those who break to barely find their way everyday. You could call this the Eastside where I hope that innovation would meet revolution. It already has in many ways. But in other ways I can’t deny feeling a deep sense of concern for the world that’s still longing to overcome loneliness and a genuine sense of connectedness beyond the obvious financial crunch that’s felt to the bone, due to a housing market leaving some of us numb to survival.
It was a partially sunny day. I had a mask & sunglasses on, showered, clean clothes on and a single packet of disinfectant wipes in my pocket and took off on the said walk. Oh did I say I had earphones and my phone with me as well. Well I did. I don’t really remember a time that I walked without those very much anymore. They aren’t wireless or trendy but I like them that way.
It is my general practice to be present in nature. I love the sky! It gives me a glimpse of what is at hand for me at any given moment. To me clear skies indicate clarity, scattered clouds here and there floating – is somewhat my thought process for the day. Heavy & dark clouds – a day to stay put being still – writing, meditating, reading, eating and extra sleep. Some days I see a beautifully presented direction in clouds confirming my energy connecting to the West longing or the East for my family; sometimes even questioning my belonging.
Then there is the sunrise & sunset, the sun & the moon, shades of the sky, the stars and galaxy are all another whole lengthy essay to write about; as it may arise to do so.
On this particular day quite recently, I walked towards a purely white large cloud with clear blue atmosphere above it. Something I’ve never ever seen quite like that while standing on the ground and looking ahead towards the sky. It was breathtaking to say it mildly. I wanted to climb on it, walk on it and even eat some of it like marshmallows and sleep and dream and sing and dance and be joyful. Eckhart Tolle describes the sky in this way in simple yet profound words. “You are the sky. The clouds are what happens, what comes and goes.”
I’ll be there…
The Jackson 5 Motown – I was listening to the song while walking. As I listened I thought to myself, yes that’s exactly what I want the world to know about me. I wasn’t thinking romantically but truly for all of us. We know how much this song have touched our hearts so deeply through the Jacksons and Mariah Carey. A song that seems to have gone real deep in to a human heart. I know some of us may ask why or perhaps even resonate with the song to a phase that we maybe going through or apply to our life experiences.
I’ve been watching from what I entrust to be an awakening in the last couple of years, looking ever more deeply inward to understand what I am here for. As much as I feel I know what my purpose is, I feel the impact that I am making seems to be in scarcity; compared to the great desire in my heart to do what I am here to do in its’ fullest impactful glory.
But here’s the reality of that notion – I can’t do it alone. I want you and you and you and you. All of you! That’s where we are today aren’t we? Will many in society ever realize the truth about Generosity. What it truly may mean. I think we can be hopeful now more than ever in our lifetime.
I’ve been pondering on this question for the first time when I arrived in a place, that I’ve had to ask for help. I recognized how terribly uncomfortable this made me feel. Before then for a very long time being the people pleaser that I was, I had a difficult time ever to say no. But now, no happens to be one of the best words in my vocabulary. Most times it comes so naturally to do something for others without expecting anything in return. However, when I came to a place where my basic needs weren’t even met, I would think someone would have asked me how they could help. Of course I have a handful of people literally, who has taken the time to ask or even understand reciprocal impact of such values. Without them I wouldn’t even get this far. They probably know who they are because I’ve told them how grateful I am for them.
Delving even deeper, I came to ask myself why this helping others is so important to me. It came down to what I trust that I now understand the most, having had been an advocate for children and peace for 28 plus years. It is simply – Love.
Growing up at age three I lived with my grandmother. In a household of four different families living under the same roof. My grandmother’s home was large. She was a well recognized seamstress who made quite exquisite children’s clothes. I went to a nursery semi Montessori school in a prestigious Buddhist private school, where my grandma’s craft was also recognized. Most days I was bored after school because I had no toys or anyone to play with. I was rarely allowed to play with the neighbors as my grandpa would call for me, with more of an angry yell to be back before 5 or 6PM as I recall; to light the oil lamp for worship. I remember being so sad and feeling a heaviness a child can feel because I wanted to play cricket with the boys and ride my bicycle instead. Play was not something my grandfather allowed much of.
I loved my school. My friends and teachers adored me and I had no resistance. My grandmother was my friend. We’d listen to the radio at 6PM for our favorite Children’s program in English language. Her proficiency in English rubbed off on me like smooth sailing. I could read the news paper fluently by age 5. I was not necessarily able to comprehend any of it but I read out loud well. I would listen to her many phone conversations in English with her “posh” clients. She loved listening to Jim Reeves and our favorite song then by Patti Page – “How much is that doggie in the window.” I used to teach this song to the children whom I taught for a long time. In that, how interesting it is that I ended up in California! Que Sera Sera is another song that I recall most fondly. A true testament to how I now live in perhaps – awareness of knowing that it will be, what it will be.
Also from what I now understand deeply through extensive years of work with children is – the impact of what we adults are to children. The most profound experience that was bestowed upon me through being an educator was the experience of giving. Growing up in a country that was mostly Buddhists we were giving “Dana” by practice each and everyday to each other, whether it may be to the monks who came to our doorsteps or to the “beggars” higganno as we called the poor, then. We shared food with our neighbors, respected and even worshipped our parents, elders & teachers. We were truly there for our friends. We had our friends’ “back” and would literally do anything for them. Growing up I’d say I was not too close to my immediate family but I was closer to my paternal relatives. However, I was also very close to a couple of my maternal uncles who were close in age, to me. They were like older brothers to me. I prefer to write about the love of family another time. It’s complicated. I smile because I’ve found peace.
As I mentioned previously, my grandmother being somewhat well known, I sometimes had a very few special privileges. One of them were to go on really cool field trips even when it was not quite my turn yet at 5 years of age. In no way am I recommending this now or think that it is virtuous. However, I had no understanding then and I am not sad for it. It was only for noble causes. I joined on trips to the orphanages of children with disabilities to serve them food or to just to be an observer as a 5-6 year old. To this day I have not forgotten the impact it had on me.
One trip that I vividly recall is one to an orphanage. Seeing a curly haired little girl who was paralyzed from waist down. Her lean legs were dangling lifelessly, when an adult caregiver carried her and sat her down at a long table, where about 30 children sat down to eat. It is also in my vivid memory that day, of a teenager who was with mental “retardation” which persons with mental disabilities used to be called, was moaning in pain. What I witnessed was, an attendant literally kicking and dragging the young girl across the room in to the toilet. Tears met me every time I remembered these two specific incidences that I witnessed as a young child myself. As an adult I still felt a heaviness in my heart and wondered how they were, until just a few years ago. Much to my disappointment such harsh conditions seems to exist in my birth place even during my recent visits. So are they evident behind closed doors all around the world. Let us accept this truth too.
The sadness in the eyes of children are forever deeply embedded in me, to bring my purpose to life. The mind blowing truth of it all is that this sadness exists in the children of the most privileged society of high achievers in the same way. This is the sadness that comes from over indulgence which is the opposite of poverty and/or neglect. It is my observation that it derives from the pure lack of experience, knowledge, understanding and unwillingness to surrendering to not knowing about raising children. None of them are the real dilemma here. It is our ego that stands in the way of asking for help for the inquiry of truth without multiple layers of sugar coating. Taste the coffee first before adding milk and sugar to it!
We are now being given time for that reflection and for the practice of what is absolutely necessary for living. It is the preparation for life. Fantasy is not truth. Yet honesty & truth may absolutely turn out to be fantasy. Be prepared to let it all come to surface, then lo and behold the truth to let you and your young ones to be free. Truly free!
I loved accompanying my grandma to the home (facility) of people with disabilities (deaf and blind) to serve them with tea and special tea time snacks, like cake and short eats (hors d’ oeuvres). I watched some of them sewing soft toys and handicrafts to sell to visitors. They loved seeing me too even though I was afraid at times and would cling to my grandma’s Saree.
Grandma also had two ladies who worked for her who were hearing impaired. They sewed beautifully and I would sit next to them, watch and talk with them in sign language. The last I heard of them was that they got married to two German gentlemen and as the story went – they lived happily ever after.
This was my exposure to charity from 3 – 12 years of age. It continued at different levels afterwards as well. But those were my childhood memories that had a profound impact on me.
When I came to the United States as a young adult this desire to serve never left me. That’s when I volunteered at an organization who served people with Alzheimer’s disease. There I planned events, made them teatime snacks organized luncheons and visited them each weekend. I never spoke of them to anyone. I did this work for the way it made me feel not for being recognized or with an agenda of getting something in return. But I think that we do get something in return without asking that is quite humbling & purifying to our soul. A need of mine is met where my love was received without condition. This kind of love feels sacred, pure and genuine as the love that was given to me by children and I to them.
When I became a teacher my thirst for service was to the children. For 18 years I was serving in the home of innovation and plentiful, when my heart began to wonder and feel an urgency to be able to serve outside of that. But still with an indirect purpose of giving to the children, what they’ve given to me. I envision paying this genuine love forward. I noticed among the privileged without judgement that there is an attachment to thrive for one’s self but a lack of joy seeing or helping others to thrive, as if it was one’s own happiness. Then there are others who give everything to you without ever even having to ask. They just know you inside and out. They give you enough and it feels just right.
I’m now more aware of that than I ever had before and ask, what if I can influence to enhance the change in this pursuit of happiness impact.
Covid – 19 has brought home more of my desire for a Generous impact when I noticed hoarding. When you hoard or go to the store, have you asked anyone other than your family or checked in on them to see what they might need? One might be too embarrassed even to ask. I am no expert on this but my intuition says that more elderly, single and lonely people including young adults may lose their lives or maybe face an increased decline in quality of life, than Covid -19 itself as a short term effect rather than the predicted; other types of negative outcomes. This isolation existed before and evermore present now. We can hope for it’s elimination if we all took initiative to tune in.
So what can we do? Perhaps ask someone who you think might need a helping heart, not out of obligation but out of open handed reciprocity of how you may help them. Act on it. Follow up, ask again and offer your empathic elevation of a human heart. We need Angels & Saints appearing in human form at the right time in the right place of our lives.
As president Obama once said, “Do something than trying to be someone”. In that, I am doing the best that I can at this time by offering you, this heartfelt insight in my effort of planting seedlings of purpose; arising from a place of giving hope to others. This is my chosen path of divinity in a Multi Faith Twist of spiritual awakenings. I am blessed with an abundance of emotional wealth invested in the openness of another to receive.
Generosity in the end is the freedom to breathe into life, being alive – fully. One that brings the economic gap of wealthy and the struggling perhaps just a little bit closer, at a time that it has been drifting further apart. “You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one.” To the amazing Mr. John Lennon I have joined you without even knowing that I did.
Now – I let it be.