The laughter of my thirteen other Niswarthians; the laughter of the children at the slum community center. The stories we told each other at midnight, and the names of the girls I danced with in Khalol. The heart and spirit of ESI, Suresh Bhai, Mukesh Bhai, and Jayesh Bhai.

Niswarth has given me so much. It has filled my heart permanently with love and appreciation for everyone I’ve met. Whether I am staying on in India or heading home in a month, I will have these values and ideals with me because they are no longer just teachings. The people and places we’ve visited have been constantly shaping my life for the past three weeks, and won’t stop after the eighteen of us go our separate ways.

Mukesh Bhai has asked all of us to practice at least five minutes of meditation every day, and I know I want to follow through on his request. For as long as possible, I will meditate each day, focusing on my breathing and mind control rather than the upcoming tasks I will undertake. It’s easy to pick out the negatives and looming stresses in activities, and that is exactly why we shouldn’t do so. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

Niswarth wasn’t easy, but I was comfortable and happy almost all the time. This makes it clear to me that my Niswarth journey is far from over: I may not be with my extended Niswarth family anymore, and soon, I will not even be in India, but I know that I have a lot left to accomplish in my right-side heart, my spiritual heart. I also know that it will be challenging to begin to lead my life with less of my mind and more of my heart. I know that I need to shift inside to make a difference outside. 

I am taking Niswarth with me, wherever my life takes me.