Hand, Heart, Head

We have formed many circles this past week. In circles of song and dance, sweat trickled down our skin like rivers of rain running down a car window. We formed circles of discussion, gratitude and love, where truth was spoken. ESI has impacted my spirit and sense of self, more than any place. From learning about mind-control from Mukesh Bhai to losing myself in the candles lit at the silent dinner, I found a peace that was wrapped in layers of worry and insecurity. 

I am bringing back the gratitude and love that Suresh Bhai had as he patted each of our heads, that I felt looking at each person within our imperfect circles. I am bringing back these circles, a spirit of openness and honesty to myself and others.

I always wondered what would happen if I did not go on this trip. Perhaps my face would be covered with cheese wiz at this exact moment and my computer would be screening the second season of Honey Boo Boo. I think of all the schools, hospitals, temples, and programs that I would not have known existed. Then I think of all those who were not able to see what I saw, and then I think of all the things that I have not seen. 

We have been asked many times on the trip, how are we connected to all this? We are indeed foreigners, dipping our toes into the shallow waters of India. Many of us may never return. But I feel a heightened sense of connectivity. I have learned the ways government, health and education work together and ways that communities are developed and sustained. I look to the communities that I belong in, and see similarities and differences. 

I am bringing back a curiosity that I had once lost. I want to explore what is happening in my own community. I am bringing with me photos and stories to share. In return, I am bringing open ears to the experiences of others, experiences that I may never have. A mindset to reflect upon and explore all the new ideas seeded in my mind.  

I am bringing back hands of faded henna, feet dyed with dirt from a temporary place I called home, pants with splashes of yellow paint on the butt and thigh areas, a rugged notebook that smells like India. I am bringing back hands of love, gratitude, truth, and service. Hands that are in tuned with the heart and the head. 

 Like Jayesh Bhai said, the hand, heart and head, harmony. I am bringing back harmony.

 --Jenny