Happy New Year everyone! A new year contains the potential for me to write so many cheesy messages of love and peace, which I enjoy and embrace despite the cynical judgement of friends and such. I will however share some quotes about kindness I found on the internets, whose sources I cannot verify.
I didn’t make this, I just found it.
We returned to Kathmandu a few days ago for our monthly meeting and tomorrow we begin a 10 day vacation. We sat in small group meetings, discussing our projects for the past month and what we want to accomplish in the month after we return. At some point during this discussion, especially when discussing children with special needs, I felt an overwhelming sense that I was not achieving as much as I could be. In the past month, I did not meet with the parents of the two students in Dahu who cannot speak, nor with the parents of two children with Down Syndrome. I visited the boy with cerebral palsy, who spends all day in bed in his mother’s store only once. Not to mention all of the children with disabilities whom I have heard of but not even seen yet. One of the children I have not yet seen is expected to possibly die soon. I am not sure why.
We have had no shortage of work and the reasons that I did not get around to doing these things was simply that I did not find the time. The past month, we had our before school program, we created teacher surveys, translated them into Nepali and typed them into Word in Nepali. We conducted the surveys and translated them back into English and input the data into Excel. Plus the addition of our two new satellite farms.
In my previous post, I spoke about moving mountains, about patience and how small steps lead to larger things. I know and I have no illusions that I am only one person and can only do so much. I know that as a group we have the ability to accomplish a great deal. Despite logic, I cannot help but feel sadness that so many children have no help, no support and neither they nor I know where their lives might end up. The thought that I have not done enough, that I did not accomplish as much as I possibly could have, lingers in my mind.
However, sadness, fear and the feeling that we have not accomplished enough speaks to our ability to find compassion, courage and spurs us into action, so long as we do not give in to despair. At a meeting with an Early Childhood Development specialist, after giving us tons and tons of information, the woman reminded us that we should never give up, that when we act through kindness, we find solutions. I have been keeping a journal since I have arrived in Nepal and for the first time I have actually finished writing an entire journal (December 31st 2013, last entry, last page). In my journal I often close with a reminder to myself “Always be kind”. On difficult days, whatever the reason, personal, professional, inexplicable; the idea that we have the power to make someone else’s day better simply with our kindness helps to shed those burdenous feelings.
A few weeks ago, we had several Buddhist monks staying in the house next door for a week-long ceremony. Living in a Buddhist village has many advantages. The importance of being in the present moment, being kind in the present moment and doing what we can, when we can, helps to cope with feelings of inadequacy, despair and sadness because we do not worry about what we have not done but rather on what we CAN do. When we return to the village, I know what I can do and what I will do and I find comfort in that.
I will close with a short interaction my roommate had with the only female monk that was staying next door. (Hebrew readers may read for themselves http://hanativ.blogspot.com/2013/12/blog-post_17.html). While standing outside the house and contemplating the meaning of existence, our inability to change despite our desire to and the endless cycle of suffering, a Buddhist nun walked by and after looking and smiling at him for a minute she hands him a sugar cookie and says “don’t be so serious, look what a beautiful morning.”