Friday, July 09, 2010
That moment of connection that we seek when we meet new people, when we are introduced to a new culture. I have experienced that connection so often here in India. Whether it is watching our students work with their clients at their internship or whether it is while walking on the beach and hearing children call out "picture, picture!" I am not always aware of the connection in the moment, but when I look at the photos--there it is--in the eyes. That connection of human to human--soul to soul. We are in each others' world and have become a part of each other. There are children I photographed years ago who still remain a part of me--eyes to s0ul. I wish I could carry that into each moment, each interaction that I have with my students, people on the street, shopkeepers, auto rickshaw drivers--pursuing that connection--eyes to soul.
At my internship, I have struggled with the idea of communication, and how to do it. Because the patients speak primarily Tamil or Hindi, much of our dialogue has to be completed through a translator, which makes creating a therapeutic rapport nearly impossible....or so I thought. In the past few days, I have realized that the best gift I can give the women of The Banyon Tree is being present with them. Seeing, feeling, experiencing, and offering encouragement through smiles and gestures has helped me to be more present with them, and in turn help them to be more expressive and creative. For example, in four short days, I have witnessed a woman progress from filling in her mandala with only one color, to choosing three the next day, and then five the day after that, and then today coloring in her mandala with not only five different colors, but also filling in the space around the circle. The progress in expressiveness has been incredible.
Today when asking the women what made them excited, many of them said that it was US being there with them that made them feel excited. Hearing this made me feel an overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude. Little do these women know that the truly lucky person in the room is me, because I have the honor of being present in this wonderful moment with them.