Saturday, January 15, 2011

Another poem that rings true today

THE WORLD IS TOO MUCH WITH US - by William Wordsworth

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chanson d'automne

Ms. Sheets had us memorize this poem in French class. Still one of my favorites. The time is right to revisit it!

Chanson d'automne
de Paul Verlaine

Les sanglots longs
Des violons
De l'automne
Blessent mon coeur
D'une langueur

Tout suffocant
Et blême, quand
Sonne l'heure,
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens
Et je pleure;

Et je m'en vais
Au vent mauvais
Qui m'emporte
De çà, de là,
Pareil à la
Feuille morte.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Writing Again

It has been some time since writing, so I will ease back in delicately, without grand commitments. There have been other bends in the road, but I didn’t write about them. In part, because they were not very happy turns. But it feels like time to write again, not for greater happiness, necessarily..just felt an inner prodding to do so.

So, I find myself in Brooklyn, New York. Back to Brooklyn! Sitting again in 105 Buckingham, my old apartment building, at home with friends. It seems I’ve jumped from one difficult job to another: immigrant rights to criminal court mediation/restorative justice. Perhaps it’s only difficult work when we are too tied to the outcomes.

I’m reading a good book – “How Can I Help?”. It talks about how much more helpful we can actually be when we release ourselves from identifying as whatever kind of helper we are, or think we are. We expend so much energy trying to maintain an identity (i.e., boss, doctor, social worker, mediator..?). When we’re more concerned about preserving that persona, we leave less room to be concerned for the one in front of us. And all that energy we expend with self-preservation makes us less able to help. When we are free of those ties, we can simply BE, and when we simply ARE with another, not only are we better company, better help, but we simply feel better, more abundant, light.

The authors also mention that when we emphasize being some thing in particular, we are thereby obliging others around us to be something to us, too. If I am the doctor, you are the patient; if I am the social worker, you are the client; if I am the glamorous one, you are less so. I am here, you are there. We stay on our respective sides. This separateness is not only an illusion, but takes a lot of energy to maintain. Can we learn that letting these illusory walls drop can help us all to feel a whole lot better? That simply BEING that core essence without (or perhaps despite) all the fleeting titles and roles, this is in fact the best way to “help”.

Well, I have much more left to read, but so far the book has been transformative. I think about it a lot, especially since I gravitate toward helping jobs. So often I have attached myself to a persona, tried to project myself as something, and so make others something else, too, in relation to that persona. Some people I know seem naturally good at being who they really are all the time. What a gift.

It’s refreshing to be who you really are, and to be allowed to be that person, to speak to another as a brother or sister, to get beyond all the barriers and simply be. I imagine this mindset takes some time to master, but I’m intrigued by its possibility, and hopeful.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Hello Family and Friends,

Here's wishing you a beautiful New Year. The last month has been especially eventful. I had the chance to spend a week in lovely Mussoorie at the foot of the Himalayas..

and study lots of Hindi in cold, cold weather..

enjoy beautiful scenery...

meet the famous Indian author, Ruskin Bond, together with one of his biggest fans and my good friend, Neeraj...

Though I thought Christmas would be lonely, in the end it was a nice time with a very loving American family..

Later in the month I learned that Bhuwan and Priyanka became engaged and would have their wedding in a matter of weeks! So I took part in various wedding festivities this past weekend, and came close to passing for Indian!

Finally, New Year's eve was spent with new friends..lots of dancing and good vibes!

And now, we begin again. It's very common to send mass text greetings here during big holidays (maybe everywhere?). Here's one I received from a friend, and it's my wish for you too:

-- Whatever is beautiful for you, whatever gives you happiness, may all that be yours, today, tomorrow, and forever. Happy New Year! --

Thank you for sharing this year's journey with me.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Off to Mussoorie

Hello All,

Forgive the silence. I've been in the midst of moving again. Thankfully we found a decent place in Kalkaji (same neighborhood and still walking distance from work). It has almost all the things we were looking for, so...good enough! It already feels like much more of a home, and I'm much more energized to live in it, cook in it, decorate it, and, in short, make it my own.

After the trip down south, I had been thinking of relocating there, but funding has finally come through to work with BBA. I had hoped we would be able to do something with them anyway, even on pro bono basis, but having the funds to back the work frees me up to really focus on their Child-Friendly Village replication. It's also nice, because they've been such good friends, so it'll be good to finally work together officially.

The work with BBA begins in earnest in January, so I'm taking advantage of the "down" time to get some intensive Hindi lessons in Mussoorie, a hill station town in the northern region of Uttranchal. It's at the foot of the HImalayas and supposed to be quite beautiful. The Landour Language Institute was recommended to me by a friend; it was developed many years ago as a regional language training center for Christian missionaries. I'm looking forward to the scenery, and the lessons!

I finally made it to an Indian wedding this week. My good friend, Ankur, invited me along to one of the several he was invited to this wedding season. It was beautiful, and so different from the Christian weddings. Unfortunately, it was all outdoors on a chilly Delhi night, but still the food was good and the ceremony felt very strange and special to me at once. The guests came and went during the main ceremony and from the outsider's point of view, there is no strictly identifiable "I now pronounce you husband and wife" (or maybe I just missed it!). This one was a mixture of Punjabi and Bengali traditions, to complement the couples' families, so I guess it wasn't entirely representative. Nonetheless, it gave me a sense of how things go..Will post pictures soon.

I imagine those of you in the Americas are feeling some bit of Christmas cheer seeping in about now. Over here, no signs of Christmas yet, though I'm told there will be some celebration, if only with ulterior commercial motives. Luckily, my American-Christian-family friends have invited me to spend Christmas with them, so I'm looking forward to that! It is my favorite holiday and even with all its current consumerist invocations, I still love the spirit of giving and family that enters Americans around this season.

Sorry again for my rather Spartan postings, but know that I'm thinking of you and wishing you all good things during these special holidays. May you be blessed and happy, surrounded by loved ones, and filled with warmth!


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Back from the south

On Wednesday I returned from an eight-day trip south to Chennai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore. Along the way, I met up with Sriram Ayer, an Ashoka Fellow and founder/director of Nalanda Way. His organization was just releasing an all-children's music album. On Children's Day, November 14th, they put on a show with all the kids. It was very professional; I would have paid to see it! One of Sriram's beliefs is that just because it's "not for profit" doesn't mean the quality should be less. The kids pulled off a great performance, and he had the presence of media, the governor of Tamil Nadu, children, families and friends.

In Hyderabad, I had extended meetings with an Indian investor, who's lived a long time in the States, Jaipaul Swamidass. Jaipaul is returning to his hometown of Hyderabad, after a very successful real estate career in the US, feeling God's call to contribute to "liberating" the people of India. He's been a good friend and mentor, and we hope to work together sometime down the road. Jaipaul is looking at identifying and scaling proven projects in the sectors of education and employement among other things.

Finally, in Bangalore I met with a unique (for India) conflict resolution organization called Meta-Culture where I went looking for leads on potential partners in training. Ashok, the head of this organization, will be in Delhi this week, so we'll follow up on our conversations then.

Finally, the big news is that Global Gain secured a grant of $40,000 to help BBA scale out the Child Friendly Villages, so it looks as though I'll be sticking close to Delhi, and BBA, after all.

I will write more soon (probably this weekend), and post pictures and video. Forgive the delay..November seems to have flown by!

We are on the apartment hunt once again, so hopefully we'll find something soon.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

October & a bit of November

Hi again! Sorry for the lapse..Have been busier of late! Here's a video with highlights from October!

As for the past two weeks, two events stood out..going riding very early in the morning at the Army riding complex (where they play polo, too). A Rotarian friend took me along as his guest. He is an avid polo player, and rides every day bright and early.

I hope to go riding on a regular basis once I get back from my travels south.

The other highlight of the past couple of weeks was getting to see the Dalai Lama speak. My Spanish/Hindi exchange partner, Neeraj, was my "in" to the exclusive audience, through a friend of his who helped organize the event; it was a felicitation ceremony for the Dalai Lama's recently awarded U.S. Congressional Medal.

Finally, we just celebrated Diwali yesterday! Lights, candles, firecrackers,smoke, cars, honks, and generally good cheer among all the Delhi-ites..It's the closest to Christmas I may have this year, I think! I spent it with my BBA friends, first at one of the children's rehabilitative ashrams, then at Priyanka's family home, and finally out and about. I've put up the latest photos, and created a Diwali video. So now, you are all updated!

I'll be leaving for Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore "on business" this Tuesday the 13th and back on the 21st, but I'll let you know how it went when I get back. Hope you are each keeping well! Love, rochelle/suggie/la roch/rushali