As many of you know, my life has gone through a major shift this year. I feel as though the person I have always been is emerging from within. My eyes are opening to the suffering of the world around me, and my heart aches in search for a way to cope.
I was very involved with community and global service growing up. I was blessed to see the poverty in the slums of India at the age of 17 years old (thanks to my simply amazing parents). I read the newspaper, and stayed up to date on the events around the world.
When I was in college, I returned to India, but this time was on my own. I was forced to feel the pain of the people living on the streets, of the beggars missing limbs. I lived with children at an orphanage, located in a city other Indians were not even willing to go. I learned of the personal tragedies each one of these young orphans experienced at such a young age. My heart began to melt.
When I left the orphanage, I experienced the opposite spectrum of life in India. I stayed with a friend from University in Arizona, and his family. Him and his parents had a cook, a personal driver, three house maids, and air conditioning, among many other luxuries. Witnessing the drastic difference, and the lack of empathy affected me on a deep level. It was more than I could grasp at the time. How could we waste money on meals at ridiculously fancy hotels, and then pass through IMMENSE poverty on our way back to our servants in the air conditioned home? My 20 year old mind could only attempt to understand the harsh realities, and differences among classes.
At some point after I returned to Arizona, the truths of the world became too much for my mind to absorb. I stopped turning on the news in the morning, as it always brought me to tears. Stories of murder, hate crimes, rape, kidnappings… Both globally and locally.
This year I have felt immense guilt for having shut off to the suffering going on around me. I chose the easy route… Focusing on myself, my degree in Social Work, and my desire to see the world. Sure, I participated in rallies against the genocides in Africa and Asia, spent time with elderly women in the rehabilitation center near my University… But was my heart really in it? Did I really allow myself to feel enough for my passion to run free?
I do not regret the last five years of my life. I am grateful for my years of traveling by foot, on my bicycle and with my thumb hitch-hiking. I have experienced so many walks of life, which has taught me the core values I hold today.
Only through the immense personal trauma I am experiencing today, have I been brought back to the person I am. I hope to create enough space for hope in my heart to anchor me down in stability.
As I re-immerse myself into the suffering of the world I am allowing myself to feel it for the first time in years. How can I possibly continue to see the pain of the world and not share what resides inside me?
I simply can not. Through this journey, I hope to find a space for hope within. I must be able to see beyond the hurting world to find a small piece of hope for myself to hold. Once I am there, i will share my piece of hope with the world around me.
Do not worry, my travels have not ended. They have simply been transpired into travel with purpose. I will continue to share my experiences with the world through this site.