by Zoey Stimpson, Global Seva India Posted on March 2nd, 2013
It’s taken me quite sometime to be able to turn my thoughts and experiences into words.
In the beginning I was a bit bogged down by the shadows of what I’d been witnessing while trying to keep my heart, smile and energy consumption afloat for the women and children I crossed paths with. It’s been a wild journey here in India – such a different world. The culture is infused with simplicity that’s (actually) in sync with it’s diversity. It’s a colourful container for connection to spirit, shadow and human experience. Above all the countries, I’ve had the fortune of visiting, India seeps history and legend in every moment, monument, greeting, story, stoplight….. It’s a magically effed up place…. just like the rest of the world I guess. Amongst the wide eyes, the ‘Namaskars’ (traditional greeting), tilted heads, open arms, bright colours, and an abundance of pearly whites that project through darkly complexed skin; there’s so much paradox and therefore separation in my ability to share my experiences. It’s been tough to get a handle on my relationship to these experiences because they’re always changing, and I’m sure, forever unfolding.
I have absolutely no idea what it’s like to grow up in the density of sound, caste, spirituality, diversity…let alone trauma, and a family and community that doesn’t love and trust in me for who I am and where I’ve been. I am so blessed (I can use this word with less hesitation than in the past).
In the past 10 days we had the fortune of visiting a number of the organizations that we supported through last year’s Global Seva Challenge: Apne App, Sanlaap, Nijolou Shelter Home (WIF), Made By Survivors, AMURT, Kolkata Saanved). I am SO stoked to arrive home with the confidence and trust in these relationships – an attribute that I wished desperately for. I’m so grateful that all my conversation, purging, social media exploitation, and ‘bumper sticker’ language/tone was honest and purposeful. I thank the universe for giving me the space, time and support I needed when I finally acknowledged my long-time desire to step into this foreign place of vulnerability, inquiry and service.
Not getting lost in the trauma’s, the stories, and the injustice was a difficult task for me. Balancing my emotions, level of compassion and sensitivity with determination, purpose and action was a goal of mine – without this consciousness, it’s safe to say, that I would have been a pile of mush. Luckily I had strong women and Josh (the one man in our Seva family) to hold hands with, share, process and get back on track with.
I’m sure I’ll have lots to share and tell, yet, I’m still in a place of inquiry and integration. Although I’m sure that this phase is a never-ending one, I’m committed to sharing and being a voice for the voiceless and choiceless as soon as it reaches my tongue with conviction and elegance. For now, all I KNOW is that
1) I’ll always have more questions than answers
2) Unconditional love goes a long way
3) My connection with each women and child has forever changed me
4) I can only hope that I’ll have the courage and strength that I’ve bared witness to when I need it
5) I’m effing lucky to have the community of friends and family that I do
6) I’m so lucky to have a man that loves, supports and empowers me no matter what wave I’m on
7) Never underestimate the power of collaboration
8) The need to understand and know everything is tiring and useless at times
9) Baring witness to the shadows and the human experience is baring witness to the Self; therefore, to say that any of this has been ‘Selfless’ service would be a lie.
Amidst all the horror and shadow we’ve been immersed in this journey invited more laughter than tears, more joy than anger, more love than hatred, more happiness than sadness, and more hopefullness than hopelessness.
So…What’s next? I’m committed to taking time to integrate, to never forget, and to carry on with light, honesty and sustainability.
Thank you OTM family. I’ll miss your quirks, teachings and honest expression.
Lots of love,
Zoey Stimpson is from North Vancouver, British Columbia. She successfully raised more than $20,000 for the 2012 Global Seva Challenge by mobilizing her community and rising up as a leader for a cause she believes in. Funds raised will help support organizations in India that are providing refuge, rehabilitation and economic opportunities to sex trafficking victims, and empower survivors to lead lives with dignity and respect.
*The opinions expressed in this blog belong to the individual author and are not necessarily shared by Off the Mat, Into the World.