Day 2, Nepal

“I like one ship — that is friendship”
– Shanti-
“Love is feeding those that are hungry”
– Reena-

Bala burns a candle on behalf of all the women of the world.
In meditation, she asks us to think of how we are empowering women survivors
and how that power makes us all more connected.
We are giving these women confidence to move forward and make their lives better, she tells us.
The women are interested in our life experiences
and what we have learned from having them.
Their presence is calming and they treat us with concern and care.
The beauty is that they want to help us as much as we want to help them.
I see their enormous success and it is only the second day.
I look down and am holding the “bowl of tears.”
Shanti tells us this bowl represents tears of women survivors everywhere.
She asks us all to open ourselves up to new beginnings and each say something as we pass it along.
In the bowl our experiences gather together as one and the same.
Same same, they say…. jastei, jastei.
Gratitude. Love. Community. Illuminate. Capable. Power. Pride.
I write these words in my Courage journal.
A community of love leads to power.
The Nepali women tell us to love ourselves and we all practice saying “I love myself” in Nepalse.
Shrijana writes “Love”, “Courage” and “Two Inspired Yogi’s” in my journal.
At lunch, we sit at a long table and food pours out from the restaurant kitchen.
The women offer their food to us before they begin to eat.
They are surprised when we say, no thank you.
Similarly, when they get candy as a gift, they insist we take half.
Shasi raises her hand to share her drawing.
She squeezes her eyes shut and looks down, placing her hand on her forehead.
Tears pour out. The room freezes.
The women move toward her in a smooth orchestration
and give her a hand, arm squeeze, and a cup of water.
It takes time for Shasi to feel strong enough to share.
We would have waited all day for her.
Our day ends early and Jeanne and I rush to the Stupa to take pictures.
We spend 50 cents a page on a stack of beautiful art paper and bubble with excitement.
We fantasize about what we could make for our donors.
We climb up 5 flights of stairs to Paradise Restaurant.
The view overlooks the village.
We are so close to the Stupa we feel we could reach out and touch it.
We share a beer and thank each other for our friendship.
The sun sets behind the mountains and we “aww” and “ooo” at each moment that passes.
Gratitude. Immense gratitude.

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