from my journal

July 4, 2010

looking down on Bangalore from the plane window
I remember the first time I landed in India. June 1988. I cried for joy then. And now. It's been 14 years since the last time I landed in India. I've missed it more than I knew.

on the drive to Jindal
The roads are new. But the driving is still the same old adventure.
Signs advertise new technologies. But it's still the same old Indian English.
This is a new season of life. But I've got the same old love for India.


we're not in kansas anymore toto OR welcome to nakedness

There was a sign on the walking path: "Naturopathy requires humility, sincerity and discipline."

No joke. I had just been more humiliated than ever before in my whole life. And it was only day 1. 

I was proud of myself. I didn't flinch that first morning while being weighed and interropgated about my health and habits by strangers. I endured an enema (my first, but not my last during those 3 weeks). And now I was looking forward to 1 of the reasons I'd said "yes" to this whole thing: a massage. 

1 of the "pros" on my shall-I-really-do-this list had been massage. It was 1 of the luxuries I left behind in the U.S., along with a steady paycheck. Here at "The Farm" massages were classified as part of the daily medicinal "treatment". Thinking it would be like the massages I'd experienced in the U.S., I was totally unprepared for what came next. 

From the spa-like reception area, I was escorted to a private room by a tiny smiling woman who told to "take your clothes off and lie down, madam", as she closed the door behind her. Thinking I must not have understood her properly, I wrapped myself in the sheet from the massage table and waited for her to return. I was startled when a gruff-faced woman who looked more like a prison guard than a masseuse walked in. Giving me the once-over and mumbling something in broken English about "no clothes", she defrocked me with a simple tug. Crawling onto the massage table, boobs to the ceiling, I wondered what happened to India. Where was that unquestioned modesty in a society where women can bathe and change saris in public showing barely a bellybutton? During that first hour-long massage, I understood something of how abused children dissociate from their physical self; how prisoners of war are systematically broken.

I know that sounds dramatic. And my therapist friends may be inviting me over for unlimited free sessions after they read this. But getting naked several times a day in front of strangers was the toughest part of my whole experience. My mother didn't raise me like that. I'm one of those girls who in jr. high changed my clothes in the toilet stall. I'm still one of those girls! For the first 3 days I had to muster all of my willpower and inner strength just to go through the motions of my "treatment plan" while I tried to figure out a survival strategy for 20 days of nakedness. 

And you can bet I had a lot to say to God about it! If this was His gift to me, then why the trespass of my values? Why the assault on my sense of self? Why this pain of humiliation? I'm still not totally sure why humiliation was necessary (or perhaps the question is, why I was so humiliated by it!) But by the end of those 3 weeks, something came together for me. Perhaps it's a no-brainer for others who are more in touch with the physical. But it was a revelation for me: that pain is not the end of the road, but a gateway to a place of freedom. 

God has tried before - at least since 1997 - to get me to face my physical self. But I couldn't - wouldn't - believe that "the real me" is not just soul, mind and heart, but body as well. But this time, for some reason I've yet to fathom, when God brought up this touchy subject with me again, I was ready. A concerned family member offered to pay for 3 weeks in India at the Jindal NatureCure Institute. India - I'm always ready! Fat farm - hmmm...not so much. It took me 3 days to make a decision. Another 3 days to adjust to the Jindal routine. And now, 3 weeks after the experience, I'm still sorting out what it all means and where to go from here. I haven't figured it all out yet. But I'm still moving forward - soul, mind, heart AND body.


closet gnostic OR "blue pill or red pill?" OR too old to deny it any longer

I started this blog last year
  • to process my latest transition
  • to share cross-cultural insights that might help others
  • to have a format and some motivation for writing.
But a couple of months ago I couldn't do it anymore.
Maybe I was adjusting to life in Dubai.
Maybe I was finding other ways to satisfy my craving to teach.
Maybe I wasn't cut out to be a blogger.


I wrote lightspot as a cross-cultural journey blog with a bit of spiritual insight thrown in. But my writing urges were taking a different direction. Something less cross-cultural and more spiritual. And I wasn't ready to go there on a blog. At least not on this blog.

Gradually, I became conscious that something else was going on, too. Something hidden. Something I couldn't quite wrap my brain around. Something wasn't sure I wanted it brought into that Divine lightspot. So deep and disturbing that I could not blog about something else. 

One day in May I realized that this journey was taking an unexpected turn. And I didn't like where it was going.

Like it or not, God used 4 strangers, an art project, an in-law, and a 3-week stay in an Indian naturopathic clinic to get it through my thick skull that I am not just mind, emotion and spirit. I am also body.

It's been 2 weeks since I returned from what proved to be a difficult and enlightening physical-spiritual experience in India. But already I see myself moving away from the light, longing for the darkness of denial, wanting to go back to the path I'd been on. But there's no going back. 

So I think it's time to tell a bit about it all. Time to bring not only my mind and heart and soul into the light, but my body as well.

I wanted this art project to be the introduction to the things I'll be blogging over the next few weeks. You can find my piece on the top row, center. 

I have a body. That conclusion should have been easier to come to in my nearly 54 years of living. But like so many other things, assenting to a truth mentally is no guarantee that that truth is connected to ones heart, soul and body.

What do you "know" or "believe" that is not evident in how you live?
What parts of 'you' feel disconnected from the rest of you?
What aspects of life or self do you tend not to pay attention to or shy away from?