Bloom Where You Are Planted

Posted by Trupti Pandya on May 15, 2021
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I have been working at a government shelter home for women for a few years. While some are waiting for a hearing from the court, others are on the mental health spectrum. Some of them were children when they came here. Their parents, guardians, or a cop dropped them at the shelter home, as there was no one to take care of them. Life/existence can feel purposeless and powerless with a history of difficult life circumstances, and staying in a place like this that is hardbound with barbed wire fences, high walls, and rules, life/existence can feel purposeless and powerless.

In the Devotion and Purpose Pod, I went through an inner churning process with daily prompts and reflection, which helped me crystalize my personal value and refine my purpose in my being and doing. I was inspired to hold space in the shelter home, the same way space was held for me during the pod where these women could see inside and reflect.

We all sat down in a circle, and I shared 4 stories from our pod -- Beverly’s story of sharing the news to a mother who lost five of her daughters in an accident. Myron’s story of wailing and holding deep grief with a mother who drowned her own children, Sangeeta’s encounter with a child soldier who turned out to be peace ambassadors in places of conflict, and Laura’s story of being with someone who did not want to die alone.

I was inspired to share these stories to presence hope and compassion in places of intense pain and darkness. These people I was talking about are ordinary people who are devoted to planting seeds of love and compassion wherever they are planted. So the question we held together was - no matter what our internal and external circumstances are, what is the purpose we can give to our lives?

There was silence in the circle. It was a silence of contemplation, but also resistance as reflective exercises often bring discomfort. But we all held space for each other to surpass the resistance and slowly listen to that subtle voice within. The process went on for two days and is still going on partially. In the forms of color, reflections started coming in letters to self and drawing from everyone in the circle.

A glimpse of reflections from the women:

One of the girls reflected that my life is like chevdo (an Indian fried snack with many different ingredients). Likewise, my life also has all kinds of flavors. And because life has not manifested the way I wanted, I would embrace everything that will come my way wholeheartedly. She was four or five years old when she ran away from her grandparent's home after being beaten up multiple times. The police rescued her from a bus stop and brought her to this shelter home.

After a lot of resistance, another girl who is the youngest amongst everyone and has been staying here since childhood, shared that she wants to serve food to the needy, she has been susceptible to all the women on the mental health spectrum and makes sure to wear a big smile in times of conflict.

A middle-aged woman continued to write letters to herself for two days, reflecting on all the major events in her life, from losing her mother just after birth, her father putting her and her sisters at the children's home, and failed marriages. The reflection that she shared at the end was that, ‘despite all the losses and hurt, how can I do good to others to improve my life.

One of the women did not know how to write, so she just used different shades of color while contemplating what her purpose is in this lifetime.

While I also got a window to reflect more with all of them, a few words that came to me along with sincerity were - to show up like the stars do each night, do small acts, stay rooted, have a musical heart, have an untiring heart like an ant, be resilient as the grass, warm as the sun, and subtle like the fragrance of a flower.

I feel so grateful to the pod and each one who shared their life stories. This inspiration not only brightened my heart but rippled out beyond me.

Originally posted in Devotion and Purpose Pod.

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