archive: November, 2009
I noticed Bidam immediately, in the way that something undefinable narrows our focus in a crowd. Different for everyone, I think. She had a quiet assertion about her. A soft strength. A presence both unassuming and, yet, solidly holding her space in the order of things. And Bidam has one incredible smile.
I first saw her when our SalaamGarage group visited the Shampura women's self-help group during their monthly gathering where they make jewelry that will later be sold to support both the group's own micro-finance system and Vatsalya. Bidam was intent and focused on her craft, nimbly working with the tiniest of gemstone and silver, stringing beauty of her own design, as her youngest child slept on the floor behind her.
Two days later, I would notice her again, this time in the back of the small room where we gathered in the village to speak with the women about their experiences participating in the group.
I knew there was something deeply transformative happening in this woman. I could just feel it. Maybe what I was feeling was that she and I were both experiencing this change in ourselves simultaneously. Both finding passions within creative outlets and both experiencing a belonging to a community of women that was previously just a dream.
I don't presume to speak for Bidam. I have transcripts of our conversations that took place the next day, when I returned to the village to visit her home and meet her family. I am using her words, along with the images and video of our time together, in the movie project I'm working on. But what I want to convey, here, now, is the message that comes again and again as I stare at these photos.
That this woman is special. That she possesses everything needed within her to change the world. For herself. For her sons. And for her daughters. She is a mother. She is a wife. She is a part of the rural village of Shampura, in the state of Rajasthan, in the country of India. And she is so much more.
And with a little help, from you and me, I have no doubt she will make a lasting impact on everything she touches. She will do it by creating. Stepping more fully into herself and her talents. By finding her voice and making her opinions known. By feeling more free inside. And smiling.
Bidam is a member of one of Vatsalya's women's self-help groups which provide women the opportunity to create goods and services, in community, enabling them to earn money to support themselves, their families, and one another. The primary goal of the self-help group program is to empower the women who need it and those who seek it.
oh dear, audio is low. i'm like the soft-talker from seinfeld. so, in the spirit of perfectly imperfect, supporting one another as we are, i'm leaving it as is. cozy up to hear it if you wish. get close. wear ear buds. and, if you are here, know that i'm talking to you.
youtube version here (for those of you who have trouble with vimeo)
jen lee's podcast here
refinement and distillation are the words that i am thinking about today. breaking-down and simplifying are good descriptors, too. getting rid of the noise. lightening the load. finding the kernel of truth. essence, core, and all that. as i simmer, i find myself noticing the colorful pieces. the little bits. like the chipped blue polish on my daughter's fingernails and the strange angle that the plant in the living room has assumed to maximize how much light it gets (not so much unlike the patterns i assume to make sense of a situation that is less than ideal). it seems to matter. all of it.
i'm not sure where i am going with this. but the point of this space has always been to write. to share what is real in this moment. and this is it. contemplative. whittled down. processing. wondering. noticing.
i feel at once overwhelmed by the details and recognize the beauty in them all the same. the lessons that i am learning, over and over again, about taking my time. taking care. getting to the root so that the flower can bloom.
so i offer you my truth today. even if that truth is vague and confusing, in it is all my desires and joys and sadness and awkwardness and fatigue and tensions and hopes and yearnings, rolled into this morning here on earth. and in my truth, may yours be, also. distilled into the love that makes us the same.
i think i have had a hard time fully trusting that the light i see is real. that what appears to be coming from the openings will still be there if i fully surrender to it and cross-over. but, more and more, i am allowing myself to linger in the faithful just a little bit longer. to hold the gaze and believe. and i recognize how when i slip back into the cages of my own making, that the light remains, right there, waiting for me to release. and move even closer still.