Group approaching the Taj Mahal, aka 'The Resplendent Immortal Teardrop on the Cheek of Time.'
Namaste-Jullay-Tashi Delek: Ben, Bill, Ellie, Jamie, Jenn, Kate, Lauren, Linnea, Molly, Pam, and Sarah-
I hope you all have had a smooth and sleepful flight over to London by now, and that the next stage of your journey begins with a promising flourish.
Molly and I have been wrapping things up here at the Likir House today, and in between a visit to my dentist in south Delhi and a reunion with Peter and Amit tonight, I've been thinking more or less non-stop about our past two weeks together.
I've been wanting to write, but the necessities of packing bags and paying bills have thus far precluded such an opportunity. However, the pen will start soon, and just so you know, I truly meant what I said last night-in that it was inspiring, day after day, to be with the eleven of you on such a literary journey.
It was a pleasure for me to introduce you to a bit of the ways of India during the course of our time together, and on behalf of Global LAB, I’d like to sincerely thank you for being a part of our amazing group, for making it all happen.
I hope you will drop me a line now and then (I'd like to see more of your writings), send me some pictures (because I slacked with the camera), and let me know what you're up to (just because). And I, in turn, will do my best to make a public appearance out in Durango in the not too distant future.
While your travels through Europe, Central America, Oceania, the Western US, and/or simply back home will be quite a transition in itself, I think it also a great opportunity for you to process and reflect on what it all is that we were doing here for seventeen days. And being on the road allows you to continue in this liminal state, to try new things while shifting ways from the old. But, to be honest, it is also reasonably likely that you'll feel a few withdraw symptoms upon your absence from India. And though this can be hard, I think it also good, because it means we've changed.
Write about it.
Moreover, you have experienced so very much in a relatively short period of time, and have to be tired, so it may be overwhelming to explain 'India' to everyone who's interested at any one time. Now, or later, you may be bursting with stories to tell and feel like no one really wants to listen. Believe me, I've been in both of those positions many times before. So, if you ever need to talk and feel like there's no one there to listen, or no one who can understand what it means not to be eating Afghani chicken and nan or searching for a bathroom in the middle of a new city, you have my ear.
And please, let one another know how it's going. While summer vacations allow us much needed space and rest, it is also important you all continue your dynamic dialogues. All of you know each other in a way that no person at home has ever encountered. This is invaluable, and the more you can continue to share, the more you will get out of our experience.
Moreover, our Global LAB blog is a great forum to share your thoughts and photos, as it provides a digital library for posterity, and we hope to send some end-of-the-program photos there in the days to come. I continue to look back at previous programs now and then, and love that return to a time and place in the past. So, I hope you’ll take advantage of the web journal which we created together as well. Just send any- and everything to email@example.com and/or check it out at: www.global-lab.org/mt/FortLewis2007
Also, I've set up a Flikr account. Because some of us are lacking photo documentation of our great trip together, please feel free to post as many images as possible. Just go to:
www.flikr.com and 'sign in' at the top right of the page
Enter name/Yahoo ID: FortLewisIndia
And there you go.
If you forget anything, the password hints are the name of Bill and Pam's dog, Happy, and the date of India's Independence, August 15, 1947. Easy enough to remember or look-up one or the other, I hope.
Also, thanks so much for taking the time to do all of those program evaluations in our last day together (I will read them tomorrow morning in the Newark airport once I've slept a bit and have some more time on my hands). We appreciate this so much, as all of us at Global LAB will benefit from your voicing particular experiences and new found wisdom and can then continue to build successful programs for new students down the road.
And finally, when you’re sitting at home or driving down the road, thinking about India but recognizing that you're not there, please think about the meaning of pilgrimage in the Tibetan tradition, and how it's really about the journey and not the destination. Some of you may recall that I mentioned the Tibetan term for pilgrimage, ne-kor, literally means ‘going around places.’ A few of us talked a bit about how in the tradition of pilgrimage the path is but a circle, and whether at the destination, somewhere along the way, or in between and within the mind, the journey is always happening and never concludes. And so I hope you recognize that the pilgrimage which you’ve just returned from is, in fact, really just beginning. For when you return home you're merely somewhere along the way--not at the end, and far beyond the beginning, en route on a circuit that need not end.
Be well, keep in touch, and thank you so much for a truly wonderful journey.