In 1995 I had a series of dreams of being in the Himalayan Mountains, sitting by a lake, receiving instruction about my life from an old wise man. Some months later I made the trip to Nepal, impatiently hiked up the mountains and sat beside a lake. Instead of meeting a wise man I met my own inner voice with a loud-and-clear message: get out of the ‘ideas’ of a spiritual journey! Find myself and embrace my own humanity and others’. As I walked back down the mountains and assessed my life and the world around me I felt quite humbled. I realised how selfish I had been. It was a life-changing moment.
I left that trip to Nepal with two things: my realisation still working deeply within me, and the memory of the gentle Nepali people living in poor conditions, yet so happy of spirit. It was some years before I returned to Nepal. By 2000, I had become more familiar with my own and others' humanity and had truly realised the gift of giving to others. I travelled this second time to Nepal with an inner urge to be involved in social service. I wanted to help those who had little in the way of material support to express their natural capacity for growth and development – and to do all this from an open space, knowing that I do not have all the answers! This began a different aspect of self-discovery that continues to this day.
I am now a frequent visitor to Nepal and consider it my second home. Through the natural growth of various projects, initiated in conjunction with Nepali friends, I have gained experience and knowledge. It has confirmed my inner knowing that a small amount of encouragement and support can create and stimulate growth and development in healthy ways. Watching and listening to the stories of women and children in their expression of empowerment is heartwarming and inspiring. Witnessing men and women in their communities who have the courage to follow their ideas and establish new directions is uplifting. To know these people as my friends is a joy. I receive from them in so many ways!
I have experienced a profound depth of heart opening through my time in Nepal. It has brought me to see the topic of ‘aid’ from a holistic perspective. Although people in Nepal (and many other places) may lack education, material wealth and resources, these are human beings with intelligence and an innate desire for growth. My experience has deepened my belief that we truly can work, live, play, grow and evolve together with greater sensitivity and caring for one another.
Together, hands-with-hands, we build better futures.