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My Website

The entirety of my work can now be found on one website. Thank you for your interest in my work and for visiting my site.

All the best,

Barbara

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Opening to India

I’ve finally, after a series of mishaps, made it to India. Possibly the setbacks were there to hone my patience and perseverance, to ready me for the trials to come.

India is a pungent teacher of patience and fortitude. Her revolutions move in mysterious convolutions that defy logic. Not unlike the winding alleyway to my hotel that confuses me in it’s curving path that veers in many directions that all ultimately lead to the same place. Being lost. In order to find. India teaches that. To lose yourself – your notions, truths, ideals, beliefs. Just let them all go, at least suspend them while traipsing within her perimeter. Not judging nor expecting, but rather observing, accepting. And feeling how fluently that moves in the psyche as compared to the way biases find places in our minds and bodies to latch onto and cause turmoil.

In some ways, India is like another home. There’s a familiarity of myself here. It’s the rawness of life that resonates with me, in its myriad forms – beautiful, grotesque, otherworldly. The systematic stripping away of distractions and compulsions; attachments that keep us from being fully present.

India wasn’t a lifelong dream for me, or a place that I felt drawn to. But one day in a hospice training, with the question posed – “What would you do with your life if you had one year to live?” – I heard myself answering, “I’d go to India”. I cannot really say where that answer came from; maybe I threw it out there because it sounded so outlandish. And wouldn’t we want do something completely out-of-character and crazy if we knew that we were on our way out? Our one last hurrah that would float us above the pain in the final moments.

Nine months after making that proclamation – long enough for the idea to gestate – I was in India. And totally out of my zones that shield and comfort me. Nearly the moment that I touched ground, ghosts starting coming out of my closet, one-by-one, surrounding and taunting me. Without the safety net of distractions, they made themselves visible and were not easily placated. India does that. Shows us where our suffering lies.

She shows us her suffering as well. I remember the odd looks and inquiries I received from the participants in the hospice training, wanting to know why on earth I’d choose to spend my final days immersed in a place of such great suffering. I still get that – people wanting to know, why India?

The only way I can answer is, in suffering, in our own or being a witness to it, there is an opening that occurs. That opening can consume or liberate us. Or both. Consume, then liberate. And just at the moment that we think we’ve been liberated, the consumption starts again. The suffering doesn’t just end, even when we beg it to. But I have learned that to observe it, allow myself to feel it, hold it, accept it, I can then let go of it. Not completely since our wounds leave scars, but enough to help me out of the fire and into the awareness of the lesson, that will, when I am ready, appear and show me a way through to the other side.

Namaste from India!

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Patient in the Present

I am still here, at home. My flight to San Francisco was cancelled (apparently due to weather), and I remain in limbo while waiting for my ticket to get resolved.

Perhaps I was not yet ready for India since I was feeling poorly on my scheduled day of departure. I wasn’t feeling much better the following day when I returned to the airport, thinking that I would be flying out on a different international airline, only to once again be sent home. I was issued an incorrect exchange ticket but given a third one for the following day. Except that ticket was no good either, one that would have had me stranded since the domestic airline did not confirm it with the international one. Nor did they communicate to them that I would not be on the original flight, so on their schedule, I was considered a ‘no show’. Understandably, they do not want to give me another ticket. I see it as the fault of the domestic airline, but the travel agency where I bought the ticket (who initially refused to help sort this out) is trying to get the ticket fulfillment from the international one.

I am content to be here now, in this moment and place, although I am experiencing a sort of feeling between both worlds. My momentum got waylaid, and with the amount of energy, time and angst I spent in trying to get a new flight out, I used all my reserves.

It’s all a bit messy. I’m not sure how long it may take to sort it out, but in the meantime I am using my energy to regroup so by the time my ticket is rebooked, I am ready to begin again. I’ll keep you posted.

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Two Sides to Arranged Marriage

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Russell Peters on Arranged Marriage

A clip on arranged marriage that succinctly looks at the issue in a humorous light, by Canadian-Indian comedian Russell Peters.

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See the Woman

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Welcome

The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation because in the degradation of woman the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source. ~ Lucretia Mott

Welcome to my blog. The intent of this web-log is to share information and to create a dialogue for those who are interested in learning more, or for those who are knowledgeable on the subjects of arranged marriage, dowry, and female feoticide and infanticide, and would like to share their experience.

It’s a thorny topic that raises ire, rightfully so. Some of what I will be posting here are stories that have made the news, the sort of stories that you may wish that you had not read, the ones that are difficult to erase from our minds. For me, that difficulty is what impelled me to continue reading, researching, and now, writing about them. But stories, disheartening as they may be, help to raise our awareness and compel us to take action towards the eradication of violence.

Although the issues that I will be writing about pertain predominately to India, violence against women is a global phenomenon. Statistics are disturbing enough in themselves, but are not true indicators of the gravity of the situation since many incidents go unreported. In the U.S., four women are killed everyday in domestic violence disputes. Every fifteen seconds, a woman is battered, usually by her domestic partner. Globally, at least one in three women and girls have been beaten or sexually abused in their lifetime. It is important to keep this perspective in mind, to avoid the tendency to bash other cultures, when the problem is a pervasive one that exists everywhere.

If you would like to join in on the discussion, keep your comments (which go through moderation prior to being published) respectful. If you subscribe to this blog via RSS feed or e-mail, you’ll be notified when new posts are published.

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