Dear Friends,

People write to me to tell me how they admire what I am doing, or to ask me how I do it, how do I live in India? Last night someone from France asked me what from America do I miss? These are subjects that I have written about previously, but for my new friends I will quickly recapture these questions and a few other themes.

Yes, coming to India to live full time was a very strong decision...following my man anywhere was my intention. There is a lot to be said about learning how to follow, and I am reminded of Ed Raiola in my Warren Wilson College (a University) outdoor leadership class, who told us that “strong leaders are also great followers.” I've learned to humble down and wash clothing with my hands; grind coconut with a stone; wash the floor on my hands and knees; sweep the pathways of my house with a coconut broom; walk BEHIND my husband. These are just a few things that come to mind in a few seconds. But what has really changed, is the person inside. This is a real spiritual journey, a journey away from the ego, and the falsehood of who I thought I was. My worldview has changed so much that it is very different when I return to North America, to my family and friends. My mother doesn’t recognize me. She says that she sees an Indian in me.

We cared for my mother-in-law in her final years. She taught me to cook, and she showed me how to take care of her boy in the most loving way that a mother could do. At this time, I did not know that she was preparing me for a time when she would no longer be present, but only afterwards did I realize that the wife of the eldest son has spiritual responsibilities in taking care of the family—with prayer and stewardship. This was huge to me—when I realized at how generous my mother-in-law had been. “Please pray for my children when I am no more,” she asked me two months before she went home to God. 

After my mother-in-law’s passing, I joined an organization that helps people spiritually heal by following specific teachings. I began to heal from diseases and conditions by the grace of our almighty God. And not to go into the huge details, I'll mention that this organization medically verifies each spiritual healing on this path. Physical and emotional disturbances that no longer hinder me or my husband’s daily life are healed. My husband is a medical doctor, who is on this healing path with me, because he sees how much I have changed, conclusively and medically speaking.

India is such an ancient place. I'm amazed at some of the things I hear and see. We live in the home that my in-laws built, the neighborhood where my husband and his siblings were raised. And so I am bound by tradition to move accordingly within these borders. I am working on a cook book--actually two and I also write success reports for the above mentioned healing organization, as well as practice yoga and guitar. The latter two are new hobbies, and I'm thrilled that I have a "vehicle" for my voice now. Also, I hadn't been able to do any exercise without having to rest for two days at a time--so I am happily learning yoga very slowly.

Getting a career was never my ambition. I always wanted to know about God and how the "unseen" things move around the universe. It works for me here, because this is the country where many of these mysteries are practices, and widely believed as "real".  And I still can have my Christian beliefs. I spend a lot of time in prayer, and reading sacred texts.

People accept me here, and my husband's family is so happy to have me. They treat me as one of their own. I can speak a little Malayalam, but I do read it. I participate with family functions, and I feel part of the clan. Sometimes I don’t notice the big color differences anymore. My auntie told me the other day, “You are looking like an Indian.” She isn’t one to hand out compliments very quickly, and so I felt that it was her way of telling me, “You fit in with us. I’m glad that you’re here.” 

No, I can’t think of too many things that I miss from America. We live a very simple life in a very simple house. We don’t have many flashy things. And I can say that it doesn’t bother either of us. We are happy to marvel at the life around us, at the way God moves quickly when we ask nicely. We enjoy our simple food. We eat fish and aviel (mixed vegetable and coconut dish) nearly every day. Of course, it’s accompanied by rice. In Kerala, if you haven’t eaten rice, you haven’t eaten!