That Which Is Within

Sunday, October 13, 2019—12:30 pm—55˚F (13˚C)—Beautiful, a sunny and cool autumn day

Throughout our lives, my wife Sumi, my daughter Parini, my son Jasen, and I have traveled to many nations. Individually, I have traveled to more places than my family conducting  international business while working for Ford, Chrysler and as an independent consultant.

In the mid-1990's, there were times I used to make three or four international trips every year. Over more than four decades I have traveled to 29 countries, some more extensively than others. Even three years after Sumi’s diagnosis, we traveled internationally untill 2015. I traveled more often for my consulting assignments. 

I have been to six countries in the Americas: USA, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, and the Bahamas.

And fifteen countries in Europe and North Africa: Germany, UK, France, Italy, Vatican City, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, and Tunisia.

In Asia I’ve visited eight countries: India, Nepal, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea.

All my traveling has come to a full stop now. In the last four years I have traveled only two times away from home and Sumi for a short stay of five days each time. 

When a kite flies in the sky it appears to the kite that it has a lot of freedom. But in reality, the kite is tethered with a string and is managed by its handler. The kite only has limited freedom. True freedom to kite comes when it is cut from its string and flies away carefree in the drifting wind without a predetermined destination.
 
On many occasions I miss the good-old-days and I wish to travel carefree. But that is not so. As they say, when one door closes another opens up. As a care partner to Sumi, a few new vistas have opened to me.

From the book, The Caregiver’s Tao Te Ching by William and Nancy Martin, chapter 47 exemplifies my feelings.
 
Caregiver's Tao Te Ching

Below, I’d like to share this chapter:
“That Which Is Within
 
We may feel cooped up by our care giving,
doomed to watch the world go by
outside our window.
Yet, we are given a window
that opens on the heart –
a vista few people ever see.

We don’t travel to faraway places,
yet knowledge, understanding and wisdom
come to us right where we are.
It is not what is outside that satisfies,
but that which is within.

There is no way to describe the vividness of life that unfolds between the caregiver and care receiver. There is no clearer view of our heart and mind. All our beliefs, hopes, and fears—even those we felt we had put to rest long ago—emerge with new intensity. We feel tension, fear and uncertainty one moment and a breaking through into peace and confidence the next. We find that compassion is not a soft, delicate thing but that which brings clarity and courage.

We see total vulnerability in the one we are caring for. The tenderness, wisdom, and courage of her heart become visible as she struggles to control the flow of life and health. Here in this room, we discover more about ourselves and each other than many decades have reveled before. What a sweet, amazing vista we are given as caregivers.”