Projects, not Work

I’m a focused person, but I don’t do “work” anymore, I have “projects”. Some of projects have an end goal, like a choir performance, or posting a finished blog article, but I’m moving towards “Everything has its own time, and there is a specific time for every activity under heaven.”  (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Our time isn’t God/dess’ time. The Universe operates on kairos, or natural time, not kronos, man made linear calendars. The concept of natural rhythms is not on the radar for most people, and those of us who are aware of it still find it hard to live this way in an ongoing way in our functional society.

It’s taken me quite a while to slow down and follow my internal wisdom, to lessen the degree to which I buy into our goal oriented, time dependent culture. Now that I’m internallizing the idea in a heartfelt way, I am beginning to thoroughly enjoy living this way. Feeling into my internal wisdom and my guidance means I do not question or self criticize in the ways of the past.

A theme of energy movement runs through my projects, in keeping with my spiritual motto, or mantra, if you will, of “follow the energy”. The Net of Light Women’s group where we meet to commune with the Grandmothers’ Council to help rebalance the planet, my new Inspirito,  singing from the heart choir, ongoing blog musings and a recommitment to providing a service offering energy balancing sessions to friends and acquaintances, all segue into a more clearly defined spiritual approach to my life.  I am blessed in the life I am living and my awareness of this grows daily.

Love & Light

Ellen

Copyright 2018 Ellen Besso

Ellen Besso is a former Life Coach & Counsellor & is an energy worker. She is the author of An Indian Sojourn: One woman’s spiritual experience of travel & volunteering, and Surviving Eldercare: Where their needs end & yours begin, both available through Amazon.

 

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Our Spirits in Synchronicity

Path behind the Dalai Lama’s Temple, Photo Don G. Smith
                          “It is our true nature we are trying to realize.” 
                               Tenzin Palma

We live in both the material and spiritual worlds. The spirit world transcends time and space; it does not function on our time, rather in natural, or Kairos time. There is a Oneness between our two worlds and between all of us and nature. When we are connected with others, whether they are in spirit or presently embodied, we are with them always. I am in British Columbia, but part of me lives on in Dharamshala, my other spiritual home, on the pathway to the Dalai Lama’s temple, in the homes of my dear Tibetan and Indian friends.

Synchronicity plays a role in our lives. Everything and everyone intersects – we are One with each other. The Grandmothers are an excellent example of this. There are two sets of Grandmothers councils that I’m presently aware of, although I’m sure there are many more. One group is in spirit and the other in human body.

I have written about The Great Council of Grandmothers before and the Net of Light that protects our earth, and was privileged to attend the group’s annual California Gathering in April.  The Grandmothers are spirits from all walks of life, they appeared to Sharon McErlane over twenty years ago on a bluff in Southern California. This was the beginning of Sharon’s intense shamanic relationship with these spirits, aspects of the Divine, who appear as women at times, and powerful eagles at other times.

The Grandmothers are here to rectify the severe imbalance of yin and yang energy on our earth, and to help imbue the planet and all of us with the powerful, healing Net of Light. Through empowerments given to women (and a few men), and through casting the Net of Light, the planet and every single aspect of nature and humans will be healed.

Twice recently I’ve come across another council, the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, who come together from all over the world for the purpose of sharing their ancestral teachings of prayer, peacemaking and healing, to help us at this time of great need. Tsering Dolma Gyaltong, one of the Tibetan Grandmothers, recently deceased, sponsored a conference in 2006 in Dharamshala, one year before my partner and I first visited this home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in the Himalayan foothills. The ten minute video is heartwarming, and to my surprise, one of my dear Tibetan friends, formerly a Tibetan nomad, is in the video footage. The video is called For the Next 7 Generations, Scenes from Dharamsala.

This international council had been spoken of in prophecy and seen in visions since time immemorial, and it came together after the 9/11 attacks in the US. “From the get go this council originated from the Spirit World ” says Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim. “The Ancient Ones are speaking through our voices…We can help stop spiritual blindness around the world.”

There are many commonalities in various teachings and spiritual philosophies. For instance, Circles of Stones play a prominent role in spiritual healing. Stones have Spirit to most indigenous people, they are the oldest beings on the planet. “It is believed that the simple act of picking up a stone and holding it in silence changes a person in subtle and profound ways.”, says Carol Schaefer, author of Grandmothers Counsel the World, one of the thirteen Grandmothers’ books.

The Great Council of Grandmothers advised Sharon McErlane to form circles of stones to enhance healings. Judith Duerk, who I was privileged to work with in retreat twenty years ago, was guided to write Circle of Stones, Woman’s Journey to Herself, embracing ancient women’s ways in the time before the patriarchal period when the Goddess was worshipped. Judith describes ancient circles of stones with women sitting around fires.

Spiritual synchronicity is everywhere. As we draw closer to the Divine, we may find our attention to it growing. We ourselves will be filled with Spirit and gradually our lives will shift into a gentle, peaceful, flowing stream.

Love & Light

Ellen

Copyright 2018 Ellen Besso

Ellen Besso is a former Life Coach & Counsellor & is an energy worker. She is the author of An Indian Sojourn: One woman’s spiritual experience of travel & volunteering, and Surviving Eldercare: Where their needs end & yours begin, both available through Amazon.

 

Net of Light Newsletter – Sharon McErlane – Live from THIS Place

From the Great Council of Grandmothers,

through Sharon McErlane

Live From THIS Place

I went to the Grandmothers, although I wasn’t really sure why. What did I want to ask them? But before I could form a question, they spoke. “Why do you think we come to you as the Grandmothers?” they asked. “Why do we show up as women? Older women? Why as a group?” they asked, peering intently into my eyes. “I don’t know, Grandmothers,” I said. “I mean, I have some ideas about these things but I don’t really know.”

“We are wise women,” they said, referring to themselves, ” … older, experienced in living. We’ve learned how to give away, how to love with no strings attached. We listen and because we do, we’ve accrued great understanding. You don’t gain that except through experience,” they laughed, “and we have experience! We also work together,” they smiled, “always together.

“In the world the older woman is overlooked, dismissed, and ignored,” they said, and I found that I agreed with them. “Most people are in a great hurry. Rushing, pushing, worrying, scrambling,” they said, “but not us. No,” they shook their heads. “We know better. We understand that nothing happens before its time. There’s no rushing life,” they said. “It unfolds on its own. You’ve learned that too, haven’t you?” they asked, looking me over. “Uh, yes, Grandmothers,” I agreed, “well, at least I’m continuing to learn.”

“We know, we know!” they crowed. “And we’re here to teach you!” “Oh!” I exclaimed. “Is that what this is about? Is it time for me to learn more patience?” but the Grandmothers only laughed.

“You are growing impatient,” they said, “impatient with the way things are in the world. Eager for goodness, for kindness and peace to reassert themselves on earth. You’re tired of all the darkness. Tired of the anger and meanness that continue to surface. In fact,” they said, “you can hardly bear any more of it.” “Yes, Grandmothers,” I shook my head, “you’re right.”

“Come here!” they suddenly said, and reached their arms to me. “Step into our circle. Come into alignment with us. Don’t hold yourself separate,” they said. “Don’t hold yourself ‘over there,'” they gestured, “but instead, come ‘over here’!” I did as they said. I stepped forward into their embrace and when I did, they aligned my spine with theirs. Now I was part of a long line of women … part of the formation that is the Grandmothers.

“Take a look at life on earth from THIS position,” they said, and I lifted my head and gazed out over the horizon. Everywhere I looked there was beauty. Above and below, near and far. Beauty. Only beauty. Flowing patterns of color and form. It was a visual symphony, magnificent in every way. “Where’s all the darkness? The ugliness?” I asked, squinting to see where it was hiding. But there was no darkness. There was no ugliness. Only beauty. Beauty and then … more beauty.

“Live from this place,” the Grandmothers said. “Look out at the world from here, from the place of alignment with us. We promise that things will look very different to you,” they said.

The Grandmothers had given me a new way of seeing the world. It wasn’t a new world; this world had always been there, but before they adjusted my vision, I hadn’t been able to see it. But now I could because I had the larger view. I turned to the Grandmothers then, so moved by their generosity, I couldn’t speak. All I could do was mutely nod my head in thanks to them for this great gift they’d given me. This gift of the larger vision is for you too.

from Sharon McErlane

Net of Light Gathering, Joshua Tree, CA, April 2018

In mid April, my partner Don and I travelled to Joshua Tree, Southern California, for the Net of Light gathering. I needed time to process the experience before journalling; here is my attempt to put into words this powerful, ephemeral experience.

We arrived early and settled in at Joshua Tree Retreat Center. The Center is the oldest in North America at 77 years of age and was built by Frank Lloyd Wright and Son, after a unique man named Edwin Dingle, who had studied Eastern philosophy in Tibet, was guided to the land.

I felt honoured to be invited to attend the Beacons, or group leaders’ meeting prior to the gathering, as I planned to start a Net of Light group in my home town after this retreat. Beacons from all over the world attended, several from the Netherlands, some of them group leaders for many years.

The highlight of the meeting was meeting Sharon McErlane in a small group setting. Sharon’s Net of Light organization had grown to 250 groups worldwide over the twenty plus years since the Grandmothers appeared to her on a bluff in Southern California. Sharon told me I had definitely been called to this work.

In the early months of 2017 I had come across the Net of Light website while researching, returning to it repeatedly, not knowing why. I subscribed to Sharon’s newsletter, eventually meeting the Canadian Co-ordinator, Laura in Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver, our shared ferry terminal.

That afternoon, under the big, old trees in the park by the water, I received my first empowerment, a gentle introduction to the energy of the Grandmothers, meant to connect us to them and to allow us to bring out our unique gifts in a greater way. Things began to change subtly for me after the empowerment, I received nudges and small messages from the Grandmothers that helped me to live more fully and mindfully with an increased level of trust in myself.  I realized the  Grandmothers  had been around me before I knew who they were.

One hundred people attended the Southern California Gathering, ninety women and close to ten men. I had felt the presence of the Grandmothers strongly for two weeks before the gathering, helping me release powerful old held material from deep within myself. At the retreat they filled the room, and indeed the whole property, with a strong, but light energy.

During our four days together we worked both in the larger group and in ten breakout groups. We drummed and sang, calling in the Grandmothers and the Great Mother, casting and strengthening the Net of Light, the great energetic fishnet that holds and heals the planet and us during these difficult times. Sharon and others took us through guided meditations. In the small groups we debriefed and sometimes did exercises.

For four days we lived in a cocoon of delight and heart felt love. Because we were in an altered state and the experiential nature of the Gathering, I could not explain precisely what we did to friends who questioned me later.

One exercise impacted me powerfully, and remains in my memory banks to this day. We took turns expressing to a partner the qualities of the goddess we saw within ourselves.

When the weekend was over we reluctantly left our spiritual cocoon, spreading out in all directions, Don and I in the direction of Sedona, Arizona.

Since that time I feel I have made slow, but steady progress, beginning our Net of Light women’s group in my home, and building trust withing myself by taking more risks, speaking out more, both in person and in my writing. In these ventures I am supported strongly by the Grandmothers, by my dear women friends and by claiming my Tibetan name more fully, Lhakpa, meaning courageous speech, the name that came to me in a dream several years ago.

Love & light to you.

Ellen / Lhakpa

Copyright 2018 Ellen Besso

Ellen Besso is a former Life Coach & Counsellor & an energy worker. She is the author of An Indian Sojourn: One woman’s spiritual experience of travel & volunteering, and Surviving Eldercare: Where their needs end & yours begin, both available through Amazon.

 

Tibetan Resettlement Project Finale

It was a humbling experience, standing in front of a a hundred plus Tibetan immigrants in a hall in Burnaby on a Saturday evening not long ago. The Vancouver Cultural Society was officially marking the end of Canada’s Tibetan Resettlement Project, an undertaking that resettled 1000 Tibetan Buddists from Arunachal Pradesh in  remote northeast India.

Officially called stateless or displaced persons, the parents and grandparents of these Tibetan folks became isolated in the northeastern Tribal States of India, a place rife with poverty, when they followed the Dalai Lama out of Tibet many years earlier. So remote were the settlements, that even the Dalai Lama’s Government in Exile did not know they existed for the first while. Canada’s five year private sponsorship program officially ended in December of 2017, with the last people arriving in March of 2018.

All sponsors and volunteers in the province of British Columbia were invited to this appreciation dinner, along with the new Tibetan families and other Tibetans  already living in Vancouver. Sadly, the many sponsors and Tibetans from Victoria,  Vancouver Island were not able to attend, and we met only a handful of folks from Vancouver. Don and I were the sole representatives of our sponsorship group on the Sunshine Coast. Our Coordinator, who sponsored three families, was there with her partner.

Our group sponsored a family of four, the Mom, who arrived with almost no English, with her two teenage children in December of 2013, and the Dad, who followed four months later, unable to get his discharge from the Indian Army until then. Another son remained in India, at age 22 too old to be included in the family application.

The Prime Minister at the time, Stephen Harper, to his credit, had agreed to the Dalai Lama’s request to resettle the displaced Tibetans in Canada. Becoming involved in Canada’s somewhat “under the radar” project, (the Canadian government did not want to offend its Chinese trading partner), was a spiritual calling on our part.

There are no accidents. Our many friendships with Tibetans living in exile in Dharamshala, India, developed during five visits spanning ten years, had led us to join the Canada Tibet Committee, and we were notified of the first sponsorship organizational meeting in early 2012. Our application went in during the summer of 2012.

We hit the ground running when our family arrived, the demands were great in the early days. Gradually the family members became more self sufficient and we were needed less.

Despite the small size of our community and scarcity of good jobs, our family and indeed all the families on the Sunshine Coast have done very well, working hard at whatever jobs were available, then gradually moving into more skilled areas.

The appreciation dinner and entertainment evening went quickly. At 10 pm we were readying ourselves for the dash to the last ferry, when we were called up on the stage. We were introduced to the audience and honoured with a khata scarf by the wise Rinpoche from the Vancouver monastery.

Every action we took on behalf of our Tibetan family, and for our Tibetan friends in India, brought us appreciations tenfold over. Each small gesture has been acknowledged many times more than we ever expected or wanted. Their gratefulness was very humbling. Yes, we have helped our family start a new life in Canada, and helped other Tibetans in small ways in India, but I do not think they realize how they have enriched our lives, and the heart opening we have experienced as a result. In the future, I plan to tell  our Tibetan family that they have changed our lives also, and we are blessed to call them our friends.

Ellen

Tibetan Refugees Paved the way for Syrian Refugees on the Sunshine Coast

The first two Syrian refugee families have completed their first year on the Coast, sponsored by a Gibsons Church. They are doing well and are enjoying being part of this special, supportive community. They have paved the way for the next family, sponsored by the Sechelt Activity Centre, later this year.

Being part of the Syrian folks lives has been an honour and a privilege, and we are happy to call them our friends, as we do the Tibetan family we sponsored several years ago.

The first Tibetan families from remote northeast India, arrived on the Sunshine Coast in December of 2013 and were followed by several more families, for a total of close to 20 here in our community. The private sponsorship project ended at the end of 2016.

All these folks have made a positive difference, enriching our community by their hard work, their deep spirituality and friendly manner. They are willing to help other new refugees, like they were helped. The 1st arrivals  helped the next Tibetans. Now the Tibetans help the Syrians in any way needed, by attending fundraisers and loaning their vehicles.

We get so much back from volunteering, whether in India or at home. As the research has shown, helping releases feel good brain chemicals: dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin.

There’s more, but you can read the article through the link if you’re interested.

I really can’t imagine what my life was like before we began volunteering!

Light or Darkness, Your Choice

For me this is a time to step back, to simplify, to clarify my personal truth. To pay attention to the guidance that is always within and around me, whether my awareness is focused on it or not. Trusting that things are unfolding as they are meant to, that chaos is leading us to new clarity is a challenge, but this way of being has been slowly developing for many of us over many years.

We have a choice, to go to the light, or to the dark. To make our life about positivity in all ways…in our thoughts, words and actions. For much good is taking place on this planet, despite, or perhaps because of, the darkness.

The searching for the light, is a good thing, because “…We are the ones we have been waiting for!!” as the words of A Hopi Elder Speaks tell us. The poem has been attributed to many people, including Thomas Banyacya Sr., (1910-1999), an Elder of the Hopi Nation. This widely adopted poem was apparently originally meant for the Hopi, however it has felt meaningful and timely since I first came across it a few years ago.

The Grandmothers and their Net of Light  are sending the same message, although wrapped in a different package. The Grandmothers are a council of ascended souls, who teach about the Net of Light, the healing net that surrounds the planet. Their message is a powerful one: they have come to help rectify the imbalance between yin and yang on this earth. They are here for any and all of us, female or male, whoever is drawn to them, folks want to both help the world and be uplifted themselves.

In 2002 Nasa first saw the Net through the Hubble Telescope, and named it the Cosmic Web. This web of invisible dark matter lights up the galaxies, enabling scientists to see them better than before. Here are beautiful Hubble pics.

Since my introduction to the Grandmothers and the Net a few months ago, on the surface my life has remained the same , but internally I am different…more focused, more in touch with spirit. My work with the Grandmothers and the Net  harmonizes with and enhances other aspects of my life.

In this current time of massive dichotomy and changes, we all have a choice – to go to the Light and create a sacred space wherever we are, or wallow in the negativity of Darkness and hopelessness.

Which do you choose?

Ellen

Copyright Ellen Besso 2017

The Grandmothers picture is from a Net of Light newsletter; painted by one of the members.

 

 

Fall Again…new beginnings

The days are warm, the nights cool. I sit on my back deck surrounded by my friends, the giant conifers, soaking in the afternoon sun, squeezing the last drops of heat from the thinning sun before it sinks behind the trees.

The monsoon season is almost over in Dharamsala India. The weather is cooler this fall than usual I’m told. It’s been close to a decade since I discovered McLeod Ganj, Upper Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama and tens of thousands of Tibetans in exile, but every year at this time, I long to return to the place where a part of my spirit permanently resides.

A prediction was made more than one thousand years ago by Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche: “When the iron bird flies [airplanes]…the Tibetan people will be scattered like ants across the world, spreading [their culture and Tibetan Buddhism].”

Perhaps next fall, or the next one, we will go back to Dharamsala, before more of our Tibetan friends leave. They truly are spread around the world: France, the US, Australia, one waiting with hope in Toronto for permission to immigrate with his family.

This year my partner is winding down his survey business, preparing to retire at the end of the year. I am returning to my creative and spiritual pursuits, restoring myself after intense immersion in another sponsorship program, this time with Syrian refugees.

As our planet, and we along with it, moves deeper into the vibration of the fifth dimension, I renew my goal to be in connection with spirit continually, participating in activities that feed me and spending time with folks I have deep connections with.

My year’s experience attending the powerful Divine Love prayer circle and the friendships developed there have helped me tremendously with my spiritual pursuits. So has my relationships with the devote Christians on the Working Committee for the Syrian sponsorship, a local church sponsorship, and my time  with our two Christian Syrian families.

Maintaining contact with spirit is simple, if we allow it to be so. I am slowly learning this truth. Angels are around us all the time, and the more we acknowledge this and ask them for assistance, the stronger our connection becomes to spirit.

“My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself, [herself], in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.”
Albert Einstein

 

Gibsons will host its first Syrian Refugee Family

    “Everything that divides us weakens us.”   Source: Associated Press

The idea of being part of an organized group bringing refugees to Canada on an ongoing basis has resonated with me for several years. From late 2013 into 2015 we were part of a group that sponsored a family of Tibetans into our community, as part of Canada’s Tibetan Resettlement project. The group of 1000 Tibetans who have arrived, or hope to come to Canada, if they have private sponsors, are from the remote tribal states of northeast India, specifically the state of Arunachal Pradesh.

We were inspired to participate in this project because of our travels and volunteer work in India, in Dharamsala, the home of His Holiness the Dali Lama. Each  Tibetan we met there, through our work, at Men-Tsee-Khang Medical Clinic or on the street, impressed us with their sincerity, groundedness and spirituality. Our lives have been deeply enriched through both our experiences in India and here in our home community. We will always remain close to our Tibetan friends in both countries.

Now it feels right to branch out, to step up and help with the needs of Syrian refugees. Many are waiting in Jordon, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey to be sponsored, either by governments or private sponsors. Conditions are very difficult. Last winter there were windstorms and flooding in Jordan. Many shelters in camps were destroyed. Urban refugees suffered through bitterly cold nights, sometimes below freezing.

We will be playing a small part in helping Syrian families, by being part of Christian Life Assembly’s church/community partnership that is bringing the first family to Gibsons, through a private sponsorship.

There are many things we can all do to help:

  • Sponsor a refugee family
  • Donate to private sponsorship groups in your community
  • Donate to UNHCR to help refugees waiting to find homes
  • Help sponsorship groups by being a volunteer
  • Attend the CLC Valentine Dance Saturday February 13th (tickets through CLC, Laedli and myself)

Here are some informative articles:

Who are the 25,000 Syrians Coming to Canada?

United Nations High Commission for Refugees – UNHCR

“Whether we like it or not, we have all been born on this earth as part of one great human family…ultimately each of us is just a human being like everyone else: we all desire happiness and do not want suffering. Furthermore, each of us has an equal right to pursue these goals. Today’s world requires that we accept the oneness of humanity.”          

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

PLS NOTE: The picture at the top is of a refugee child holding a picture she drew of her former home. Credit abcnewsgo.com.

A Tibetan Refugee Woman’s Story

I would like to bring in the New Year by offering you the story of Tsering, a woman we met in Dharamsala last year. We met her through another friend and I interviewed her in  February of 2015 in our room at Pema Thang Guesthouse. Of all the Tibetan refugee stories I have edited over a period of six years, Tsering’s is, in many ways, the most moving one. Although she was so young at the time, the events of her early life and escape to India are still very fresh in her mind. She is now 26 years old.

Tsering’s Story

I have no parents; I’m an orphan, from the province of Kham in Tibet. When I was nine years old, in 1999, a kind neighbour and an uncle helped me leave my abusive life in a Tibetan town and escape across the border into Nepal, then on to India.

In my early years I didn’t get a chance to play like other kids because of my difficult situation. In our family I’m the second youngest of five children; I have two brothers and two sisters. Everyone was busy at their own work I was alone in the house.

After I was born my mother was sick and I lived with her for the first year of my life only. Then I was sent to my mother’s eldest sister to live in town, where I worked very hard and never had time to play. By the age of five I was looking after the cows. Even though my aunt was a blood relative, they didn’t treat me like their own child, but like a servant, a maid.

My aunt came from a very poor family of nine girls. She married at an early age, an arranged marriage I think. The family became the richest family in the town. She had money and power, but never gave anything to her family members.

When I was seven I had a chance to meet a Rinpoche and told him everything about my situation and my family. Through his help I was accepted as a day student at a boarding school one hour’s walk from home. I studied there for two or three years. But they would call me back from school to work at my auntie’s house. Her husband drank and he beat me all the time. He never wanted me to spend a single day like other kids. By the time I was nine, he forced me to work for other families, nomadic people who also had farms.

Neighbours noticed how badly I was treated, and said “You don’t have to stay here, you’ll never be happy”. So one of the women took me in the night, and we walked to Lhasa. It took us about fifteen days to get there, journeying during the night and resting in the daytime, so my auntie’s family would not find us. We went to the home of my aunt, a young woman in her twenties. Later my uncle came to see me and tried to send me back home. He said the family promised to treat me well, but I knew they were lying. I told him, “If you send me back I’ll run away.”

My uncle came back again after Losar, the Tibetan New Year, after I had been in Lhasa for two or three months. He took me to the border of Nepal, where he left me in the hands of two Nepalese boys, not much older than me, would be my guides from the border to Kathmandu. I had no Nepalese language, but they knew a little Tibetan. We walked most of the night every night. When I was tired they carried me on their backs. Sometimes we slept on the ground.

One night the boys left me, one going ahead as a lookout to check if Chinese soldiers were in the area. The other boy thought I was following him, but I was asleep under a tree. When that boy caught up with the first boy, he asked him where I was. They came back for me, both crying. In their limited Tibetan they asked, “What are you doing here, why are you sleeping?

We reached the Reception Centre in Kathmandu, Nepal after about fifteen days. The trip was slow because we stayed hidden during the day. I knew no one at the centre. After about a month I was sent to the Delhi Reception Centre, then here to McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, on my own the whole way.

At the Dharamsala centre I was the youngest person, all the other refugees were either families or monks. They treated me well. It was here that I met a young monk who helped me. After a while he went into a monastery, but came to visit me sometimes. I’ve lost touch with him and don’t know his name. I’ve tried to find him, asking many people about him. He was a tall man, that’s all I remember. Maybe he’s in a South India monastery now.

After a time at the Reception Centre I was sent to the Tibetan Children’s Village, or TCV school, where I boarded and studied for almost eight years, until the tenth grade. Because I was good at my studies I skipped a grade and was sent to TCV Gopalpur, a half hour’s distance from Dharamsala. Many of the children there were without parents, they were orphans or their parents had sent them to India from Tibet to have a better life.

“You remember so much”, I said to Tsering. “I have seen so much.” came the reply.

In 2011, when I was in my early twenties, my auntie’s young brother-in-law came to India, to the Kalachakara teachings in Boddhgaya, North India, where the Dalai Lama performs special Buddhist initiations. While I was there some monks told me he was looking for me, to take me back to Tibet. I told them not to say I was there.

 

Tsering survived her difficult early years with her abusive family, and received the best education the Tibetan government in exile could offer her at TCV Schools. She now has a very good job in a large Tibetan NGO in Dharamsala, where she helps other refugees.

When she speaks to her brothers and sisters in Tibet by telephone, this younger sister always tells them, “Don’t ask anyone to help you, you know what they’re [the family] like. You’re healthy, you can do everything yourself.”

I asked Tsering if there was anything else she would like to tell me. She replied that she appreciates westerners who have so much feeling for Tibet causes, who learn about issues like self-immolation, and work hard to help. Some Tibetans have much less feeling about Tibet, she told me. Tsering ended our conversation with: “I thank you for your kind consideration for Tibet and the Tibetan people.”.