Namaste and Sawadee-Ka (hello in Thai),
It never ceases to amaze me how much life is lived during a ten day retreat with Yogamour volunteers. When a group of people with open hearts, a clear mission, and a sense of adventure get together there is no limit to what can be accomplished. Life-long friendships are formed or deepened, new things experienced, like riding elephants and trekking the foothills of the Himalayas, and children’s lives are forever changed.
We arose early to share our breath and time on our mats, helping to clear minds and keep us present through our daily work. By far, the most important work accomplished on this retreat was helping to provide vision care to over 80 children who had never before received such care, nor realized they were even struggling to see. It was so moving witnessing the pure joy in the children when putting on glasses for the very first time, clearly seeing the world they live in. One of the children was my little friend, Arissra, a very shy girl, a bit of a “wall flower” who does her best to blend in. While checking on the children this week, I was overcome with joy to see little Arissra, schoolbook in hand, reading aloud to her friends. It’s amazing how much a simple pair of glasses, providing the ability to see clearly, can impact a child’s life and open new doors to the future.
Life can be so complicated with problems so huge that it seems impossible to progress or make a difference, but every time I work on one of our retreats, I’m reminded of just how much can be accomplished and what a BIG difference can be made when we come together. Typically, Geni or I send a letter from each of our retreats, this time I felt it important to include words from some of the gracious volunteers who shared in the retreat. I hope that you enjoy our volunteer’s, very own, "letters from the heart". Thank you, so very much, for your on-going support.
Lead with your heart,
“From the boisterous laughter at Thai cooking class, to the serenity of a Buddhist temple brimming with devoted followers deep in prayer,
...the magnificence of ringing in 2015 with new friends and filling the night sky with lanterns, to the calmness of meditating at a mountain top temple,
...the hustle and bustle of a Thai market - over stimulating one visually, olfactory, and kinesthetically, to the solitude of sitting, contemplatively, amidst a breathtaking, rippling waterfall,
…the initial anxiety of venturing 32 hours to a faraway land, to the joy of making new friends, who share a larger world view,
…thinking that you were coming on this trip for one reason, to leaving with the understanding that new doors and ideas, a sense of empowerment and cultivating the next dream were the unexpected "take away",
…not speaking a word of Thai to phonetically writing "suk some one bee my" on your hand and uttering it to various passerby's and seeing their faces light up as you wish them happy new year in their tongue,
…from a western mindset, to experiencing a gentler, simpler, more respectful way of life,
…profound experience of supporting the medical mission work at the school in the hill country and providing all 80+ students with eye exams resulting in 27 new pairs of glasses,
Thailand, every day was a contrast in experiences, emotions and enlightenment. Thank you, KAP KONG KA, for all you gave us and for all we will take with us. You are so much more than temples, curry, and massages. SO much more!”
“Thank you for an unforgettable experience, one of which I would not trade the world for. I've learned so much in the past 10 days, come to clarity, allowed time to find what it is that inspires me and seize it. Such an amazing group of people, changing the world one Thai at a time. Yogamour, you are a true blessing to this world and thank you to all the volunteers...I think I've fallen for yoga!”
"Thailand with Yogamour was so very different than all of my other travels and retreats. Being given the opportunity to devote a portion of my time away to the hill tribe children gave this trip a richness money cannot buy. Taking in the wonders of Thai culture and history on our side trips to the waterfalls, elephant camps, Asian Cooking School, Sunday market, New Year's Eve lighting of the lanterns at Tha Pae Gate, and Chiang Dao cave - paled in comparison to the three days I spent with the Hill Tribe children. It's their smiling faces that keep me awake at night or take my mind on a little side trip now that I'm back home…"
“Really, do I have to go home, ever? Thank you YOGAMOUR for everything! My heart is full and I am thankful for what I have seen and experienced so far! I know tomorrow I can say, "today has been my favorite day" (Mid-Retreat)