As an internal-processor, I’ve had a difficult time working through the experience that is Kaihura. I’m rarely able to compile my thoughts to speak deeply & accurately. “What was it like?” catches me off guard every time. Instantly, memories in visual movement rush forth, taking up so much space, there’s little room for words.

Scents. Tastes. Sounds. Hands. Holding. Sam. Babies. Prayer. Bus Rides. Flat tires. Whole. Laughing in past gives way to my present: Aching, blinking back want.

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I want to go back.

That’s what it’s like.

I want to go back.

This year, I won’t, but maybe next. Hopefully, next.

You see, There’s this internal shift that happens there – so many beautiful people smiling and embracing one another and us; gives freedom to drink one another in, and appreciate simple nuances noticed in conversations that are not rushed – we shift into peace. And calm. And though language is a barrier, it is amorphous, shifting and easily being overcome… because intention & attention are solid – inspiring each other to step into humility and patience, as we try to understand. We want to understand. To know each other.

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And as we do this, we see less of what’s different and more of what binds. We are reflections. I see the single mother with her young son, excitedly telling me about her upcoming wedding, and I want to grab her and tell her, “That was me! I lived that, too!”

I see her small boy with his huge eyes and sweet mouth, who loves his mama & will wave if you smile at him. Then, I look to my now 11-year-old who has nearly grown into his eyes, but will still toss me a friendly gesture when I smile at him.

…& my heart sings praises because of the glorious bond between a mother and her child. It is universal and precious.

This shift. When we step out of our pride and standoffishness, and into the culture of Kaihura, with its hand holding & “hugs, not shakes” hellos, we shift into a skin that fits more easily. Comfortable.

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I want to go back because I like myself more when I am there.  Because I am full of reflection and affection and intention when I am there, and life is slow enough to let silence happen without my needing to fill in.

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Yes, there are more things in America, but things do not make ones heart sing. Comforts do not make a soul more comfortable. I learned there, through the generosity of Kaihura, that human souls are nourished most when we slow down and focus.

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Perhaps things get in the way of our nourishment? That was something I learned – I also know now, through the imprint on my heart and the view from my lens, that when we focus outward, we see more of others, but also more of ourselves.