Adjusting to a New Life

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I’ve been living in Durham, North Carolina for four months and continuing to settle in.  I’m glad that I’m living in the United States. Although my parents live in California, I’m able to talk with them on a regular basis, keeping up with their lives and with the ability to assist with any issues.  Having lived in a number of communities in the US, Nepal and India has given me the ability to adapt, i.e., telling my ego to “shut-up” and understanding to know I’m the one who needs to “change”.    This is vital if one is to be happy in a somewhat transient lifestyle.

In order to be happy one needs to have friends and activities that enrich the soul.  I have a few soul feeding friends throughout the US who I maintain consistent contact with through phone calls. Friends in other parts of the world I speak with on SKYPE and Facebook. 

In order to find friends or at minimum social contacts in Durham I’ve undertaken a number of activities.  Unlike where I previously lived in Tucson, Arizona the Triangle Area of North Carolina includes a number of competitive colleges which means that people are basketball crazy.  This also means that I’ve been able to find a wonderful group of senior men who play basketball.  If I want, I can play three evenings a week and I’m taking full advantage of this.  Basketball is such a large part of my life whether it be playing or coaching or building; I’m very grateful for having this opportunity and the fact that my body is cooperating. 

I will also be volunteering at A Helping Hand, an organization that is an NGO companion care provider committed to assisting seniors and individuals with disabilities maintain self-sufficiency, quality of life, and the highest level of independence.  Besides the reading that I’m doing about seniors, I want to become more closely connected in order to help me deal with and more fully understand my parent’s and eventually my ageing issues/needs.  I’m developing a good knowledge base to understand the convoluted systems for helping seniors in the US 

In the fall I’m going to look into volunteering to teach English with the Durham Literacy Center which enables me to continue my connection with other cultures while also providing a much-needed service.  I will also be meeting other volunteers and learn new skills.

I knew that it was important for me to connect with others who share a similar spiritual life.  I’ve found this in the Raleigh Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) meditation group. (I came upon this path in a more formal way when I was living in Kathmandu.  I attended Yogoda Satsanga Society (YSS), which is part of SRF, located in Lalitpur).  In order to get to know these people I’ve volunteered as an usher for our services, help with cleaning and hope to soon volunteer with children in the Sunday School.   Monthly potlucks have enabled me to engage on a deeper level.

My office colleagues are wonderful people and I enjoy spending time with them.  They are passionate, hard-working, funny, willing to put in the extra effort to create opportunities for people with disabilities.  Stressful situations do occur; ultimately, they are a great group of people to spend time with.

Recently one of my colleagues and I visited two Spina Bifida Clinics-one at the University of North Carolina and the other at Duke University.  Our goal was to meet children who wanted to play sports, specifically wheelchair basketball.  Many of the children whom we spoke with had never had the opportunity or been asked to play.  The excitement and enthusiasm from both parents and the children lit up the clinics.  This is very poignant in what I’ve described above in my settling into this part of the US.

Collaborations are about human connections and they start with the basics of people getting to know one another, developing trust and feeling comfortable.  We have to be pro-active in establishing collaborations, friendships, being part of a community.  One has to be willing to break through self-imposed boundaries and “this is the only way to do this” philosophy and see the beauty in reaching out to diversity.  We are all unique.  What makes the human condition work or not work is having appreciation of other ways of living one’s life.  The more we can create space for this, the better off we will all be.  It’s up to each of us. 

 

 

 

 

Position: Programme Manager

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