Friday, 11 March 2011

Kochi, India

Kochi is known as the "Queen of the Arabian Sea," and according to National Geographic it is one of the world's top 50 destinations. 

Playground in Kochi.
 Chinese fishing nets.

Over the years, people have come to the port of Kochi from all over the world; Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, Jewish, British, and Arab influences are all apparent.

 Dutch cemetery.

The older parts of Kochi have an almost rustic, medieval feel that I greatly enjoyed.

On a lazy stroll...

Splashes of bright orange and yellow remind me of Portugal.

One of the highlights for me was visiting the Chinese fishing nets.  Chinese traders introduced this mechanical method of fishing to India.  

The fishermen were friendly and invited me to walk out onto the dock and witness fish being netted.

Fisherman who befriended me.


Fisherman walking out on the end of the fishing contraption in order to bring the nets to the surface.

The catch.

Celebrating the catch.

OK, writing and philosophical time...

Kochi brought with it some special news.  I was accepted into my first full-residency MFA writing program.

This has been a dream of mine for a long time, though I hardly dared believe it could come true.  

After getting my first MFA acceptance letter in Kochi, I spent some time thinking about writing and what it means to me as an individual.  A few months ago, in a journal I wrote something that I feel is significant.  I wrote that I feel that writing, for me, would be "enough."  Writing would be enough to interest me, enough to engage me, enough to sustain me even through the most difficult times in my life.  As long as I had the means to write, I believe that I will survive.

Rereading this entry in Kochi, I was struck by how much my description of and feelings for writing resembled the love that people feel for a significant other.  
And I realized that, yes, it is true, I am in love with writing...
  Spice market.

Sometimes I have this feeling that I am good enough to write something substantial, something profound, something that will be remembered, that will inspire, that will be loved...  I used to and still, to a certain extent, feel guilty for having that thought, as though it is selfish, pretentious, egotistical, and unrealistic.  


In Kochi, I realized that maybe what this feeling really is, is God or the God in me talking.  The part of me that isn't afraid of the "light."

Marianne Williamson wrote, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us."

When I first read this quote a few years ago, I thought that it was true.  Later, looking at myself in the mirror sometimes, I felt (intuitively) that this quote was true.  But it wasn't until rereading that journal entry in Kochi with an MFA acceptance letter in hand that I really experienced what this quote meant.  And I believe that only when you experience something can you really, truly believe it.

The rest of the quote is:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

The word "God" is a hard word for me to swallow.  I don't know what I think about "God."  I don't see "God" as an external entity.  I see "God" as part of myself and others...the enlightened part of myself and others.  When defining "God" in these internal terms, I feel more comfortable with Williamson's passage.

And I agree with her statement that we do humanity a disservice by "playing small."
  One of my favorite sights in the world:  looking up at a tree canopy.

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