Category Archives: intercultural relationship

Detour from Love’s Path

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It has been a long time since I last posted. After flying to see my beloved Shiva, I needed time to heal, nine months apparently. Perhaps, it would have taken longer had the Universe not intervened.

Nearly a year ago, I did it. I overcame my fear and took my daughter and I across the country to find Shiva. I thought I had prepared myself for anything, but I hadn’t. I thought that I was okay with any outcome, and I wasn’t. Somehow I expected that my grandiose gesture would somehow win back the heart of my dearest love. Unfortunately, there is no heart to win back. There was no heart ever lost.

I was pleased with the Universe bringing everything into being. The last minute plane ticket, booked mere hours before flying. The educated guess of where and how to find him. They all played out. After being quite a shock to Shiva, after all arriving on his doorstep unannounced, he joined me for a five hour heart to heart.

I am so grateful. I could have gone to find no one home. He could have rejected even seeing me. He could have been angry or hurt, but he wasn’t. He was calm, confused, shocked, but kindhearted and loving. It was during this night, that we came clean with our feelings, unspoken for months. There was no doubt in his body language or words. He still loved me. He still loved me every bit as much as I loved him. He still loved the daughter we’d raised, so much it brought him to tears. But it didn’t change the family dynamics at play.

I couldn’t help but cry as he explained that he’d never change his mind, that he’d never come back to me, that he’d never accept a life with me that meant a “broken family.” And my heart just broke and broke and broke. In fact, it still breaks every day that I live, not knowing him. Because after holding me in his arms, kissing my forehead, shaking, and gasping for breath, he assured me that he’d never see me again. He begged me to never enter his life, that we would be parted forever. And I couldn’t accept that.

I still don’t. All of my friends and family tell me I am foolish. I tried, don’t get me wrong. I spent much time throwing his photographs in the trash, removing traces of him from my Facebook profile. I spent the rest of my time, crying, pining, and attempting in vain to move on. I dated men who were all very compatible and likely will be wonderful partners to a woman who can love them. But I have to admit to myself after these long months that I am not free to love anyone else.

Recognizing this limitation has been a freeing thought. Allowing me to love myself for the undying devotion I possess for Shiva. I ask myself, “How often does anyone love another this true? How many people go on for years unable to even consider someone else?” I feel as though I am grieving a spouse that passed away, and not a relationship ended. And I know that it is okay.

It may be insane. That is okay. Love is insane. Real love, true love, magic love. It is all insane. There is no rationality that can be assigned to love. And it is magic. And when I accepted that living with this faith is better than living in the despair of trying to move on, my life had joy returned to it.

With this peace, I have been thriving. And then, only a couple weeks ago. I see him. Shiva, my love, who is supposed to be living so far away. He is standing before me, clear as day. He is across the street, it is raining. He sees me at the same time and we both instantly freeze. I tell my sister standing next to me that I see him and try to point him out, but the rain is too heavy for her to see. I start to walk to him, but crossing the street in a trance I almost step in front of a car. My sister grabs my arm. I look back and see him walking to the edge of the street too, but it is harder to see.
I look at my sister and daughter and tell them I think I should go, it has to be him. And my sister says it can’t be. I look back and he’s still standing there on the edge of the curb, as though, he is also unsure if I am here. I wave and he holds his hand up to his eyes to block the rain to see more clearly. I wave again and he stands straight, but doesn’t move.
My brain kicks in and says, “That isn’t Shiva. He lives more than 3000 miles away. He told me he’d never come back here.”
We aren’t in a place I ever go. The neighborhood is strange to me except for the one corner we are standing on, the corner where Shiva and I used to go only when memories of our California vacation pester us enough. For on that trip, we became committed. On that trip, we made our plans, after that trip, we were cemented as a pair and it was that trip that led to our marriage plans. And in fond memories, we’d come to this corner, talk about all we’d done, how we’d been through so much that trip, and how we’d grown closer together. And then we’d sit and eat in that restaurant that reminded us of the peak of our Cali experience.
All of that flashed through my mind as I stared at Shiva’s form. My daughter was crying that she was getting wet, my sister pulling my arm, and I could scarcely breathe. Everything in me pulled me to him. But the longer my brain hammered into me, the less he looked like Shiva. With a heavy sigh, I pulled myself away from this man’s stare and we retreated to the warm dry of the restaurant. After getting our names in, I ventured back out to see him, but he was no longer there. I laughed to myself for the mirage I had seen.

That was until the day before yesterday. Two days ago, I learned it was my beloved. A mutual friend, ever our mediator, shared with me that my most dear love was there. And that I had walked away. But, he said, not to worry, it isn’t healthy for me to worry about this. At first, I was worried. At first I regretted my lost chance. Would the universe ever grant me another?

But today I realize, of course. Most definitely the universe will bring us together again. It brought us together in the first place, and each time after, and through many trials. I smile as I remind myself that there are no coincidences. That Shiva and I have always agreed there is no such thing as chance. I tell myself there is a reason I walked away, a reason we missed that connection. Because it wasn’t really missed.

In fact, it is the light that began burning in me weeks ago, that rekindled my hope. Even when I thought it was a waking dream, I had found myself riding the wave of joy that he and I had always shared. And I can feel that he and I are sharing it again.

Our truest loves never truly leave us. They are in our hearts. I look forward to the time we are close to each other once again. Our year anniversary, of the day he said he never would see me again nears. And here, with no choice from either of us, he is proved wrong. Some things, we decide with our minds, others we decide with our hearts. And our hearts, they will lead us on the right path, even while our brains take us on detours.

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Aba, ma chahanchhu mero English lyrics utha garna lae Nepali.

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jãã icchaa, tyãã upaae: Where there is a will there is a way. 

Mero upaae, hamro gaana gana. (My plan, our song includes: My plan includes our song) Tara, malai kehi tapaiiko guhaar chahincha. (But I need your help.)  Ke tapaen male sahayog garnu huncchha? (Will you all help me?)

Malai usle gaaunu hamro gaana Nepalima, ma guhaar aghi utha garnchhu. For me to sing him our song in, I need to translate the lyrics first.

Keep in mind these are incredibly personal lyrics, written and sung only for my Shiva, but to do this right, I want to sing them in Nepali. This isn’t exactly how the song goes, but its a better less artistic form. I’ll attempt my own translations where possible. Here it goes:

Why would we put a limit on infinity?
Kina (why) hami(we) anta(limit) lai(for?) infinity?

Why put a range on possibility?
Kina chahanchhu simaa lai sambhaabanaa?
Why want to limit on possibility?

I don’t get it, why would we?
Ma aundaina ( I don’t know) kina hami garchhau (why we would do?)
What is the reason to bound our chemistry?
Hijo ke kaaran(what is the reason) barnu(to fence) hamro(our) chemistry?
Why would be bind our affinity?
Kina hamilai gaara hamro affinity?

Cannot put a range on our love eternally
When will you recognize
we’ve hit the nth degree. (being a play on math equations using n as a variable…have ZERO idea how to include a reference like that in Nepali, but if that part stays english, its alright)
Just when falling into despair
we go walking, no, dancing on air
With defenses waning, but not giving a care.

This feels like approaching infinity
why not give in to this feeling
We have to admit
that its good to be.

I know you are worried my hopes can’t be met
And I know I don’t have you convinced
Abandoning fears over an outcome is best
Let’s just appreciate being blessed.
Let our hearts be open and not be repressed.

This looks like blinding infinity,
why would we want to put restraint on this imagery
let’s both admit, there is more to see.

I know all day you’re busy daydreaming.
So am I.
And symbiotically, we are designing our reality.
Who incepted this love
you or me?

Dil To Pagal Hai: Part II

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After serious meditation on the issue and deep soul searching, I’ve found myself with a plan in my heart. Its crazy and my best friends spare no time in pointing out the absolute insanity of implementing my scheme. Only one very dear friend, our intermediary who is greatly responsible for bringing it to our attention that our love was requited from the start, is supportive. And he says, not only is it a good idea, its imperative. If I don’t, I’ll regret it forever, and he’s right.
And so, I’ve begun envisioning how this reunion will be organized. I need to wait to hear from our intermediary to see if this plan is actually a possibility. But I do believe the universe is preparing me for this, a sudden influx of financial resources accompanied by a sudden break in work scheduled, low air fares = why not make the journey?
But how to surprise your soul mate, yet ex-lover? What I must first consider is his personality. And its that of a hopeless romantic. When he came to break up with me more than a year ago, he flew across the country to do so. Such is his integrity and his romantic view of the world. Every gesture he’s ever made has been  worth being in a Yash Chopra film. I’ve been the grateful and surprised recipient of all of these amazingly thought out spectacles. I’ve often wondered how I could ever match his flair for romance, how could I ever match his creativity. And here, its hit me, and I can’t let it out of my head.
Its just, how to orchestrate the whole thing? I feel like I’m on such a limited timetable. My window of opportunity opens so soon. I don’t want to share my plans here in case he thinks to read this while we are not talking, but suffice to say, it might as well be a scene from a modern day Casablanca.

Dil to Pagal Hai: Crazy Love Story

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The film is great, but the message is greater. When we are in love, we are crazy. We do unreasonable things, all thoughts of what we should do go out the window. My relationship with Shiva has had this element of crazy meets beautiful romance drama. But do we long for the love or for the drama? In my case, they are both wrapped into one.
Our love story is a dramatic one, filled with mystery, intrigue, passion, surprise. The lovers begin as strangers that find themselves living together under less than typical circumstances. They are blessed with two intermediaries in the form of a child and a sincere, empathetic friend. When, they meet, the spark is there. Clear and bright, both recognize it and log it into their respective journals. Afraid of what the spark will lead to they attempt to suppress it, but neither intermediary will allow it.
After months of thoughtful gazes, two a.m. soulful lessons, heartfelt question/answer sessions over home blended loose tea, the two find themselves walking in the warm sunshine of the south gazing upon local works of art. They share their first meal, their first concert, their first donation to the homeless, and their first brief touch. A brush against the skin of one hand to another and sharing a gaze filled with sparkles in their eyes. The music of live performers and the scent of incense from a vendor adding to the sunset lit moment.
Flash forward to a first “date” a warm night lit by a full moon, Both have found themselves secluded in a back corner of a large boisterous table full of friends who know each other well. Shiva knows one person at the other end, and I know no one. Our sequestration leads to another shared meal and quiet whispers to each other. These unheard thoughts about the rest of our company only gives us an excuse to lean in closer to one another, hoping to have yet another brush of a nose against a chin, or a giggle shared with those crows feet in his eyes. All amounting to a gleeful bike ride home. Just before reaching home, he says, “are you a lover or a fighter?” and I answer, “a lover, of course”. He nudges me gently, “but what do you love that you’d fight for?” and all I can think is, “you.”
The first kiss, as with all first kisses, a momentous occasion. One that leads up to itself with immense tension. And in this case permission. It’s so close and so far, but neither dare step too far forward into it. They wait, and finally Shiva breaks the silence, “May I kiss you?”
Is it enough that the story already feels like a far flung chick flick? Do they dare add lyrics to their madness? Oh, they dare. A song that become’s Shiva’s song, one that becomes a metaphor for the entire relationship, one based in their unified love of math and its definition of the universe. A song with lyrics founded in the enigma that is infinity, the limitless experience of love, the boundless range of possibilities that comes with finding one’s soul-mate.
From more joint love songs shared with one another to impromptu adventures to the natural springs and the warm blue oceans to the tallest waterfall in the land, to cities and vast open land, from one corner of the country to the other.
The love story is filled with the surprises from uplifting tales of overcoming childhood fears to facing the despair of family disapproval. There are mysteries about the other uncovered, barriers stretched and boundaries broken. There are disappearances and reappearances and plenty of tears and laughter.
Are all love stories this way? The human drama dictating our paths? Here, I am writing about my past 2+ years as though it were a movie review. But that’s how it feels now.
Shiva is gone and silent. He neither returns calls or texts, didn’t even acknowledge when I told him I was in the hospital and barely able to breathe. I hear from our good friend, that he’s pained, just as much as I am, that he’s trying to be honorable, to let me move on, to refrain from giving me false hope. Yet another climax in our story is here, do we make it, do we fix it? How many love stories see the lovers separated by some force only for a great awakening to happen and force them back together? Is my heart crazy for believing in such things? Most friends say, “let it go”, “there are more fish in the sea.” And here I am, willing to starve if not have the fish that is mine.
“No,” I tell myself, “I won’t give up on this love, I won’t accept a limit on infinity.” And so I focus my energies on manifesting our reunion, Completely with suspense, song, and cheesy romantic flare.

Narcissism, poor self esteem, and when being unwilling to take Shiva’s drama makes me think I’m the narcissist.

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Thank you Google function “define:”
Narcissist: someone in love with themselves.

wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwnIts not really so simple. Of course many of us are familiar with Narcissus; the god that stared at himself in the water until he fell in and drowned. There is that surface definition of Narcissus where he was so in love with himself that he couldn’t look away, but the more I learn about narcissism  the more I believe that Narcissus was staring at his reflection obsessed with his flaws and not his beauty.

My grandmother once told me, ‘when a man tells you he loves you and then he starts telling you what’s wrong with him, listen, because he’s probably right.” I used to ignore my grandmother, but after the horrible divorce with my first husband, I have to admit, she was probably more right than I wanted her to be. Shiva did tell me a number of times that he didn’t deserve my love, because, he’s a narcissist. I didn’t listen. Now, my grandmother really likes Shiva. In fact, she pretty much adopted him against his wishes and would do anything for him. She advocates for some modern arranged marriage where we live in a threesome type situation forever so that everyone is happy. In her eyes, Shiva’s parents are satisfied because they picked a bride, I’m satisfied because I’m with Shiva and have a live in sister wife to share all love and sadness with, Shiva is happy because he’s pretty much a young Hugh Hefner in this imaginary scenario and she’s happy because there is finally a balance achieved for a work/child rearing balance called split the labor force among the additional family members. If only things were this easy? Yes the question mark is there on purpose. This scenario sounds like a nightmare.  
Instead, what I have is a collection of broken relationship pieces dragging out a long and painful death. I have my own sadness, pining over Shiva like a puppy misses its master, like a newborn cries for the breast, an aching sense that what I need is out of reach and it may never return to me. I have Shiva’s load of bollocks that range from “I love you and my heart knows that I should be with you” to “we are just friends” (and these aren’t even two separate phone calls). I have my friends telling me that Shiva needs to “sh*t or get off the pot”, and if there is a Nepali saying for this, I’d love to hear it. Basically, he’s being the hooker from Season 5 Episode 16 of How I Met Your Mother where everyone is trailing on the hook of someone else trailing on the hook of someone else and it just keeps going in a horrible repetitive cycle of despair. The only right thing to do in this situation is to tell the hooked or the hooker, “Its over, I’m never going to be with you, ever, at all, never.”I told Shiva all this, he watched the episode I was talking about and went on about how sorry he is that he’s been so selfish lately.
SORRY! Don’t be sorry! Sorry implies that maybe you have see the error or your ways and intend to somehow modify your behavior to ensure that you no longer repeat the same errors out of habit and ease. But what we have here, is habitual apologies. Another post at another time should be why I don’t force my kid to say sorry when she screws up, but only when she genuinely feels sorry for what she’s done.

Shiva will go weeks without talking to me after these episodes, attempting to set me free so I can find someone else, refusing to believe that I really am waiting for him to come home. He’ll tell me how unworthy he is, that I deserve better, then as if dedicated to the self-fulfilling prophecy, he tells me about all the girls he’s met since moving, about the ones he went clubbing with, the one that drove him home, the one that slept in his bed, but actually slept, not the other thing people mean when they say “sleep together”. And I’m expected to be supportive, loving, happy for his path to self understanding. And when he tells me that he realizes that he hates the “bachelor” lifestyle and is ready to settle down, but it cant be with me because I already have a child.

News flash! I’ve had a child the last 2.5 years we’ve been together. In fact, my child’s teachers are advising me on how to co-parent with Shiva since he is the prominent male role model that my daughter talks and cries about frequently at school. My family has seen it, my daughter has seen it, why can’t Shiva see it, that he has a family here? He says its because he has to focus on his school, his career, his life. And I am supposed to stand by and support that for him. I don’t have any problem being supportive, I love supporting Shiva. I love that when he calls we talk for hours. I love that he’ll tell me what he’s buying at the grocery store just so that I can hear his voice a few more minutes. I love that when he’s got a major presentation due in two days, he emails me a copy of the .ppt and we go over the whole thing while he narrates and tells me when to press enter. I love giving him positive feedback and getting the text later that he nailed it. I even love putting up with him when he’s in a bad mood and bitching me out because he is hungry. What I don’t love is when I need to share what’s going on in my life, he says, “I don’t have time for that, I don’t have the energy for that.” He used to listen to me over everything and I did monopolize a lot of his time during the custody battles with my ex husband. He did spend money to fly out to see me just a month before he flew out to drive across the country with me for the move. He’s done a lot and nobody is really keeping track of who did more when, but these days, the answer is always, “I can’t.”

A free ticket to come visit on winter break and he says, “I can’t”. A shipment of wellness tea for him, drink it? He says, “I can’t”. The picture I just texted him with some inspirational quote by Rumi, read it? He can’t. And why not? He says because he doesn’t want to give me hope that things are going to work out for us. He says that he needs me to know that our relationship is over. Until he calls to talk for 2 hours about why he’s upset, when he needs support. And I can’t. When I don’t give in, when I refuse to be a part of the cycle any longer, I’m the one being unsupportive. When I don’t have any more energy to hear about school because I’m trying to figure out how to earn money during my holiday furlough to cover all my expenses, I’m being the selfish one.

I’ve come to realize that it isn’t the Narcissism we have always thought of. Shiva isn’t in love with himself. He isn’t self obsessed because he wants to be. He’s reaching out. He is scared about his grades, scared about what’s going to happen when school runs out. He’s scared about his long term love life, for whatever reason he’s not with his love but he wants to be. He doesn’t think he deserves the person he loves and that speaks volumes about how he sees himself. Undeserving, unworthy, pathetic, sorry. And that’s why I hear “I’m sorry’s” whenever I bother to answer the phone. I do love him, I do long for the moment when we are together again. I feel sure that all of this sadness could just be put away if we’d stop denying each other our love. But I just can’t keep dedicating 115 minutes a day to Shiva while he’ll reluctantly donate 5 minutes a day to me. “Whatever happened to unconditional love?” I suppose it drowned with Narcissus and the view that he did so truly love himself. All I see in Shiva is over scrutiny of his tiny flaws, which turns them into massive ones. And I do love myself, I don’t want to spend my time feeling sad over my loss, but is it the love for myself that leads to the loss of my love?

Am I so focused on what I can and can’t do, that I have become the reflection I can’t stand to see? We are all mirrors of each other and our soulmate, the mirror upon which we can’t take away our gaze. The person who reflects everything we ever hope to be and everything we hate to be, the truest reflection necessary for growth. Is he the narcissist or am I? We both are, because we both are the reflections the other’s gaze is trapped in.

Because we have pure minds.

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That is the line that sticks with me from this experience. It is no news that I believe we all have a destiny and that we all choose how to live it out. Like those electrons in experiments in labs, all a cloud of potential, but only finding one place to be. And that is how we came to be where we were a few days ago.
Shiva has been sensitive about maintaining distance between his family and I for some time. Even after introducing us, he still aims to maintain this distance. And so, we have. One curious exception is in the case of Shiva’s sister. We often run into each other. We haven’t had much time to talk, as we usually attempt to observe respect for Shiva’s limits, but I feel closely connected to her.
Upon our last meeting, she said that because Shiva had requested that we refuse all contact with each other that she could no longer communicate with me. There was one caveat to this…unless the universe intervenes again.
It was bound to happen, I suppose. It would seem that living in a large metropolitan area of more than half a million people, I would find it strange to run into the same person over and over. Yet, here we were, standing on the same station platform and meeting eyes. We boarded the same bus, heading for the same stop. Both equally stunned by the synchronicity  we just enjoyed the opportunity granted to us to catch up on each other’s lives. And as we were talking, we were even more shocked to discover another close friend of Shiva’s riding in the seat across from us. She isn’t just a close friend, she’s practically family, having known Shiva’s parents since before he was born and being with his parents when news reached them of our relationship. She was also heading to the same part of town.
I still have not figured out the meaning of the coincidence, if not only to reintroduce us to each other. We don’t always understand why the universe does things. However, I like to believe as Shiva’s sister does, that its “because we have pure minds.”

Pharkaunu

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Pharkaunu translates as to return or to come back. I suppose that is a fitting title for my returning post. I’ve been absent for a couple of months, mostly because of a dose of heartbreak and the simultaneous injection of extra work that came around the same time.

First of all, Shiva has taken off back East. I suppose I should be glad that when I say East, I’m referring to the Eastern coast of the US and not all the way back to Nepal, but really I’m just bummed that he’s gone. He got a scholarship deal he couldn’t pass up and in less than a month of telling me about it, he packed up all but the two boxes still at my place and jumped on a one way plane flight. Plenty of tears, him, my daughter, me…its been hard. We talk most every day for hours at a time and still support each other emotionally, but there is something about going to sleep every night far away from your love that is painful.
My little one is very upset. She spends much of her time lamenting Shiva’s absence and the new default cry for when she isn’t getting her way is “I want Shiva back.” Thankfully, he is respecting his roll in her life to the greatest degree he ever has. When he calls and she wants to talk he has meaningful loving conversations with her. When she is sobbing for him and refuses to eat or even get off the floor, he takes the call and calms her down and explains that he still loves her, but that he has to go to school. For some reason, she just needs to hear this from him. I couldn’t be any happier that he’s owning up to fulfilling the emotional needs she has developed for him.
At first I was really mad at him and slowly that anger turned to the sense of emptiness that I now feel. If I knew he was coming back, the pain would be less, but he promises never to return. He says he hated it here and is so glad he left. I’m not sure if its the optimist in me or the idiot that sits back and says, “he’s fickle, he’ll change his mind.” Maybe its both.
And as though the Universe was aware that this situation was going to be taxing, it felt necessary to throw on to me the additional work load that doubled the number of hours I spend working each week. Perhaps this is a gift in covering for the loss of Shiva’s financial support or maybe its a way for us all to take our mind off the pain. But it feels like just another test, another way for the Universe to remind me that I am capable of more than I want to be. A test to remind me that there are those things out of my control and that acceptance is the only path to peace. Perhaps its the anchor tying me down enough that I can’t follow Shiva across the country again because the Universe knows that isn’t the right path for me.
All I know is that for a few moments since August, I can breathe and welcome my return to normalcy.

Parent’s Gift: Explained

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I had once typed the explanation of the symbols in my welcoming gift for Shiva’s parents and wordpress did not keep the text. So here we go again *crosses fingers*.

The dish is actually a “Seder plate” used in Jewish Passover celebrations. I selected it because until Shiva’s father, his family was known for their dish making skills. Of course their specialty was centered in brass and not ceramic. I chose the symbols in part due to religious reasons, but definitely confused the family when I presented only a handful of the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism and a set of lotus blossoms that seemed to not fit in. As much as it may have seemed a discontinuous work of art, the family welcomed it and Shiva’s mother explained that she couldn’t bear to eat off it and intended to hang it in their home back in Kathmandu. I told her she was welcome to do what she wished, but that I had chosen paints that were safe for eating. I was delighted to hear that they ate breakfast off of this plate the very next morning.

Either used for decoration or for eating, the meaning of the symbols remain the same. The flowers around the rim are Rhododendrons, the Nepali national flower. In the center, a Dharma wheel. Surrounding the Dharma wheel are three of the Eight Auspicious signs.   One is a conch shell a sign of Buddha and the Brahmin caste. It is a right turning conch, considered especially rare and represents the movement of the stars, moon, and sun. Also, a white conch swirling to the right can make a sound calling for Dharma to awaken beings out of ignorance. Cuts of this shell are sometimes called “Shiva shells” although the conch is typically a symbol that represents Vishnu. I wear a Shiva shell that Shiva gave me to me a year and a half ago, it seemed like a significant symbol in our life. Another symbol is the endless knot. Also present in the cloth given to Shiva’s parents in their parting, the endless knot represents the interconnection of everything. When included as a gift it is thought to be a bringer of righteous karma. The two fish are at the top in yellow and are difficult to see. This is somewhat a part of myself that I integrated into the artwork. I am a Pisces and represented by two fish. I did not use the traditional Piscean symbol of two fish swimming in opposite directions, but used the Auspicious symbol to represent no fear. At the time that I made this dish, Shiva’s family was not certain of how they would accept or not accept me into their family. I was told that they were especially fearful of gossip and slander. I hoped to embed this gift with a sense of fearlessness. The remaining symbols are all different representations of the lotus. The blue lotus representing wisdom and knowledge. Shiva’s father’s birthday often coincides with a goddess of wisdom and both of his parents have really encouraged Shiva to seek a wise path. The red lotus represents love and compassion, something I had hoped they could appreciate that Shiva and I share. The white lotus represents purity, both spiritual and mental.

I was unable to share the entire meaning with his parents as they were so excited with their gifts, I barely had a chance to explain them. I was delighted to learn that the very next meal they ate after receiving this gift was eaten on this plate. I couldn’t be more thrilled about how the gifts were received.

A Parting Gift for the Parents

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This photo is of the parting gift I presented to Shiva’s parents at our meeting. His mother stroked it over and over and proclaimed, “I am going to show everyone what Shiva’s friend has made for us. What is cropped out of this photo is the very identifying last name that I wrote in Devanagri at the top. As I explained to Shiva’s parents, this is a blessing art. My great-grandmother used to make them and there are still some hanging in her home after her passing. She typically used a family’s coat of arms. I know that Shiva’s family has a mandala, but it is my understanding that it is erased every year and I didn’t know how to get a copy of one, even if I had wanted to. So I just created my own blessing image for them. The tree represents their family tree. The roots are almost hidden by the water. I explained that the blessing hopes for their family tree to be nourished with the best and in the center of the nourishing river is Dharma, which I also hope is good for the family. Within the leaves is the sign of infinity, hoping for a continuous life for the tree. Within the trunk is the eternal knot. This symbol present in both Shiva’s religion and my Celtic background is to represent the intertwined nature we share and also another prayer for eternal strength of the family tree.
Next time, I will use wool threads as Shiva’s mother seemed disappointed that the threads were made of cotton. Also, I hope that by the time I can give them another gift, my Devanagri has improved as a made a minor and amusing spelling mistake with regard to their last name. Of course, as parents will praise a youngster for invented spelling, so Shiva’s parents praised me for my self-taught Nepali writing.


This is a small example of a couple of letters I embroidered.