I just returned from a service trip to India with Life West. The following are pieces of my experience as related to friends and family about my journey to India and my time of service.
We served at a huge spiritual gathering, the 72nd Annual Nirankari Sant Samagam, which was held on 600 acres that the Nirankari foundation owns. They set up tents and facilities to house and feed at least one and a half million people. This foundation’s message is the oneness of all people, and bringing people together regardless of religion or caste. There was a deep sense of service within the thousands of volunteers who make this gathering possible. These volunteers and attendees were all really sweet and reverent, and those who came to the chiropractic tent were very, very grateful to have care.
I had the most growth in the shortest amount of time I think I have ever experienced. When we began serving, I had a really hard time because it was a very different method of taking care of people than what I was accustomed to. I’m used to seeing skin, feeling flesh, seeing structure move, and having a scope and X-rays. Without all of those things, I initially felt like I couldn’t help people at all. It was really, really disheartening and hard.
I had to sit with myself, and I had to remember that my intention was pure. My intention was to care for these people; I needed to serve them from that place. I had to trust that that would be conveyed to them, that they would feel the love and the care that I felt. I had to believe that I could help them, so I worked to learn new ways of engaging with their systems. Because we didn’t have a common language, apart from the translators, I had this experience where I began to feel like they were all my children, and I began caring for them as if they were my own.
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″] That experience will forever inform the way that I care for people, because I’ve now learned that language in my hands and in my tone of voice and in my eye contact.[/quote]
When I would set them up on the tables, I was communicating to them in the way I looked at them in the eyes, the way I touched them and the way I positioned them on the table. They didn’t know what to expect, and I wanted them to feel comfortable. I wanted them to feel trusting, and I wanted them to be relaxed and able to receive. I wanted them to feel safe under my hands. I was looking at them and touching them like they were my babies, and I was very tender with them. It was beautiful to experience the shift within me and find that language to communicate my care to them. That experience will forever inform the way that I care for people, because I’ve now learned that language in my hands and in my tone of voice and in my eye contact. Even though I can talk to all of my patients here without a translator, I now engage with them in a different kind of way than I did before.
On that first day, I had a woman come to my table who had a baby two months prior, and she had been in a lot of pain since the birth. She was in pain when she was walking and standing. I adjusted her, and I gave her a prescription so she could come back the next day to see me. When she came back she brought her husband, her older child and her mother with her. She was beaming, because she felt completely different. They were all very, very grateful.
Now her mother wanted to get adjusted, so I took care of her as well. The mother had questions about her diabetes, and so I gave her some advice around managing that.
Then she asked me to bless her. And I had this … you know, people don’t often ask you to do something like that, and initially I was thinking, “Well, who am I to bless you? You know, I’m not a priest. I’m not a guru. I’m not anyone like that.” But then I realized that, for her, being able to be cared for by me was really special, and for whatever reason, she felt like I could help her. And so I was present, and I took her head in my hands and I brought my face really close to hers and I looked deeply into her eyes, and I prayed for her life. I said some things about what I hoped for her. Again, it had that tone, even though she is probably 70 years old or more. It felt like she was my child in that moment. When I was finished speaking, I brought my head all the way to hers and I touched my forehead to her forehead, and I just held her head like that to me. When I came away, she had tears rolling down her face, and we both bowed to one another and touched each other’s feet. And off they went.
It was an incredibly touching moment. It was beautiful. It’s good that I’m able to do a pull move every now and then, because really, that woman and that mother made my whole trip. I feel like, I don’t know, maybe I helped other people, but those people I really helped. I know I helped her. I know I helped those two people. Maybe they’re the only people that I helped the whole time. Though, I know that’s not true.
You know, my adjusting is not consistent at this stage. So when it works, I’m like, “Oh! It actually worked! It actually worked.” And what I’m expecting is that, over time, the percentage of times that it works will get more and more, and it will become consistent. So that I can know that when someone comes to me, there will be a high level of likelihood that what I do will actually help. But right now I’m not in that place. Right now I’m in the “praying” phase.
“Please let me be able to help these people.”
“First, please let it move, and if it moves, please let it be what they’ve needed.”
“Please let it help them.”
It was work. It wasn’t a vacation. It was deep, personal transformation. It was beautiful. There was a lot of smiling, there was crying. There was exhaustion. It was everything. And I would totally recommend it. I will be back.
Seraphina Freund is a single mom and a senior at Life Chiropractic College West. She is in her second quarter in the health clinic, seeing outpatients, and just participated in the service trip to India in November 2019.