Wednesday, July 18

inspired by locals: jill from cultivating compassion

As you all know by now, this time last year, I spent some time in India. If you've been to India or written about India on your blog, most likely I've commented and emailed you with a million questions [if I haven't, please please please send me a link so I can read]. Lena can attest to that. For some reason, I feel immediately bonded to anyone who had even a remotely similar experience to me... traveling and/or volunteering in a crazy different country... and even more so if that country is India. Bloggers like Lena, KatelynLauren, Mae and Peter who have had experiences like this and Meagan who today, wrote about wanting to see the world, continue to remind me that this world is a big, beautiful and unique place. I believe that it's our job as educated Americans to get out there and not only see it but give back to the people who don't and may never have the same opportunities as us. 

So today, I want to introduce to you a truly inspirational woman and a dear friend of mine for this week's "Inspired by Locals." Though a bit younger than me, she has always been one of my biggest role models. Our friendship began in sorority-land but evolved into something much bigger and stronger when we realized our shared passion for getting out into the world to force and implement change where ever we can and travel travel TRAVEL.

Jill and I

Currently, Jill is in India and her story and journey has touched my heart in more ways than one. So without further adieu, here's Jill's story:

When Allie asked me if I would write a guest post for her blog, I felt honored and immediately said that I would. She asked me to write about why I think it’s important to serve others and work for a cause/go outside of your comfort zone. 

But before I get to that I think a little background on me is in order. My name is Jill and I have been a friend of Allie’s since her sophomore year and my freshmen year at the University of San Diego. I am finishing up a Masters in Peace Studies in which I specialize in Human Rights and Development. And as part of my Masters I am currently interning with a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) in Gujarat, India that works for the rights of those individuals who fall within the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, more commonly known as the untouchables.

Now having got the background details out of the way, I turn to the heart of the matter…why it is important to give back and get out. I myself am kind of an addict when it comes to traveling and working for a cause. Together these two things give my life purpose, make my heart sing and my soul dance.

And if there is any piece of advice I ever give people [to everyone actually] it is to TRAVEL! Travel far and wide, take in as much in as possible, because you will never know until you go just how magical the world is, and how wonderful people really can be.

We get so caught up in our daily routine, that we let the small stuff stress us out, like traffic. We cannot control the traffic but yet we still waste precious time and energy stressing about it, when instead we should be using that time to relax and listen to our favorite new song.

But when you get up and go you realize just what you are capable of and how much you have to be grateful for. This goes double for when you take the time to give your time to a cause or to serving others (especially abroad). I know everyone does not have the luxury of being able to volunteer abroad, but if you ever do I urge you to take it…more for yourself then for the good you will be able to do. Even if you cannot make it abroad volunteer at home, I promise you that you will not regret it. Once you have felt what it is like to truly make a difference in someone else life, then you will realize all else is trivial to this.

Directly working with a cause or a person has a way of stripping away all of the stereotypes, labels, standards, and expectations we feel pressure to live up to.  It shows us that life is all there really is and that everything else is just perspective… that we as a person matter… that we can make a difference just by giving our energy and light to something… just by caring.

all photos courtesy of cultivating compassion

At the end of the day we will not be remembered by how far we got in school, or what we accomplished at work, but by the love we gave to a few people in this world. So get up, go out, explore, and give of yourself…because in the end it will be the best gift you ever gave yourself. 


Morgan said...

so cool!
what an amazing adventure (and major to study)!!

Carey said...

aww I love this and I love my little!!! I miss you both dearly and extremely respect the passion and efforts you both put forth in volunteering your time in places I wish I could go to. My life took an unexpected turn after graduation (a good one though), and if it hadn't I would manifest the great things both of you, Jill and Allie, volunteer and act on.
Warms my heart to see two great people spreading their love and hopeful efforts to those in need.

jackiek said...

this sounds like such an amazing experience. india is on my list of places i hope to someday see. i actually have a friend who graduated with the same major and is currently in africa. xo

Magical Day Dream said...

I stumbled on your blog and just had to comment. I have been in India for almost half a year after finishing high school. I had such an amazing time and learned so much about myself and about life. I don't have stories or pictures of it on my blog (it was years before my current blog, I do have some other pictures of for example Thailand there), but if you are ever curious just shoot me an e-mail or something!



A and B said...

She is so inspirational! What a cool girl and I wish my college had had a Peace Studies- what a brilliant major!

Allie said...

marielle- i am SO happy you stumbled! where in india were you? emailing you soon! love your blog!

Tiana said...

wow. this just made me want to go out and save the world! :)
it really put light into my heart again at just how important it is to be selfless.
and selflessness sometimes requires acts of faith and great leaps!

im so inspired to go out and DO something for someone else. simply because its a beautiful thing to do.

thank you for this, love.


The Zhush said...

Such a moving post, and really simple yet important message...I feel like I want to email this to a couple of people I know that could use this perspective today...thanks!

Allie said...

thank you SO much! im so happy it resonated with you because it's a matter i deeply believe in! nice to meet you and thanks again for the love! ps: just headed over to the zhush... what a cool blog! just followed :)

Neha Sharma said...

Oh this just makes my heart happy! My family is from India (my sister and I were the first ones to be born in the US) and the last time we went there was when I was 1. It's been so long since we've seen the rest of our family! I'm sending this to a few of my friends after commenting here because I know of some who have travelled to Japan, India, and Uganda to do volunteer work :) It makes me happy when I read these stories! Thanks for sharing!

I really love your blog! I'm now following it and I'm stoked to see all the new posts you'll put up!! If you've got a minute, I'd love for you to check out mine and follow it if you'd like :) I'm finally putting up the results of this DIY project I've been working on tomorrow!! Hope you enjoy and have a great day!

neha made

Vic said...

Love this post so much - such a beautiful message! I've just booked to go and volunteer in Costa Rica for 5-6 weeks next summer, I can't wait!