SOME YEARS AGO I was invited to be part of a collaborative effort by American writers to describe landscapes using regional terms like eye that are being lost. The definitions were published in the wonderful book Homeground, edited by Debra Gwartney and Barry Lopez.
Of the entries I submitted, my favorite was eye. To me it speaks of a miracle in the natural world, yes, but also of the miracle of human spirit, surging forth from the hidden springs within us all.
I am a writer and a woman who has been seared by grief, and who has emerged from the fire believing in the wellspring of human goodness. Since 2009, shortly after the death of our son in a car accident, I have been exploring how I might live a life of service to others. Until then my writing had focused on landscape and place and the incredible complexity of nature. Now, in addition, I am drawn to stories of people in need, and how their pain might be alleviated by small, even everyday acts born of kindness.
In the horrible months after Reid’s accident, I realized what I most wanted was to find my way into some form of Seva, the kind of service in which I can lose myself and, in so doing, find myself. It leads me to a place where I can discover who I truly am. And so I set out on a journey to discover how I could best help others—specifically, what works, what doesn’t, and what qualities I need to develop to become a practitioner of the most effective kind of service. My forthcoming book, Searching for Seva, documents my journey so far.
I know now that living in service is a lifelong pilgrimage. Opportunities to help others may come in the form of a quick encounter or in a sustaining relationship with a program or a person in need. My hope is that this web site will serve as a forum for those of us who long to alleviate suffering, be it physical, spiritual, or psychic. I invite you to accompany me on my continuing quest.